we are getting ready to re-do our backyard. we began this operation a few years ago, initially by pulling up a fifty year old brick patio whose bricks had drifted apart as much as the alleged super-continent pangea. after preparing to move onto phase two of the project—the grading, tilling, and sodding of the former plot—the children protested loudly. during the work they had found something more appealing than a lush field of well-manicured grass...a giant bed of sand.
boats and moats became the name of play in this spot. our children can very rarely, if ever, claim to have the best of anything but for the multiple summers they had their boats and moats pit, they could claim the best sandbox in the neighborhood. there were summer days i would come home to be near astonished at the complex channels and tunnels and islands, complete with rivers of water the children had architected, often with the help of neighbor kids.
the end of the sessions often involved a naked hosing down at the base of the back steps, followed by a racing dash to the shower where, when looking at the grimed porcelein afterward, one fully appreciates the number of folds in the human body that can hide and store sand and silt.