Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Building Sand Castles

Last weekend the mountain, this week the beach at Lincoln City—and I brought home the sunburn to prove it. Actually, I was sort of smart. I put sunscreen on my face and arms, but I decided not to put any on my legs—playing in the water, I figured, would just wash it off again.

I should have at least tried.

Sunburns aside, it was a beautiful day—hardly any clouds, fog, or wind, and just enough warm enough to be pleasant.

We reached the beach at low tide, so low we could climb across rocks we’d never seen before. From the road where we parked, we wandered along the beach about half a mile and back, exploring the rocks, picking up fragments of shells, and generally splashing through waves.

Getting back, however, my brothers settled to serious business. At the beach or anywhere else near water, my family loves to take on massive projects. Have a creek? Build a dam. Have some sand? Build a giant lobster or turtle or whale.

This time, the project was a simple fortified wall. It was originally a well, but the tide began washing up around it, and it became a beleaguered fortress. The higher the waves came, the more frantically my brothers and sisters dug sand and piled it onto the walls. Yes, we know will wash it out eventually, but can’t we try to stop them—at least for a few minutes?

Eventually, it became a race to see whether we could fix the walls before the next wave came to knock them over.

No, it didn’t last. In one of his parables, Jesus said something about building on sand.

That’s okay, though, because my brothers started another fort—higher up the beach, with even thicker walls than before. It was only partially washed out by the time we had to leave.

And the moral of that, as the duchess said, is—sand doesn’t stand still for long; waves may look strong, but they don’t leave much behind them; and only the rocks endure, even when we can’t always see them.

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