I like to build sandcastles. It's fun filling a bucket over and over and then smacking said bucket on the ground with a satisfying thud. After that, I like carving out moats with my hands, cupping them together and then dragging them around my indestructible castle in a circle, feeling the sand gathering under my fingernails. But then a huge wave can come up and tower over my creation before crashing onto it, and before my eyes, it becomes just sand again-- something to build from and with. In this respect, I guess I can use sand as a metaphor for dreams, and, to some degree, life.

Back when I was a wee tot, my parents nursed and nurtured my love for building sandcastles. They'd take me down to the local beach-- Tauranga Bay in those days, with all its rips and waves and its big towering rock that looked to me that it could be a gateway to another world-- a world of sea, of water and animals that could breathe underwater or who could hold their breath for long periods of time.

My mother would stand in the water with me, the tides coming in and out and we'd feel the sea pool around our ankles and I would reach up for mummy's hand when I saw the sea coming in to greet us. One day I asked her the question, "Mummy, you'll never let the water take me away, right?" I watched it warily and then bent down, still gripping mummy's hand tightly with one fist, to feel the water and wet sand running through my fingers.

"Never, my darling, never," she replied softly and swept me up in her arms and piggybacked me to the car.

Looking back, I knew so long as this protection remained, so would my innocence and naivety. Now that protection has gone and my life has changed.