And The Sand Ran Out

Spinning, spinning, spinning, twirling, twirling, speeding across the waves, the foam swallowing in a gulp at the beach. Chomp, chomp go the waves and the bubbles hiss as they fry against the sand. Regardless of temperature, the water has been shoved and forced powerfully to the shore and the sand must bear the weight and force of the water.

The sand doesn’t like the water. The water curls and curves it away. As little grains clumping together, then running together, then stopping together, then running again. Rest is only when the water leaves, when the magnets of earth conspire with magnets of the moon and change the pull exerted on the water. Only then can the sand rest.

Sometimes sand originated in a river, far away from the sea.It was created elsewhere, now a migrant to a new space. An existence changed and reshaped. Newness, liked or not, this sand grain must accept its fate. It is powerless against natural forces that have influence greater than any it can itself exert. It must comply. It’s much like JMG LeClezio wrote in his novel Onitsha: “Life came to a halt, as if time were weighted. Everything became imprecise, there was nothing left but the water flowing downstream, this liquid trunk with its multitude of ramifications, its sources, its streams secreted in the forest (120).” Yes — there are many daily migrants. They all have differing origins. They all have been carried somewhere by something not quite so planned, not quite so precise. Certain are advantaged in the moves and others disadvantaged. There are ramifications that are unknown until the residents congregate in a particular place, share their ideas, show their wares, transmit their codes.

Nature is not subject to one shaper. Many shapers pull and push and shove until the pieces are connected, disconnected, rearranged. Nature is infinite, both in its ways and its unassuming progression. It does not stop because one organism in one place says to stop. It is in perpetual motion, interacting and changing, blowing like its winds and flowing forth like its streams.

Jesmyn Ward writes of feeling trapped in one space, perhaps stalled in nature’s decision process temporarily. In her book The Fire This Time, she characterizes the fear in this entrapment: “I, too, grew up in a place that could sometimes feel as limiting and final as being locked in an airtight closet, the air humid and rank with one’s own breath and panic (5).” No suffering is caused by nature if we follow its course, let it lead us, let it shape us. Only when we decide to intervene do we find the tight, breathless, and rank closet. Only when we panic and leave behind the sense of nature shaping us rather than us shaping nature.

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