March 7, 2016

MOSKOWITZ | A Couple Grains of Sand

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Every day, and every day for the last couple billions of the years, the sun has risen in the east and set in the west. Bright rays of light have shone over the horizon, reaching into dark chasms and turning earth, dark and damp from the night, into warmth and soft soil.

I guess we should trust the process. I guess we should let the sun rise and fall. We should sit on the shore, feet plunged into grainy bits of sand and watching the waves. Watch them dance up and down, flipping up and down, spraying little bits of white foam into the air. We should watch them as they extend far out, until their tumbling and spinning blends into a solid wall of green and blue, almost motionless as it meets the horizon. We should watch them rush up to the shore, gleaming under the sun in delight, and glance as they crash into the sand sitting underneath our feet. Flood after flood covers the glistening grains, sweeping away tiny bits of shell and tumbles of dry seaweed. They turn our world into a plane of twirling waves until there is nothing left but the turbulent, wide ocean. I can almost feel it tugging me in myself.

In my hands, all I clutch is a couple grains of sand. After all, wouldn’t it be great if we were made of just a couple grains of sand? We wouldn’t need billions of molecules or strands of this or that, just a bunch of grains of sand. Every day we could sift around the shore, pulled out towards the ocean and tossed back onto the dunes. Flung back and forth, life tossed into endless configurations. I wouldn’t move at all, just allow myself to be tossed about, waiting for nothing but the streams of salty water to move me up and down. I guess I could trust the process. I guess I could become a grain of sand.

Yet, I could toss these grains into the air. I could watch them fly upon the shore and float out above the ocean. Maybe they would drift with the wind, carried up high above the shore and the twisting sea. They could glide between clouds, dampened by frigid air. They would slow down, spin ever so slightly, cold and wet from the chilling air. Then they would freeze, crystalizing and hardening. I can see it way up there, a snowflake of sand, barely staying afloat. It subtly tilts back and forth. Sheer ice, it plunges toward the earth, dropping through the clouds. It cuts through the air and plummets in a straight line towards the sea. It splashes upon the water, and for a moment, prances among the waves, twisting and turning with their foam, melting up and down. After it has finished its dance, soaked in salt, it meanders downwards, below the waves. As it falls underneath, the last drops of sunlight hit its surface, and it twinkles one last time before it sinks into the darkness.

No, I don’t think I will trust the process. I think I will clutch these grains and I think I will hold them tightly. I will squeeze my palm and let them sit in the sweat of my hand.

You can tell me that the sun always rises in the east and sets in the west. You can tell me that under that sun sits cloud and an ocean that seems to stretch on forever. Yet I will close my eyes and I will clutch my fists tightly. I will have my grains of sand.

Hunter Moskowitz is a sophomore in ILR. He enjoys playing the cello and running. His posts appear on alternate Mondays. He can be reached at hm376@cornell.edu.

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