Monday, August 21, 2006

Making Sandcastles

Sandcastles to come, Waikiki, Honolulu, HI, February 2006, HP Photosmart R817, Exposure 1/375 sec @ f6.4, ISO 50, no flash © Steven Crisp [Click on the photo to enlarge]

Making Sandcastles -- Author Unknown (slightly edited version)

Hot sun. Salty air. Rhythmic waves.

A little girl is on sitting on the beach scooping and packing the sand with plastic shovels into a bright yellow bucket. Then she upends the bucket on the surface and lifts it. And, to the delight of the little architect, a castle tower is created.

All afternoon she will work. Spooning out the moat. Packing the walls. Bottle tops will be sentries. Popsicle sticks will be bridges. A sandcastle will be built.

Big city. Busy streets. Rumbling traffic.

A woman is in her office. At her desk she shuffles papers into stacks and delegates assignments. She cradles the phone on her shoulder and punches the keyboard with her fingers. Numbers are juggled and contracts are signed and much to the delight of the woman, a profit is made.

All her life she will work. Formulating the plans. Forecasting the future. Annuities will be sentries. Capital gains will be bridges. An empire will be built.

Two builders of two castles. They have much in common. They shape granules into grandeurs. They see nothing and make something. They are diligent and determined. And for both the tide will rise and the end will come.

Yet that is where the similarities cease. For the little girl sees the end while the woman ignores it. Watch the girl as the dusk approaches.

As the waves near, the wise child jumps to her feet and begins to clap. There is no sorrow. No fear. No regret. She knew this would happen. She is not surprised. And when the great breaker crashes into her castle and her masterpiece is sucked into the sea, she smiles. She smiles, picks up her tools, takes her mother's hand, and goes home.

The grownup, however, is not so wise. As the wave of years collapses on her castle she is terrified. She hovers over the sandy monument to protect it. She blocks the waves from the walls she has made. Salt-water soaked and shivering she snarls at the incoming tide.

"It's my castle," she defies.

The ocean need not respond. Both know to whom the sand belongs...

I don't know much about sandcastles. But children do. Watch them and learn. Go ahead and build, but build with a child's heart. When the sun sets and the tides take - applaud. Salute the process of life and go home.


Pat said...

Incredible. There are all manners of poetry, and this is one of them. It was something I needed to hear tonight. Thank you.

Steven Crisp said...

Thanks Pat. Credit for the story belongs elsewhere, but if the message resonated, then posting it was worthwhile.

I'm not sure if it is society's conditioning, or just human nature, that we need to deprogram. But I for one hope -- no, intend -- to clap for joy without fear and without regret. That seems to be such a sensible approach to the sun, sea, sand, waves, and tides of life.