You can see the vapours of the heat rising from the sand dunes, and you know that your toes are going to be sensitive to the heat of the near powder soft sandy coloured sand.
You imagine you’re out on the Sahara Desert, walking up and down the dunes, trying to find a lost camel friend who had run off while you slept.
You see tiny dark patches revealed as you dig your toes deep under the hot burning top sand, and flick the cool, damp, sticky under sand out onto the beach.
You grab your little gardening trowel, and your fun little tadpole collecting bucket, and you begin to scoop the sand into the bucket, but soon you realise you want that sand under your nails, and you lightly toss the trowel over your right shoulder, digging deeply and feeling that cool kiss of the sand that hasn’t had contact with the sun in a thousand thousand days.
You pack the sand down hard as your little stubby four year old fingers can pound, and you make a tiny fat fist and punch the sand, recoiling and looking at your aching knuckles. They seem still intact, though you’re pretty sure you now need to yell at the sand.
“You hurt me!” You yell at the sand.
Your mom looks up over her James Joyce novel, and casually says, “You tell that sand to behave!”
“You hear my Mommy, you be good!” You say, and shake your finger at the inanimate bits in front of you.
You can hear her laugh behind her book, and you know it’s not a bad laugh.
You continue to pack the sand in, being gentler with your fingers, by using the end of the trowel to pack down the sand better.
You’re finally finished filling your bucket, and you go to turn it over, but know it won’t stay if you don’t have some water soon too.
You get up, run to the water’s edge, and scoop a bunch of water with your now cupped together hands, and race back before it all goes away, rushing down your hands and not so well closed fingers. Three tiny drips of water manage to hit the flipped upside down outside bottom part of the bucket.
You tamp the bucket down hard, and think about what to do next.
You nod your head, not aware that anyone else is watching your process.
You grab the bucket by both sides, and gently lift it off, and the first part of your castle stays put!
You race with the bucket this time, down to the water’s edge again, and fill it nearly overflowing. In your haste to return, you lose about half the bucket’s water, but you don’t care. the hole you dug the sand out of will make a perfect hole for the water!
“You stay put!” You demand the water, as you pour it in the hole, and jump back up, racing back to the shoreline.
You return with your bucket of water, and every time you do, there’s a bit more water left from the last time it soaked into the sand.
You growl at your sand pit, and your mom looks over her book again to ask you if you need to walk away from your work for a bit.
You nod, and that makes her giggle. She pats the side of the beach blanket she’s spread out on, and pulls out a baggie of apple pieces, slightly browned from oxidation, but more browned from the cinnamon and sugar she’s rolled the bites in before packing them.
You do a cute wiggle of excitement, and race up to sit beside her. She hands you the bag, and you give her one of them as the first piece. She kisses the top of your head lightly and says, “You’ll figure out how to do that castle. I believe in you!”
You eat your apple cinnamon bites in near silence, aside from the crunch crunch and the sound of the water and the sea gulls. You don’t care they taste a bit sandy from not wiping your hands well enough to get the pieces out of the bag.
Your apple yumminess is done, and you head back to your castle and moat area, and have an idea. You return to the blanket, grab the cinnamon scented bag, and open it up, so it becomes partially split at the top.
You tuck it inside the bottom part of the hole, and skip down to the shore again, scoop up the water, and bring it back to your pit.
You have success! The water finally stays put!
Your castle is fun to build, and soon you have four castle parts and you look up to see your mom walking toward you, pointing at the sky.
“You need to get more sunscreen on,” she says, and soon you’re covered in a thick white smelly paste. She plunks a hat on your head, and happily delights about how cute you are.
You play for another almost hour, and you have built a lot of parts to the structure of the castle. You’ve talked to the castle, and sang to it, and even had a little dance for it.
You don’t know this yet, but these days are few, and rare, and you hold this memory precious and dear and don’t share it for nearly forty years, because it is too perfect to mar in any way.