Monday, February 4, 2008

When the Sun Kisses the Sea

Heather's Photohunt this weekend brought back a memory.

We were living on Indian Rocks Beach in FL. I'd just lost my job in Atlanta to the Lupus, and we rented a lovely little duplex beach house on the barrier island. I still had money from my severance pay, and life was pretty comfortable. The kids loved the beach there, it was clean and the sand was white, but we seldom got there between school and weather and everything else. It's amazing how you can live so close to a wonder, and take it totally for granted.

This is a memory about not taking it for granted.

The year was 2003, and Chewy, Tay and Cay went down to the beach around dinner time to look for shells. Soon the kids were distracted in making a huge sand castle. I reminded them that they were building their castle below the tide line, and that when the tide came in it would be washed out to sea.

Having invested such a lot of work in the castle and eyeing the encroaching sea, they began digging a series of moats to divert the advancing water around the castle.

"How long can we stay here, mommy?" Tay asked.

"until the sun kisses the sea," I responded, wanting to get home before dark.

The tide rose, filling the first section of moat, collapsing the walls. The kids dug faster, two digging more moats, one building a wall around the castle.

The sea continued onwards, filling the second trenches.

The kids reinforced the walls as they started to tumble, finally lying down on the sand to block the waves with their bodies.

"Nature always wins" I told them. They persisted for a while, until the waves came up and circled their bodies in the sand, taking away bits of their creation.

They stood up, and watched the waves steal the sand back, bit by bit in the setting sun.

"Do you want to stay and watch this?" I asked, afraid they'd be saddened.

"You said we could stay until the sun kisses the sea," Tay reminded me. Then looking back at the crumbling castle, "this is pretty, too: the sea is taking the sand home."

We stood in silence and watched nature reclaim what human hands had built. Finally, no trace of the sand castle remained, and the sun kissed the sea.