Making it personal

The St. Augustine beach this past Friday was cold and clear. We walked for a couple miles, and then my wife and I sat in the sand while the boys built a sand castle.

It was tough going. The tide was surprisingly high, reaching almost to where the cars drive. They could have chosen to work on the dry side of the car lane. Instead, they chose to fight the water. It came in waves, splashing through their walls, overwhelming their trenches and defenses.

My wife and I sat on the other side of the traffic lane, chatting and watching them.

They tried to recruit me a couple times, but I told them I was keeping Momma company and they resigned themselves to doing it on their own.

Watching them work was fascinating. They tried several different approaches to the problem, talking about castles they’ve seen, things that they’ve heard Daddy say, and ways to deflect the water.

Finally, they settled on the idea of making a giant hill, and building the castle on the hill. One was assigned the task of defending the hill, the other with building it big enough to support a castle and survive the surf.

My wife and I worked on our own little sand sculpture as I chatted: a face, with big busy eyebrows and a jutting nose. When we finished, I looked back over at the boys.

The hill was mostly finished and the beginnings of a castle appearing. One of the boys knelt with his back to it, facing the ocean. He held two fistfuls of sand. As the water flowed in, he yelled and flung his sand at it, then stretched out to swoop the water away as fast as he could.

Instead of building defenses, he’d settled on stopping the water himself.

Drenched and shivering, he scooped up two more fistfuls of sand and gave a shout of victory.

The idea was ridiculous. Stopping the ocean with your bare hands? Who even tries that?

Apparently, my son does. And, judging by the size of the hill his brother had built, he does it pretty well.

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