One of my earliest memories is playing in a sandbox with my brother. It had a striped awning, green and white.
The sand feels so cool, and has an unusually pleasant sensation. It’s similar to putting your hand into a bin of dried corn kernels, or sunflower seeds, or birdseed.
It feels like it is alive in some way, this easy ability to reshape as you move your hands or your feet through it. And it pours, like water.
In the summer we go to a sand castle contest at Walnut Beach, and we see what people created with the sand. I particularly enjoy those sculptures where a sand whale or octopus is partially immersed in the broader beach of sand – wherever the piece is partially hidden and emerging.
Yes, there are elaborate sand castles decorated with shells and seaweed, too. Sometimes you see 3-d lettering. Some of these people are serious sand crafters – with spray bottles and clay sculpting tools.
And all this beauty, creativity, and inspiration is just for that one day, for the tide will take these gifts into the sea by the next morning, like mandalas carefully and lovingly designed, to be cast into the air.
Perhaps it’s the fact that the sand doesn’t stay put, when you shape it, but poses for only a short amount of time, that makes it so endearing and lifelike.
That sandbox was my first Zen sand garden.
Perhaps you’d like to go to the beach, and play in the sand, just a little.