The building of sandcastles is a time honored and ancient tradition that has been preformed by both sandy bottomed toddlers piling sand on their first vacation to professional artists defying both logic and gravity in International Sand Sculpting Contests. The art of building miniature worlds in ground up rocks and shells has inspired the creativity of children and their elders for countless generations.
My opportunity at building my own miniature universe came last weekend, during my family’s whirlwind two-day vacation to the beach.
As my parents, grandmother, and great aunt all shuffled our numerous nessessary articles for beach bumming out of our hotel to the sand, I too scanned the bustling shoreline for an appropriate spot to begin my own attempt at the beach goers tradition of build ones sand fortress.
The location of one’s castle is tied the personality of the builder. Some choose to build it in the dry and shifty sand far from the destructive ocean where their castle is safe from the tide. Others desire to build in the challenging surf, where the pounding sea tests the integrity of the builders design in an ultimately unbeatable game of ingenuity versus raw power. I chose to build my castle in the middle ground between the wet sand and dry, the place where the sand was just damp enough to be hard and sculptable but not too close to the hissing sea that the tide would overcome it.
I began by building the central fortress, laying foundations of cold wet sand for sturdiness. I did not use tools, as I regard a proper sandcastle to be formed with only one’s bare hands (which also helps prevent the loss of shovels and buckets to the enveloping dunes). As I piled on the wet sand of the central tower, I pulled up the hood of my white jacket to protect my tender neck ears from the ravages of the gleaming midday sun.
When the tower was built to a satisfactory height, I dug four long deep ravines from the base of my tower. These would serve as highways to the surrounding villages that surrounded the central tower. I built walls on either side of the ravine and connected the walls together until the complex resembled a four leaf clover.
I stood up and stretched by aching back so sore from kneeing and examined my castle.
“The fortress is unguarded” I thought to myself as I observed how the four long ravines would make excellent pathways into the keep for a marauding rival army. I took my big toe an drew a line in the sand around my castle then began digging a deep moat. I then built a high and fortified wall nearly a foot in height. I added parapets to the walls and built little houses and churches and markets in the open space between walls. Finally, I stood up and gazed at the sprawling construct and smiled. I have always loved building sandcastles and I felt so blessed that God allowed me and my family to come to the beach and admire His ocean. I felt so full, sitting with my parents and grandma watch the tide come in.