Sunday, October 23, 2011

against the sea.

"We need more. Get more, quick!"
The urgent command barked by my older sister sliced through the air, relentlessly pushing us to move faster and more efficiently. Obedient we turned up the heat and sped back to the water, diving our hands under the surface and bringing them up, cupped together and full to overflowing, our little fingers containing just ounces of salt water. 
"Hurry up with that bucket Ricky!" 
Time was of the essence. We ran to and from, back and forth, each time bringing tiny, insignificant amounts of the ocean back with us to dump at her side. That was for the "concrete" or wet sand we'd use to finish the castle walls, "The tide" was coming soon and in our rapidly developing minds, the immediate need to support the role of the wall-maker was most important.


I'm 23 now and I'm startled, disappointed and saddened that it's been more than four months since I've built a sand castle. It didn't quite have the same magic either -- somehow between building a small water pit by myself on our honeymoon as my wife tanned on the "dry sand area" and the moments that occurred eleven years ago, I've lost that sense of urgency.
As a child I lived wholly in the moments as they came. Day by day the greatest agonies, tragedies, humors and experiences came with the ebb and flow of a sea I had almost completely no control over. Now that I'm old I look at an Almanac, plan for the best time to build my castle, assemble a crew of able and experienced workers and we calmly construct with more than enough time to spare. That's what I find myself striving for.
I catch big visions, make plans, and though I live day by day still it's become so much more safe. So much more controlled with so fewer unknowns. And it's good.
Someday though you may catch me on a beach and if you see me running back and forth with water in my hands to make "wet mud" do not interrupt me. Before I was too small and had to run around people that got in my way. Now that I'm older I can't promise that when I resurrect said urgency -- the imagination can create such vivid, potent actions -- what maturity I have will be able to stand it's ground.


"Dianne, go stall Mom. We need to finish this wall. Help her pick up the towels or get the foster baby's stuff or whatever. We'll take care of things down here."
"No, I don't want to."
"Dianne, we NEED you too."
Time for an argumentative booster shot. "Dianne, I'll give you my bag of chips in the van."
Suspicious eyes. "What kind do you have, Ricky? Are they the good kind?"
"Cheetos." Score.
"Okay, fine."

The wall would be built.

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