Hot sun. Salty air. Rhythmic waves.
A little girl is on her knees scooping and packing the sand with plastic shovels into a bright blue bucket. Then she upends the bucket on the surface and lifts it. And, to the delight of the little architect, a castle tower is created.
All afternoon she will work. Spooning out the moat. Packing the walls. Bottle tops will be sentries. Popsicle sticks will be bridges. A sandcastle will be built.
Big city. Busy streets. Rumbling traffic.
A man is in his office. At his desk he shuffles papers into stacks and delegates assignments. He cradles the phone on his shoulder and punches the keyboard with his fingers. Numbers are juggled and contracts are signed and much to the delight of the man, a profit is made.
All his life he will work. Formulating the plans. Forecasting the future. Annuities will be sentries. Capital gains will be bridges. An empire will be built.
Two builders of two castles. They have much in common. They shape granules into grandeurs. They see nothing and make something. They are diligent and determined. And for both the tide will rise and the end will come.
Yet that is where the similarities cease. For the girl sees the end while the man ignores it.
Watch the child as the dusk approaches.
As the waves near, the wise child jumps to her feet and begins to clap. There is no sorrow. No fear. No regret. She knew this would happen. She is not surprised. And when the great breaker crashes into his castle and her masterpiece is sucked into the sea, she smiles. Utterly delighted, she picks up her tools, takes her father's hand, and goes home.
The grownup, however, is not so wise.
As the wave of years collapses on his castle he is terrified. He hovers over the sandy monument to protect it. He blocks the waves from the walls he has made. Salt-water soaked and shivering he snarls at the incoming tide. "It's my castle," he defies. The ocean need not respond ... both know to whom the sand belongs.
I don't know much about sandcastles. ... but children do. Watch them and learn. Go ahead and build ... but build with a child's heart.
When the sun sets and the tides take ... applaud. Salute the process of life and go home.