Castles in the Sand

I've been thinking as I only really, successfully do at 4 AM, sacrificing sleep and sanity for my thoughts that are too abstract for the daylight.

Today's lucky wonder? I wonder if we make everything out of sand.

We dig in the sand with our plastic buckets and shovels and we make extravagant sand castles to hold each of our friendships. Filled with rooms of secrets, corridors of laughter, and gardens of joy, we cultivate it, adding more of everything. At the same time, we strive to keep the tide from lapping away at the walls and base, making the foundation unstable. We strive to protect the castles, the houses, and the promises inside from the waves that want to tear it all down and take it away. As we spend more time building and protecting, we feel a need to keep doing so.

But how long can we keep the something we made out of nothing from becoming that which it once was? Are we going against nature in trying? It seems we are doomed to forever dig trenches and moats, make protective barriers out of driftwood and twigs, and, as a last-ditch effort, fling ourselves into the path of the incoming tides.

And even then it isn't enough.

The moats and trenches overflow, the driftwood drifts again, and our bodies become too battered to be flung again. Damage is done. Walls are torn down, sometimes a whole wing of the castle, and the promises, secrets and laughter escape, never to be caught again.

We can rebuild it if we try, but it will never be the same. Sometimes we decide it's not even worth it. For who wants to brave another wave and taste the sickening sea water as it flows down our throats? Who wants to spend such a long time finding wood to make a wall, while the threat of another wave lingers near? Who wants to keep digging when no hole seems deep enough?

So we let the waves claim what they decide they own. We split up the decorations that litter the castle- friendship necklaces, knick-knacks, written notes- or we toss them into the sea to join their fallen home. And finally, we glare at each other over the remains of the castle, remains that seem soon to be taken away as well, give one last kick to the rubble of nothing-that-was-something, and turn our backs to walk away.

A sand castle on two beaches has been destroyed, claimed by the waves. Waves that will forever live on and destroy again, just as we live on to build again.

And maybe one day, one day, we'll build something actually worth protecting from the waves.


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