Sand on the beach is a wonderful, mysterious, transcendent miracle. I let it run through my fingers grain by grain and dream of eternity. It represents not the foundation or beginning of everything, but a perfect implausible marker of this exact time.

After the big bang, there were billions of years of solar formation and explosion. Elements like silicon forming out of hydrogen and helium. Trace minerals here and there that grouped to form more suns, asteroid clumps, planets, the earth beneath my beach chair.

And over more billions of years, after the world formed, creation of rocks, creation of water, change in air, erosion by rain ice and sea to form pebbles, wear the pebbles into grains, compact them once again into rock, erode them once more into sand, pile them up with the help of the moon tides. And here I am, billions of years trickling out of my palm.

The sand was here before life began, it may outlast it. But, like us, as the universe runs down it will cease to be.

I don’t worry much about that. I am more intrigued by the fact of what its existence implies.

And I realize once again that one need not travel far to arrive at wonder and wisdom.

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