Castles in the sand
I chose the "drip method." Adding handfuls of rough sand to a bucket of the Pacific's finest, I began the slow drip and drizzle of my creation. It was a beautiful day for sand castles -- hot sun, cold water, a pleasant breeze, and the bright chatter of my children and nephews around me as they built their own castle.
Straight ahead of us, the ocean hissed and roared upon the shore, now rolling in gently and just lapping the toes of the beachgoers too timid to venture beyond the foaming fringe of sea, now cresting impressively and pounding into the sand -- alternately startling, toppling, and delighting the watchers and waders who had misjudged its rhythm.
All the while, as we planned and revised, patted and shaped, it rose and fell out there, encroaching boldly yet somehow imperceptibly on the strip of land between sea and cliff that we weekend revelers had claimed.
The children paid the ocean no heed. All of us kept building.
When we decided to abandon our "spot" and our grainy monuments and go home, the children stormed their castle and stomped on it, screeching with joyful abandon.
I let mine stand.
I looked back as I made my way up the path toward the cliffs. My castle was still there, though it seemed already somehow closer to that final sibilant embrace with the sea.
Never mind. It was still standing as I took my last look.