The Shock Wall
Though Molly had lived just four blocks from the ocean for the last five years, the sight of it still filled her with awe. It was so massive. Looking out at the horizon it was very easy to imagine it stretching to eternity. She would sit in the wet sand where the water could glide right up to her toes and stare at the line of darker blue that divided the water from the heavens above. Whole hours could slip by unnoticed while she watched a sailboat wonder farther and farther away from land, its base slowly disappearing, then its sail, proof that the world was in fact round. Yet she never felt that her time was wasted by such observations. How could any time be a waste that was spent in such peaceful endeavors?
On this particular day Molly had more important things to do than to give sailboats a proper sending off. Her little nephew must be shown around, made familiar with the more important things in life: seashell collecting, sandcastle construction and seagull chasing. He must study a strand of seaweed. He must watch carefully as the little critters that lived in the wet sand blew air bubbles out of their cozy little burrows.
“So where should we start Zack? What shall we do first?”
“I want to see doz big rocks over dere.” Zack pointed a perfect little miniature finger toward the black cliffs to the south.
“Then let’s go.”
As they marched along Molly quietly sang the alphabet song, as if to herself. Zack would run ahead, then stop to poke at a clam shell, then chase a bird and squeal with delight as it took flight, circled overhead and landed again ten feet away. The sand felt cool under their feet. Summer had not yet arrived in all its blazing glory. It was still the middle of April. They were lucky that the rain clouds had cleared away earlier in the week.
As they neared the cliff face Zack picked up a glittery white rock. “Let’s make a wall to keep out da shocks,” he said.
“Good idea. We wouldn’t want those nice sharks to hurt themselves against these unfriendly rocks.” Zack gave her his best smile, the one with the dimple, and giggled at her. Molly started gathering white rocks, piling them up for him near the waters edge. If a rock was too heavy to pick up Zack rolled it where he wanted it to be, lining them up next to each other. When a wave would crash against the cliffs, sending its cold spray over them, Zack would give a squeal and hug himself, dancing on his tiptoes. The wall was complete when the white rocks were all used up.
They stood back to appreciate their work. It was beautiful; the zigzags imitating the ocean waves. Up and down and up and down.
“Well I think we need a big lunch after our day of construction, don’t you?” Molly said with hands on hips. “How about Clam Chowder with fish crackers?”
Zack beamed. “But no shocks cause dey’re nice shocks here.”