Post 51: Drawings in the Sand

When you look forward to something enough, you often set yourself up to be disappointed. And yet, hours of guarding an empty landscape forces a soldier to dream. He must do so, if only to stay sane. And so he dreams. He dreams of a day at the beach. Of a lazy morning spent relaxing in bed. Of a Saturday morning stroll down a busy Tel Aviv street with no destination in mind. He plans the little time he has off out to the minute. Where he will have his breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and with whom. Being a soldier, and a man in general, however, his plans are but drawings in the sand.

When we were children, the world was so big, and so open before us. Our drawings in the sand would spring to life. Small piles of sand soared on a moment’s thought towards the heavens, and formed spiraling castles; knights in shining armor shot up from the ground. The world was ours and everything in it; all of our dreams were possibilities. I was going to grow up to be a famous baseball player. Everyone would know my name, and kids would imitate my swing in little league for decades to come. When my career ended, I was going to be president. And then G-I-Joe. Nothing was beyond my reach. My biggest concern in life was whether or not my Mom would be packing Oreos or chips in tomorrow’s lunch bag. But those days are forever behind me, and with their passing, so too has past my ability to stretch my imagination as I once could. To this day some of my happiest memories were as a child, growing up in that beautiful brick house on Bradford road, with a nice lawn, a white fence, and a pleasant next-door neighbor who we baked cookies for when her husband passed away. Then, being grown-up was so far away that in my wildest dreams I could never imagine what it would be like. But unlike the lost boy who shares my name, real people are forced to grow up.

As adults, all of our plans are as drawings in the sand, hazy in their detail and fleeting in their nature. And if that wasn’t enough, they have gotten harder to draw. The pen is not fine enough to draw the picture in as much detail as we would like. The knights in shining armor no longer spring up from the sand. Castles that spiral towards the sky no longer block out the sun.

As any artist will tell you, God is in the details. You can go over the same centimeter of canvas for hours and hours and yet it still will haunt you. The flower can always be a little bit brighter. The face can always be a little bit more realistic. And this with fine-tipped brushes. And so as adults, without fine tipped brushes, unable to summon the imaginative powers we possessed so strongly as children, and with so much we cannot control, we are left with fuzzy pictures. As children, we controlled everything in our fantasy worlds. But in the real world, some things are beyond our control. Your friends aren’t always off when you are. Protests on the borders can cancel your weekend leave at the last minute. The girl who seemed so interested in you the last time you were home can lose interest by the time your out on your next weekend leave 21 days later. And in a moment, when we turn our heads away, an incoming wave can wash away our drawing, leaving in it’s wake no proof that such a drawing ever existed. It becomes as a passing dream, remembered only in the mind of it’s creator. And thus are we destined to keep drawing pictures that are never quite clear enough, that, even when completed to an acceptable degree, will forever be washed away by the incoming waves. But absent alternatives, we draw on, and, as Fitzgerald wrote, “beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

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3 Responses to “Post 51: Drawings in the Sand”

  1. Sam Says:

    It seems as though you feel your best days are behind you, and that there is nothing to look forward to in your future, as your life will never be as perfect as it was in your past as a child. I will never quite understand what you are going through as I haven’t lived it, but I encourage you to try to believe that the future will be better, and happier. Perhaps it will not be as carefree and limitless as it was when we were kids, but there are also many positive and rewarding things about being an adult. You do lose a sense of control over your life, and that seems to be what you are wrangling with now. I do think that you will regain that feeling, and that you will eventually find that freedom again. Be hopeful about the future, and try to enjoy the present, if you can. Life is about the journey. Don’t let it be about the past.

  2. Michael Kleinman Says:

    Corey that is gorgeous

  3. Joel Says:

    As your Uncle Michael (and James Taylor) have taught me: “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time…Any fool can do it..There aint nothing to it..Nobody knows how we got to the top of the hill…But since we’re on our way down, we might as ENJOY THE RIDE..TRY NOT TO TRY TOO HARD…ITS JUST A LOVELY RIDE.” I read this and all of your posts with so much PRIDE. Stay safe

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