Writing Assignment: Write About Sand

by Randy Murray on November 22, 2013

One of the most pleasurable things for both children and adults to do is to play in the sand. It might be just a sandbox in the backyard or a trip to the beach, but, with all the varieties of sand, people seem to enjoy themseles in and near it. I do.

I’ve been to many different beaches and the sand in each of those locations seems individual and memorable to me. The sand for the sandbox is regular and white, while the sand that I buy to fill in the cracks of my brick patio is a bit more coarse, but clean of all contaminants. The sand in my hourglass is exceedingly fine, while the bottle of sand I brought back from the Outer Banks is made up of multicolored fragments, chips more than grains. You can still see the recognizable bits of shells among the murky seawater brown of the more ground-down grains.

You can build with sand and let your imagination soar. You can watch, god-like, as the eons fly by like seconds and your works are eroded, erased, by the wind and waves and time.

For me sand is not just a cleaner version of dirt—it is sensual and comforting. And that makes the topic of sand an excellent topic for a Writing Assignment.

For today’s assignment write about your memories of sand. Is is an annoyance that fills your shoes and settles in the confines of your shorts? Is it the magical construction material that permits you to build pyramids and castles? It it the warm bed that conforms to your shape as you drift off to sleep in the sun?

What is sand to you? What do you do with it? How do you see it, remember it? Where to you find sand today in your life? Be as specific as possible. “Sand” is far too general a designation for that very specific thing and experience you are thinking of.

There are no limits to the length of today’s assignment. Simply think of sand and write.

Writing Assignment: Write About Sand by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

musale November 23, 2013 at 7:20 am

I have lived with sand practically all my life. Living in a school where the basketball pitch was carpeted with sand, I spent most of my time there. Sand easily makes your legs look dusty and the allure to scoop it in your hands makes it dirtily you the more. We used to play with our shoes on to avoid this but as the games intensified, we would remove them and play in the sand. Whenever I felt like the game was not getting to me, I would squart at one corner of the pitch and make sand houses. Eventually I would get company from one of my friends and then the whole group would ve making sand houses. The students would find us building these castles and chase us away because we were ‘eroding’ their pitch.
Home was even better. My mother used sand in baking cake. Whenever she wanted to prepare us the precious confectionery, she would send me to fetch some of the sand from the pitch in a carton box. Having done it a couple of times, I knew that she wanted the one with big grains. It also had to be dry so as to reduce the time used to gain heat. She would transfer the sand into a metallic container which was placed on burning firewood. On top of it, the cake mixture would be placed. After an hour, the aroma of baking cake would fill the kitchen. I would hang around the kitchen at this time—indulging in the smell before having to get the first bite of the cake. I remember one time after she had baked my birthday cake she placed it on the table in our dining room. My little brother went ahead to break a huge chunk from it without anyone seeing him. When he had eaten enough, he was very kind to bring me some and boy wasn’t I mad!
My grandmother too used sand in many things in her home. She lives close to a river and her land is full of rocks. In fact, the whole area is rocky. Sand is scattered everywhere. It varies in color and coarseness with the dark, small-particle one being vast in her compound. She warned us not to walk around barefoot as we would get jiggers in our toes from the dirty sand. I walked around barefoot but I have never got those parasites he he! Then she would scrub the smoke-blackened sides of her pots with the sand and rough leaves. The pots would regain their sparkly look again after being rinsed in water.
Going to the river bordering her farm, sand harvesters were spread along its banks. They would scoop the sand with spades from still water points in the river. This sand would be left at the banks for a few days so that it drains the water in it. Then huge Lorries would often troop to the river and the sand would be loaded onto them for construction. Sometimes, after the sand had been harvested, huge rains would fall and wipe a considerable amount of the sand back into the river. The harvesters came up with a new way to prevent this occurrence. They would arrange big stones around the mound of sand preventing it from being carried back into the water.
I want to visit the beach. Most of my friends have had the pleasure of visiting the towns bordering the Indian Ocean at the coast. Looking at their photos, their legs are white from walking on the beach. They are holding their shoes in their hands, sunglasses on and flashing the two fingers peace sign. I wonder why they always have to flash them in their photos. I want to walk those white sandy beaches too. I assume that those sand grains are less coarse and are smaller in grains. When I go there later this year I must carry some of that white sand as a souvenir. I want to compare it to the one that is always harvested at the river in my granny’s home.
Another sand type I would love to sample is the one in the deserts. Places like Egypt where the Sahara desert sweeps and the UAE, sand dunes and sandstorms are a frequent phenomena. I want to see the brown grains, walk through their soft texture and have it seeping in between my fingers after scooping it. The way it makes endearing patterns on the sand dunes and swirls into the air like an evil jinni who has just been opened free from a bottle. I want to experience that. Or drive in it with a SUV making deep trails in the thick layers of the gravel.


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