One thought on “Quicksand

  1. children come to their mothers with the expectation that they’ll have all the answers. i’m not talking about family or school matters or finding a lost sock but mothers are expected to have all the answers to every question on any subject posed by their kids. not wanting to disappoint, most mothers appear to be a complete compendium of universal knowledge for every inquiry and display an amazing ability to spout answers without pause. it must be part of being a mother and “the truths” they fabricate for their kids one day are surely laughed about at luncheons with their friends the next.
    i went on a vacation with my mother the summer i was 10. we went to California and stayed at the La Jolla Beach Club. it was a wonderful get away for just the two of us and, for my mother, a reprieve from Tucson’s heat. neither of us had ever seen the ocean before. our mother was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa and attended Drake University. halfway through college she and a friend transferred to the University of Arizona in Tucson. she graduated, married and settled in Tucson and complained about the summer’s heat for the next 68 years. there isn’t much ocean in either Iowa or Arizona and i’m sure she felt hard pressed to field the 100’s of questions i had about it …. its color, its depth, its creatures, its size and the why’s of waves among them.
    my only knowledge of the ocean came from what i saw on TV and i’d seen enough horror movies to know that one of the ways a mummy or zombie was done in was by its stepping in quicksand (the casual and all too frequent appearance of a vat of acid beneath a trap door was the other but let’s stick to the quicksand). looking out from my beach towel at the sand on the beach that led to the churning waves i think any 10 year old would have to wonder about quicksand and a possible encounter. “quicksand? no, it’s out deeper. it’s never in shallow. the waves stop it from forming. the tide pulls it out to where you don’t need to worry.” she made it up as she went along but that was good enough for me. i grabbed my raft and went out to ride the waves. when i tired and as i returned, i encountered a skin diver who had been spear fishing. he’d shot a fish and i thought it was amazing. i asked my mother if i could try and she said that it was too dangerous. “you’d have to be able to hold your breath for a half hour and if you went by a rock where an eel was hiding, it would lurch out, bite you and hold you under until you drown and then eat you when you were dead.” well, that worked and i didn’t press her any further. grabbing my raft, i was again off to ride the safety of the waves.
    if mom could only see me now. here is a photo of me. i’m kneeling on quicksand and literally taking my life in my hands with the eel. (hope the photo transfers)

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