Rocks, Sand, Water
by Lori Levy

Why only birthdays, holidays? I want to celebrate kids,
how hard they play, as if play is as serious as
a day in the office, a day when a desk becomes the roof
of a fort and—leave it to kids—serious means fun.
What is serious? What is fun? What, for that matter,
is a beach? They know itís more than just sand and
sea. A rock is never just a rock. And my grandchildren?
Watch how they transform from whining-kids-in-the-car
to explorers scrambling over boulders at the base of a cliff
at Leo Carrillo beach, jumping from rock to rock
until my grandson discovers a flat-topped one
and yells to his younger sister, This is our headquarters!
So much excitement as they spread their towels,
arrange their gear: flip-flops, water bottles, glasses,
hats. Somehow I donít realize how silly I am
to go back to the car to get the sand toys
my daughter and I forgot in the trunk—worried
theyíll have nothing to do here without buckets, shovels,
strainers, cups. I am stuck on sand castles,
on kids making mud pies—when there they are, perfectly
happy, perched in their headquarters, surveying
their new world. They set their sights on a giant rock
at the edge of the water, soon to become their ship.
Waves smash against rocks, burst into a downpour,
and they run as fast as they can, laughing like thereís nothing
funnier than being chased to shore by a roaring sea.

Another day, another beach, Iím with my toddler granddaughter
and again Iíve forgotten the toys. She shapes sand
in her hands, makes me eggs, bacon, pancakes.
I draw a plate in the sand. A fork, a spoon.
She sets food on my plate, then pretends to chew.
Just sand in her hand, thatís all she needs.
I celebrate kids.




"Rocks, Sand, Water" appeared in Sunbeams for the Joan Ramseyer Memorial Poetry Contest, 2019.


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