Saturday, September 17, 2011

Castles of the mind




Walking along the beach, as I do, I came across this man and his mighty-fine sandcastle. He didn't mind me taking pictures.


I asked, "How long have you been building this?"


"Since noon," he replied.


It was about 6 p.m. by that time.





*





I considered those four hours and the more he would put in before the sun swallowed up the daylight and sent him home.


"Don't you mind that it will be gone by morning?" I asked.


"By midnight," he said, laughing and without ceasing the sculpting.



"Do you take pictures?" I asked, still curious. "Enter sandcastle contests?"


He shook his head. He did this for fun, for challenge, for joy. Nothing more.


*

That got me thinking. Perhaps the most pure creations are not to please audiences or achieve prizes but are simple outpourings of joy and wonder. It's a free-ing notion, don't you think?


And one more thing: I love those upsweeping castle walls he made. I'm going to draw the castle in my fairy tale, bring it to life on a sketchbook page. What fun I shall have!

27 comments:

Jemi Fraser said...

So awesome! I love the feel of the castle and the man's attitude - both are terrific!

storyqueen said...

I am really touched by this act.

And I desperately want to go and play in the sand.

Shelley

Sarah Laurence said...

Cool castle. Nothing is more ephemeral than a sand castle, except maybe one made of snow on a sunny day. Nice to have it captured here and in your sketchbook.

Wen Baragrey said...

He is a very wise man. How wonderful, to simply create for creation's sake and not mind if it's all swept away. Awesome :) And beautiful, too.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Jemi: I passed the castle going one direction and kept thinking about how cool it was, so when I came back I just had to stop and talk to him. So glad I did.

Shelley: It's been years since I tried to build a castle in sand. You're right, it would be awesome.

Sarah: Oooooo, a snow castle. I've built snowmen and cats but never a castle. I bet one would get a bit chilly, but how stunning it would be.

Wen: I know. I need to hold on to that truth. I'm so glad I stumbled upon him.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

That's so cool. Creating for the simple joy of it and nothing else. :)
We should all try to do that more often.

Suzanne Casamento said...

I love his castle design! And I love that he built it just for the joy of it. I bet that's his way of meditating.

Super cool!

Rebecca said...

I would love to have a whole day to spend at the beach just building with sand. What fun! And beauty!

You're right. Often the best creations are, as you put it, simple outpourings of joy and wonder.

Valerie Geary said...

This post made my soul smile. Beauty simply in the act of creating, nothing more.

Donna said...

Your sandcastle architect is a grand example for us all.

As a kid, my technique was to dribble water and sand through my fingers to create high towers. Sort of like a wasp nest, I think.

The Golden Eagle said...

I love that he builds them even though he knows they won't be there the next day--just for fun. :)

Wonderful post!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Karen: I'm really going to try to. Several times before I was going to write a silly limerick every day or just randomly sketch something or play with clay. Sometimes, I even got stuff to work with and then forgot about it. I want to be like a little kid with fingerpaints--just throw myself in without censure.

Suzanne: That's a great insight about the meditation. I think you're right.

Rebecca: Exactly. I think it's finding the child inside, the one who can let a day be all about play.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Valerie: Your comment made my soul smile, too. Thank you.

Donna: Yeah, I'm afraid I don't have much of a technique. I know that to build big ones like this, you need to keep the sand a specific dampness. But maybe one day I'll just go try, right?

GoldenEagle: Yes, there's something wonderful about being able to let go like that. Kind of sending the creation off into the universe, its life complete.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Wow....what an awesome castle. Truly beautiful.

We came upon a little castle made from pebbles and an "I Love You" message in the sand on the shore of Lake Huron, not too long ago. But, man, this.... defies words.

Thanks for sharing your picture!

jbchicoine said...

It's been such a long time since I built a sandcastle! It's so true about there being something so pure and for the moment about creating art that will wash away in a short time...it's a good way to remember that our artistic expressions should all have at least an element of that purity! The 'simple outpourings of joy and wonder.' It is a freeing notion!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Yvonne: How many things might we make castles of? That sounds like a delightful find on your part. Thanks for sharing, too!

Bridget: It's so hard to find the innocence after we hear the critics, but that's what makes good art. It's a kind of honesty, I think.

Bish Denham said...

Sand castles, like cairns, are wonderfully ephemeral. They are reminders of the fragility, the finiteness of life, that all we "create" will in time cease to exist. They remind us to be in the present with joy.

Nice....

MG Higgins said...

Brings back such wonderful memories of playing in the sand--constructing holes and underground highways. This post reminds me that joy is in the moment of creation.

MG Higgins said...

BTW, thanks for recommending Howl's Moving Castle!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Bish: I need constant reminders to be present with joy--the nagging realities of life always try to butt in. I like your comment on remembering the fragility and finiteness--keeps it all in perspective.

Melissa: Underground highways! Oh, I wish I could've seen those.
And I take that second comment to mean you read Howl's and liked it. Yay!

Phoenix said...

Creating art purely for the sake of creating art - I think this man is onto something.

It's funny how we try to make art "sell," or "say something" when the entire point of art is simply - to create it in the first place.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Phoenix: I love your comment that the point of art is simply to create. How freeing that is!

laughingwolf said...

sounds like a swell idea, tricia :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks, Wolf!

LynNerd said...

That's such a cool sand castle. How fun to spend the day building it. Wow!

Paul Greci said...

Wow!! Everything comes together here. Creativity and non-attachment and living in the present!!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Lynn: Wouldn't it be fun? ;)

Paul: Actually, I have to thank you for putting it that way. I was having a mini-moment of doubt about my work until you reminded me why I posted this!