Building My Coastline


A Greek philosopher once confounded the world by asking how many grains of sand it takes to make a heap. Lat’s say 10,000. Okay, we have a heap now, right? What if we remove one grain of sand? Did it just lose its “heapy” essence? is it now a non-heap? Is it just a pile? How many heaps does it take to make a beach? 400,000? What about a coastline? Aww man, now I’ve done it. My head hurts.

We build our lives grain by grain, you know (or as Anne Lamott says, bird by bird). which leads me to my blogging problem in 2013.  The vast majority of days, and I can’t stress this strongly enough, nothing out of the ordinary happens.

Myers Creek Beach, about 3 miles from where I grew up. It's made of mostly sand, by the way. Taken by my mother in 2012.
Myers Creek Beach, the coastline  about 3 miles from where I grew up. It’s made of mostly sand, by the way. Taken by my mother in 2012.

Okay, I take it back. Pretty sure I just stressed that strongly enough.

My point, however, is this: Every morning I get up, brew a cup of coffee, take my blood pressure pills, and drive or bus into work.  Then I do actual work, followed by lunch and a bit more work. Next I come home, make dinner (during which we usually watch the Daily Show and Colbert Report from the day before), obsess about Alex’s poor homework grades for a few minutes, maybe play on the computer for an hour or two. Then I crawl into bed around ten so I can start the whole thing over again the next day. Certain times of the year, I get out my crochet books and do that for an hour; other times I find a TV series on Netflix that interests me; even others I’ll listen to audio books. This fills in the empty hours between grocery shopping runs, and worrying over bills.

I imagine the last paragraph would double as a Valium, if you are in need of some sort of sleep aid.

My point is, everyday stuff—the grains of sand—are what gives weight to your day, stabilizing it much like the thumbtacks on the corners of the office kitchen memo “Your Mother Doesn’t Work Here – Please Clean Up After Yourself.” Also, like the memo, I just need to sit down and do stuff myself. Also also, doesn’t that wiseass memo make you wanna just find whoever wrote it and punch them in the face?

Back to my point, which was sitting down and doing things myself. This blog, for instance. My yesterday was pretty dull.  I sat around in my underwear, and went grocery shopping. Those were the highlights of my day. (You should have seen the boring bits!) Today I ran, and am cranking out a blog.

Behold! Lake Anne Plaza: Home of the World's Only 12-Seat Outdoor Bidet!
Lake Anne Plaza: Home of the World’s Only 12-Seat Outdoor Bidet! Behold, ye faithless!

In 1977, Woody Allen said “Showing up is eighty percent of life.” So, here I am, rocking you like a hurricane, by just showing up.

I guess in general, I just blog the things that made today not-like-yesterday. Sounds simple? That and showing up? Piece o’ cake? Not really. Just like my running habit. It was raining oustide, and cold. I haven’t really got any good wet-weather (or cold weather) running clothes so I just went out there this morning at around 7:15 and stepped into the foggy drizzle. GOD I didn’t want to. Staying in bed sounded much more inviting. But that would be what happened yesterday. We don’t want history repeating itself. So I ran.  I set my timer wrong, and wound up running 10 minutes less than usual. So much the better.There’s still a resistant skim of ice on the lake, floating around in thin sheets. Any wind will probably snap them apart. Saw an old guy with an umbrella, and noted that the Christmas lights are still decorating the ugly fountain at Lake Anne Plaza (I think I called it the world’s only 12-seater outdoor bidet once).  There was a lady walking her speckled greyhound, who was religiously sniffing the snow around a tree. I turned around, and my only goal was to get back before my hands froze off. I managed to set a record time for this run, so I guess it’s not all bad to run in the cold. my friend Susan said it best in her recent post.

Anyway, today I just showed up and ran. I even showed up and wrote this blog. Soon, I’ll have to show up and do a couple loads of laundry.

If you work grain by grain, you can eventually gather together enough sand to make a heap. You pull together heaps, and you have a beach, which, when you think about it, is pretty much the stuff of coastline miracles. My blog is and my running are the foundations of my heap. Wish me luck.

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4 thoughts on “Building My Coastline”

  1. Agreed! It makes me happy when you ‘just show up’ for your blog. And it makes me happy when I just show up for my day, ho-hum as it may be. It is still good and worth showing up for! Thanks for the reminder. 😀

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