The young children on the seashore

noizyboy / Beach Photos / CC BY-ND

   During my childhood, we would go to the beach to celebrate some event or another as a family. Early on I’ve heard of the stories about the wonders of the sea and its horrors, both hidden and apparent, and fantastical and real. Because I didn’t know better which were which, I’ve always been wary of swimming and going in too deep, which meant above knee level in my young mind. So there was only one popular activity to do on the shore which seemed totally rad to me.

Sandcastle! Yes, my little sister and I made sand castles when we went to the beach. And what fun and wisdom we had from lumping wet sand together using our bare hands!

   The first time we made something out of wet sand probably wouldn’t qualify as a sandcastle, but we didn’t even know about sand castles at that time; we were just having a jolly good time. We made it close to the water because that’s where we realized, quite accidentally I must add, that when you scoop a handful of soaked sand and dump it on one spot you could make out a funny sort of shape. So we kept at it until we formed a really big blob of sand “rock”. I remember somebody telling us to make our little boulder farther from the water but we just ignored the comment because farther away meant dryer sand and dryer sand would be harder to shape. Suddenly, reality in the form of cold and creeping water surged in toward our golem of a sculpture. First it took away parts of the sand and the rest just crumbled and surrendered to the current. My sister cried or maybe she got mad, sometimes I couldn’t distinguish one from the other.

   We decided to heed the advice we were given earlier, not that we had a choice. But that would have to wait because first we had to eat and energize ourselves. See, at this point, it wasn’t merely a fun time of ‘castle’ building. It was a battle against the sea and we weren’t planning on losing. Yes, it has become quite personal.

   Then it was time for our attempt to win against the invading water. After brainstorming how to go about protecting our structure, we’ve come up with two solutions which we decided to try together. One was the wall and the other was a trench; the sand castle was in the making. So we made a  semicircle of the two to protect the castle, the wall we made sure was thick and tall while the moat outside was dug as deep as we could. Then all we had to do was wait, and occasionally wet our  structure because the sun-dried it too much.

   Sure enough, the water came just as our anticipation peaked. The moat was holding up, the water couldn’t even touch our wall. We were jubilant, needless to say, until we realized the sea just won’t quit. Wave after wave it came, ceaselessly it overcame our moat, filled it and washed away the trench. A particularly strong wave struck the walls and managed to enter the castle grounds through the sides. We had to act fast and completed the wall and dug as much as we could around the castle. But the wall at the front was beginning to soak up too much water, it became too heavy until finally it crumbled. And the rush of white sea-foam signaled our defeat and ultimately our surrender. Rather than feel down that our little box of a castle which we worked hard for was being washed away, we smiled and acted as the children that we were. We kicked and smashed and jumped on the soaked up, wet, and crumbling sand helping the sea. After all, we couldn’t beat it.

   However creative we were with our project we couldn’t win against the onslaught and endless water. But we had fun because we played the sand castle game with the sea as the puzzle that it was, and we learned something too. There are things that we must enjoy while they last because most things are temporary by nature. That and we shouldn’t soak up in the sun too much no matter how much fun we’re having.

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