Building Sand Castles: Then and Now

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Photo courtesy of pxhere.com

Growing up near a beach, I led a child-dylic life of sun/sand/surf

The ocean was my backyard pool; the sand my playground

Near the water’s edge, the consistency of that granular play-doh

Encouraged childhood architectural whimsy.

 

We built our castles, carrying water to the construction site in Baby Bear-sized buckets

Not too small to hold too little, not too big to burden our slender frames

The structure, once assembled, cried out for ornamentation.

 

And so the Dribble Castle began to take shape.

Small fingers drip-drip-dripping the moist sand into fabulous pillars, turrets, bridges,

Water scooped into moats suggesting a royal tableau.

We lay in the sand beside these marvels, reveling in the glory of our creations.

 

Then, as the afternoon wore on and the tide shifted,

We watched the waves break closer and closer, wishing the waters away

But knowing well the fate of our hours of work.

A hard lesson to learn young: the inevitability of impermanence.

 

Now, my aging self relearns that lesson every day.

Sometimes it saddens me, sometimes it strengthens me.

Trying to keep my footage, standing firm through ebb and flow,

My mental dribble castle reminds me to reach for the richness, seek out the beauty, hold tight the wonder

The impermanence is part of living, but the pillars, turrets, and bridges may always be rebuilt.

Annie

[Note: I wrote this poem weeks before the pandemic changed everything, so I kept putting it aside to discuss the more pressing issues. But as I reread it, I feel its relevance to me right now–at this time.]

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