In a week where I have had more than a few requests for the beach, this week’s Saturday Evening Post is about sand, rocks and dirt. The fans are on, and the cuppas are ready on the tray. Grab one. Settle into a rocker. Clyde has preempted everything else. Let’s talk.
Humans believe in their superior architecture skills. From the building materials to the location, humans want to have the best of everything. Clyde thinks they have it all backward.
Humans look for longevity, something which will stand the test of time as a monument to personal achievement, memorial or merely celebratory reminder for those generations removed to visit and marvel. What is all that solid stability really worth? What does it cost? How fulfilling is it?
Solid as a rock.” ~Anonymous
Insecure as the shifting sand.” ~Anonymous
Horse pucky.” ~Sherman Potter
Let’s talk about dirt. For all those who extol the virtue of stone, from bedrock to granite counter tops, consider this.
Sand is more universal, dependable and enduring. *waits for arguing to die down*
Regardless of your religion, you have heard of the parable of the wise and unwise brothers. The wise built on a rock, and his house weathered the storm. The unwise built on the sand, and his house fell. We have all seen the news footage.
Why give sand a bad name? The unwise brother brought a knife to a gunfight, which probably is not as wholesome an example as setting up house. Nonetheless, sand is essential.
The most crucial material in foundations is sand. Yes, sand. It creates a cushion between the hardness of bedrock and the base of buildings, roads and sidewalks. Yes, this includes homes. The sand allows for drainage of water without the total destruction of the foundation.
Why? Sand is small enough to create a tight fit, does not compact and because of its shape allows the water to flow through it. Sounds ideal.
Sand is a component bound together in the concrete we believe to be rock solid. It is the second largest ingredient in adobe brick. Does brick sound solid to you?
In a world where everyone is looking for the perfect fit in a Mate, occupation, social satisfaction and shoe, why discount sand as a choice?
Have you ever run your hand over a piece of wood and gotten a splinter? Once you were old enough to understand, you wished someone had sanded the wood. Sand takes the rough edges from even your beautiful granite counter top. When cutting is not an option because fine-fitting is necessary, sanding is the most effective option.
Yes, it is true sand is an irritant; otherwise, how would it grind edges smooth? You have had it in your swim suit or shoe where it ground off your rough edges. You did not toss it out as quickly as you would a rock, because it was more subtle.
Still, we do not choose sand. We would never consider filling our lives with it. Despite all its good results, the abrasion appears to be more trouble than it is worth.
At once, our life seems full. They are the choicest rocks. Polished shiny and tumbled smooth river rocks. Volcanic magma cooled into useful basalt and granite. Shells and fossils, pretty reminders of the past.
We eschew that irritating sand. We take the time to wash it off the pretty, solid rocks and protect them from its abrasion.
As we move from rock to rock, we realize where we really exist is in the void between them. We realize our lives are not so full after all.
All those shiny surfaces are difficult to hold onto as we climb. We find ourselves spending more time in the void looking at how we are not as shiny as the other rocks.
Perhaps, the sand is not so bad. If we had some sand to smooth our edges, we, too, could be a shiny, solid rock. We reluctantly welcome the sand in, just a little, lest we be polished smaller rather than just smooth.
Something amazing happens. The sand brings with it pebbles. We are far shinier and much stronger than the pebbles. They are terrific stepping stones between the big rocks; and when we stumble, the sand is a soft place to land.
The rocks shift in the sand, settling where they no longer touch one another instead floating on a soft layer of sand.
Together, everything is stronger because nothing can come between the sand and the pebbles and the rocks. Truly, our life is now full.
Little things matter. Little things are important. Little things make life worth living every single day.
The grains of sand are not irritants; they are victories. They are the small kindnesses we commit and which are committed for our benefit. They are the pair of socks which come out of the dryer together. They are the dish which does not break when it hits the floor. They are the lost keys being in the second place we look. They are the dawn we were not convinced we would see.
They are the laugh at the other end of the telephone which makes us realize today was not a total catastrophe. They are the reminder no matter how broken and small we feel, there is always one more broken and smaller.
Why do we discount the small victories, successes and learning opportunities? Each of them builds into something greater: Our own fulfillment. Why do we believe bigger is better and shiny means right for us? We wrap our arms across what they cannot span and slide down the face for lack of purchase. When we fall, we land on yet another large stone, often adding insult to injury.
It is enough to make an ape wonder.
Until next time,
Can you think of a grain of sand in your life? How grateful are you for the sand which fills the void? Can you think of a pebble who aspires to be a rock as big and shiny as you?
Have a wonderful evening.
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© Red Dwyer 2013
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