Saturday, August 06, 2011

Sandcastles = Wellfleet Art?

Sandcastles are one of the reasons I enjoy walking the beach in summer. Kids love to build them, and I love to see a kid at work, total concentration on his or her face. Pleasure and pride are two observable emotions. Sand is often a new element that produces real joy.

I have admired lots of different types of sandcastles on the beaches of Wellfleet over the years: castles with a moat, castles decorated with shells and seaweed, free-form castles, castles created with a turreted pail.

A lot of the young visitors are from the city. Their only previous experience may be sandboxes in parks or schoolyards. Sand is particularly satisfying because it's so malleable. Kids get right down and dirty, allowing their inner-artists to take command.

Digging is fun, too. Some kids prefer to dig holes and watch them fill up with water. I wonder what that says about their personality? Who knows.

My kids used to do both.

Sometimes you encounter kids who like to be buried in the sand.

I can remember one year in particular, at Newcomb Hollow. My son had carved out a pyramid like this one, using a broken shell. Or, two pyramids. I've forgotten exactly how many there were and no photos were taken, but those pyramids were perfect. We were all admiring his handiwork, when my younger daughter pulled on the sleeve of my beach jacket. She wanted me to check out her structure, too. I turned, took a look, and blinked. What lay before me was a recreation of Hatshepshut's temple at Deir el-Bahri. My daughter was too young to have seen a photo, of that much I am sure. This story sounds preposterous, and yet it's true.

When you were a kid, did you build sandcastles at the beach, or dig holes? Can sandcastles be considered as art?