Suarez-Orendain: Sands of remembrance

·3 min read

When I was just a nine-year-old kid, I asked my brother JR where sand came from.

He replied, “From the beach,” and gave me a big smile.

I knew there was more to the answer, knowing that JR was full of knowledge.

“So where did the beach sand come from?” I persisted.

He knew there was no way out. A “why” question never ends, and a “where” question has to land on solid ground eventually.

We went to the porch, sat down on the stairs, and he started talking.

At this point, my few readers will have to humor me. I’m pretty sure you, the following, but come with me on this ride, a ride I know not where it will end.

My brother let me scoop a handful of sand from a sandbox where I kept my rock and shell collection.

He told me to let the grains of sand slip through my fingers.

“That’s time passing through history,” he said.

He continued. “You can’t recall time or the events and the people it carried on its silky back.”

“But what about the sand, how did it come to be?”

He replied, “I’ll get to that. You see, this pumice of yours was part of a bigger pumice. Then time and circumstance separated it to pieces. It’s like with loved ones.”

I didn’t know where the talk was going but I listened closely because JR was not a man of many words, and his catering to my silly question was an honor.

He said we miss a lot of big rock moments to show our loved ones how much we care. It’s only when they’re gone, back Home to the Creator, and they become as fine as sand, that we realize their true value.

“So where is ‘the there?’”

He said every September the world celebrates Collect Rocks Day but has no day for sand. Sand comes from rocks that the wind and water erode over millions of years.

Rocks are the handiwork of time. Millions of years ago, rocks like feldspar and quartz were whittled down by friction created by strong winds and rushing water. Over time they journeyed down to rivers and found themselves in the ocean where they became finer.

I looked at the sand in my cupped palm. I was in awe that I was beholding a compound that was precious and ancient.

Even today as an elderly woman, sand still creates wonder in me. And with it the wisdom my brother imparted to me.

We often see the big things possessed by friends and loved ones. But when they slip through time to go back Home, it’s the grain of sand, traits and quirks they had that hit memory the most: a hearty laughter, a certain morning greeting and a host of other you-ness (if I may coin a word) of the person.

I lift this page in memory of friends and loved ones who have gone Home.

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