“It takes a universe to make a child, both in outer form and inner spirit. It takes a universe to educate a child, a universe to fulfill a child.” Thomas Berry
I have been on vacation on a tropical island in the Pacific. All I will say about it is summed up in what I overheard a woman say to her husband on the phone: “Honey, sell everything, we’re moving here”.
I am not moving here, though one can always dream.
But being the self admitted ECE geek that I am, I can’t help thinking ECE thoughts. And this is what I noticed….holes. Children of every age are compelled to dig holes in the sand. I watched a tiny girl not more than 11 months using her chubby little hands to scrape fistfuls of sand to examine, taste, feel and then pat into her tiny shovel, then dump. She repeated the process, making tiny little holes in the sand between her tiny little legs.
I watched 4 larger kids dig a hole that was 6 feet deep. It took them the better part of the day, and when it was finished they sat in it completely hidden from view.
(I have no photos of these holes. Taking pictures of OPK’s (Other People’s Kids) and posting them on the internet is a bit sketchy. I had to make due with snapping pictures in the evening when the beach diggers were done.)
Adults are not immune to this compulsion. Dad’s and Grandpa’s seem especially drawn to digging and one can watch as the kids find other amusement and the dad and/or grandpa are still hard at it.
Danielle and I have posted frequently about natural materials, and how The Beach Provides. What is it about sand the invites such interactions? Is it the transformation? Sand is wet, dry, hot, cold, smooth, rough, stubborn and pliable….and all of these properties can explored in one sitting (or one hole!)
One can test one’s abilities against sand, how far, how deep how high. Traces of oneself can be left, artistry and strength can be demonstrated, but of course the sand always returns as it was when you arrived, your traces gone.
The sand asks many questions of us, invites many conversations. Holes are just one way to enter the dialogue.