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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The 10 Ways a Hill of Sand and Life Are the Same

First, let me say that when my 14yo son, Ben, told me to stop the car because he HAD to get out and climb the sand hill, I had a proud parent moment.  We had just taken a turn off the main highway hoping to find a road closer to the Mississippi River. I was trying to turn a short, simple trip into a longer, something worth remembering trip. There, out in the middle of nowhere, was a huge hill of sand. Well, when you see that kind of thing, you just have to stop.

I had just picked Ben up from his first week-long camp. He was full of stories and the promise that it was the best time he's ever had, beating every vacation we've taken. (I'm not sure how I feel about that. I guess it's good.) It was a beautiful day. Sky was bright blue and evening was approaching, so the sun was shifting lower, extending the shadows.

We got out of the car and left the music blaring. We took the camera with us. Ben immediately set about climbing to the top of the huge hill. He had to stop a couple of times, amazed at how much harder the sand made the trip. Eventually, he made it and yelled from the top, "Mom, you should see it up here. There's a whole field."

I was still at the bottom. I hadn't made it past the warm sand on my feet and the unexpected discovery of gorgeous shimmering shells polka dotting the hill. I had also discovered that Ben's motion was creating small avalanches. I sat watching sheets of sand release themselves and streams of sand create crevices and sand waterfalls off the ledges.

So, how is life like a sand hill?
  1. When something surprises you, you should be willing to shift gears and tune into it. Ben saw the hill and demanded to stop. He wasn't willing to pass it by.
  2. The trip up is hard work, but the trip down is fun as hell. Learning life's lessons can be hard but the wisdom is sublime.
  3. Sometimes it takes a messy butt to get down the hill. Ben slid down the hill on his butt and his shorts ended up looking like he had an accident. In life, I think you have to be willing to loosen up sometimes, let things not be easily explainable, let it be messy.
  4. Go with the wind. Pick up momentum. Go with the flow. Don't fight what the universe is telling you. The wind's force was a creative force in the face of the hill.
  5. There were crevices in the hill and life has crevices. We become entrenched in our thoughts and habits. We have to notice when we're in them and work to get out of them. They're hard to get out of. 
  6. Unexpected beauty is everywhere. Look for it! We found a sand hill in the middle of nowhere because we went looking for it.
  7. Things aren't always what they seem. It was a hill of sand but it was also a moment, a metaphor, an enabler of a broader view.
  8. You can get buried quickly if you stand still. Sometimes you just have to move, do something. The sand buries things quickly.
  9. Truth depends on your point of view, your perspective. The experience at the top of the hill was very different from the one at the bottom of the hill.
  10. Life is constantly changing even when it seems the same. From far enough away, that hill just seemed like a hill sitting there, but when you looked close enough, it was constantly changing. Structures that look permanent are fragile. A single distance vibration can result in a cataclysmic change.
Go out and find your sand hill now.

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