Collapsing sandcastles


When I was about three, I was terrified of collapsing sandcastles. It was the kind of terror that infiltrates every cell. It was visceral and it was total.

Even now, I remember my utter revulsion when I saw the structure crack.

I don’t know if it was the destruction or the denaturing that bothered me so. Was it something seemingly solid collapsing, or the fall of form into chaos?

Was it a precocious fear of death?

I was reminded of this beachy hell in the early days of coronavirus: the sense everything solid was decaying – our lifestyles, or income, our society.

It wasn’t until I was OK with that – when I stopped trying to maintain castles of sand – that I started to feel OK.

When I saw the world as a snow-globe being shook up, not a palace built on granite, I felt better.

Indeed, there’s something special about the atomization – the chrysalis gunge – when nothing is certain but everything is possible.

Maybe there’s excitement in embracing that.