Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sand castles.

Last weekend, we camped on the Olympic Peninsula. We spent most of our twenty-four hour visit on the beach, searching for sea creatures and running in the waves. 

I stayed up at camp while Nolan napped, then hiked down the bluff to Scott and Cal building a sand castle on the beach. Cal was digging with his fingers in the dirt like a little turtle, making a a moat around his fortress. 

The sand was littered with crab and mussel shells, castoffs from the eagles' and crows' meals that day. As I stood watching the waves (with Nolan clutching on to me like a little koala bear, like always), I decided Cal's mound of dirt needed a little decoration. I started picking up shells and placing them randomly on the sand castle. Soon all four of us were searching for shell fragments and pressing them into the sand. 

The tide was coming in, and soon sea foam was frothing in Cal's little moat. Soon the sand castle would melt back into the sea. The waves would scatter the shells, and they would revert back to carcasses instead of precious decorations. The cynical voice that stows away in the corner of my brain said, "Why do this, when it's just going to disappear? What's the point?" (The Existentialist unit in AP Literature seriously traumatized me). 

Fortunately, the hopeful voice in my heart is better nourished than my inner skeptic these days. We made the sand castle because our spirits yearn to create. We studded it with pearly shells and broken sand dollars because we love beauty, no matter how fleeting, no matter how imperfect. 

All societies make art. It has no clear biological purpose, but it's present throughout history--we walk through museums to wonder at it, turn on music in the car to be immersed in it, read a few words by lamplight before slipping into sleep. Give a family a few hours and some raw materials and we will build a palace; give me an experience and a few raw words and I will try to shape it into a story. 

The waves will erode our creation, but we keep building. I don't know if my words will reach anyone beyond my small circle of influence, or if they will be swallowed by the web of the internet, but I'll keep writing. Even if no one else will see them, I'll keep building sand castles. 

1 comment:

  1. I needed this! I've been so cynical lately. Thanks, Lorren!


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