Friday, July 03, 2009

On Digging Holes at the Beach

What makes digging a hole so satisfying? From the distant past drift memories of first expeditions to a beach. No parent would dream of letting a toddler set forth at low tide without a pail and shovel, so pail and shovel in hand. Sand is a malleable substance and moving it around empowers the small child. What fun to explore this new medium! Sand can be piled together and shaped into a mountain, then patted on all sides and decorated with shells or stones. "What a great castle!" the parent exclaims. He or she intervenes and around the castle goes a moat. The child uses the shovel to move more sand nearby and soon the landscape has been drastically altered with the creation of a hole. The pail makes it possible to pour water from the ocean into this receptacle. Oh, no! The water seeps through, and a first lesson is learned: you can dig a hole, but you cannot make it hold water. From now on, we create empty holes, lots of them. And use the pail in other ways. Satisfaction enough.