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Some people are sand philosophers

3 mins read

By Lee Scott

If you have ever gone to Hunting Island State Park and walked the beach during low tide, you might have seen some of our local philosophers at work.

These are the people who walk along the shore with their sticks and are inspired to write just when the ocean tide is at its lowest.

Whether it’s the breeze off the ocean or the endless horizon that inspires them, it’s not long before they are writing in the sand. But unlike Aristotle and Plato, whose works have been around for thousands of years, the sand philosopher’s words are only here for a limited amount of time.

On a recent morning I noticed that someone had written “Always.” I stopped and just looked at it. Always what? Always in love? Always hear the ocean? Always, as in God? Or maybe someone just expected the reader to be inspired by the meaning of the word and come to one’s own conclusion.

A good friend told me that she knows people who go to the beach over New Year’s and write the old year over the new year and take pictures as the old year gets washed away. How symbolic; especially for those people who have had a bad year. The water appears to wash away the past.

You might see footprints near some writing, too. Couples will stand together and squish their feet deep into the sand as they face one another. Written next to the footprints is something like “soulmates.” It takes much longer for the incoming tide to erase the deep footprints.

Parents are also known to do this with their children with the date written next to the footprints, as if forever imprinting the moment in time.

But some of the sand writing is actually not philosophical, but more like Comedy Central.

You might see “Life is a beach” or a long arrow pointed to the water with the words “Beach this way.” I also saw “Wilson was here” as a reference to the movie “Cast Away,” where the Wilson volleyball floated away. And of course, there are the endless games of tic-tac-toe.

So if you are having a particularly unpleasant week and need to be inspired, go down to the beach and check out the sand philosophers’ work.

And don’t forget to bring your own writing stick.

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