sand castles and the tide

When we were in Oregon I had a wonderful experieance with my boys.

I decided to make a sand castle. The boys were in the waves having a wonderful time. I hadn’t made a sand castle in years. Too long. I considered the beach. Where should I build this thing? How elaborate should I make it? Are the boys going to try to destroy it before I’m done and is that ok? Do want this to last longer than high tide? How far do I want to haul sand?

I found a spot and started to build. The spot I decided on I knew that the tide would wash it away. I wanted to have wet sand so I didn’t have to haul water far. I knew the life span would be short. Usually they don’t last long whether it’s a canine, homosapien or waves. I’ve been around the beach more than a couple times.

As I was building the boys would take a break from the water and observe. They were pretty impressed. Impressed that I was building a sand castle in the first place. Besides that they were surprised at the thought and care I put into the project. My favorite part was the wooden door I included.

As time went on I decided to try to channel and hinder the tide. I knew that my work would succumb to the tide. I was curious if there was anything that would help even the slightest. I put a wedge shaped peak between the castle and the water. I also dug some channels on either side so some of the force would go over the sand bar I was building on. If I had a shovel I would have done something more complicated.

As the tide crept closer to my handiwork it awakened something in my boys. Graeme was most passionate, that the castle could be saved. I was about to tell him what I thought the tide was going to do and to not bother. I held my tougue and thought for a second. I decided to give it a try with my sons.

We moved tons of sand. It seemed like it anyway.  The water kept coming.

After a while Graeme asked me “Dad, do you think we can save it?” No, I don’t. But I knew that when I built it here. “Dad, why did you build it here then?” I just wanted to build a sandcastle. That was the fun part for me. Let’s give this castle a good death and remember the fun we had building it and trying to save it together. After a puzzled look Graeme asked “What do you mean by ‘a good death?'” We need to say good bye and let the waves take it. By remembering how special our experience was, we honor it and give it a good death. He got it as much as a 10 year old can.

As we were laboring to save the castle I noticed a man passing by. I was taking a break from moving sand. The man looked at me. Then he looked at the castle, at his watch, at the waves, back to the castle then to me. His look was one of speculation and annoyance. I can only project onto him what he was thinking. My answer to my perception of him was “Ya, I know that the waves are coming. But not building this castle in the tide plain is like not choosing to live because some day I will die. A good death has much to do with the kind of life you’ve lived.” This was all internal monologue of course.

The waves came.  And came.  And came.  Water is relentless like time. I let my boys make the call when to stop moving sand. When they did, we stood back and let the water wash over the castle. It was a beautiful and tragic scene.

This is a tender memory for me.  I will cherish this and moments like it that I can share tid-bits about life and the world with my sons.

Thanks for stopping by.  Be uncommon.

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