Alisa Bliss and Margaret Mair


A Beach Story

Above, the inspiration piece by Margaret Mair.

Following, the inspired response by Alisa Bliss:

Castles in the Sand:  Beach in Three Perspectives

She comes to the ocean
to sit by the edge of its vastness.
She treads through grains of sand,
feeling them between her toes.
She sits by the water’s edge,
watching each wave
crest and fall
and pull itself to the shore.
She lays on her towel,
absorbing the sun’s rays,
their warmth lifting her spirits.
She comes to the great ocean
bringing her melancholy
to offer up as a bittersweet gift
to the one who created the waters
the one who controls the wind and circles the deep.
She feels the void inside filling up
as the vastness of the ocean surrounds her,
engulfing her spirit
washing it clean
making her whole
Worries, cares, concerns
are worn away
like the grains of sand
with each wave.

A family is building a castle in the sand.
a bridge to cross over.
They build for hours
creating the perfect home
of “white picket” sand.
Shaping and forming it from nothing
with their bare hands.
They work together
each playing a part
symmetrically antagonistic.
Buckets and shovels their tools,
sand and water their medium.
They finish the structure
and take a smiling picture.
As they go off to play or sit back and watch,
the waves come in slowly.
High tide.
Slowly, the foam washes in and over
filling the moat and eroding the foundation.
Little by little
the towers fall.
The castle made of sand washes away.

Carried to the beach by his Mama,
he squirms and fights her strong arms.
He wants to get down
to walk and run on his own.
Stumble across the hot sand
to the water’s edge.
But the strong arms hold on.
They deposit him on a towel a safe distance from shore
and lather him up with
white stuff and a smile.
He squirms and laughs
patting the sand with his hands
running his toes through the grains.
Picking up a shell,
looking at it curiously, through new eyes.
Dragging it through the sand
making a squiggly pattern
laughing joyously.
He lays back for a few moments,
feeling a warm glow on his tummy.
He turns over and spots some older kids making a castle.
He watches
amazed by the shapes and textures.
He looks over at Mama, “Can I go?” his eyes plead.
She sets him on his feet and he waddles over to the edge of the moat.
Mama eyes him protectively as he kneels down to watch their work.
He eyes the buckets and shovels
moving as if to a rhythm.
He watches hands patting and smoothing the grains.
Moments later, his tiny hand reaches out
to touch.
Mama runs over and swiftly picks up Mr. Curious.
“No, no baby.  That’s not your castle.”
He whines a little in her arms,
wanting to be back there watching the castle construction.
But then his eyes glimpse
The water.
A big, moving, swimming pool
with laughter and boogie boards and screams of delight.
He is captivated
and wiggles in Mama’s arms to let him down.
She sets him down gingerly.
Tiny toes on the wet sand.
She holds onto his hands
high above his head
and waits for him to take a step.
He summons his leg to move and pulls it up high
placing it back down
inches from its previous position.
He does the same with his right and then the left again.
He is on a roll.
But an unexpected wave catches him off guard
and he falls on his bottom.
He waits a second and then begins to laugh,
tilting his head back
as his shoulders move up and down.
His Mama looks down
and the laughter is contagious.
She tilts her head back and
Sitting down in the ankle-deep water,
she pulls her son onto her lap.
They laugh and splash together
underneath the healing rays of the sun.