Water and sand ….or rather the edge of water and sand provided yet another stage upon which my internal drama could unfold.

Long before the Chevy sank in the ocean and the shrimp boat captain threatened me, the magic of the beach had left its mark.

The yearly trip to the Gulf coast had scalded the hot sand and salt into my psyche leaving a white crusty surface, which was perfection in my eyes.

James was there and other cousins older, and younger, the three of us: my brother sister and I, the aunts, uncles, dogs and various and sundry adults.

In all a cacophony of characters that swarmed the beach like the mosquitoes I would one day try to evade. All together the extended family was a good breeding ground for the fleas and the fantastic.

Meant only for context, what I am describing is no doubt a multitude of days and years.

The time before and the time after all squeezed into one primary thing: the beach.

On the day in question I was in my element ….the sun was beating down, the salt was in the air, and the hot sand was under my feet.

I had slipped inside myself, thinking and plotting what I would build next.

A beach will always swallow the noise and bother of adults….for beaches are much too vast for anyone other than children to inhabit.

This beach, the setting of my drama, had swallowed up virtually everyone and as far as I knew, I was alone.

I had wandered far from the water’s edge looking both inward and out for treasure.

It came in the form of a driftwood forest.

“Driftwood!” I cried,

Not just ordinary driftwood, however.

I had stumbled on a vast private island strewn with huge driftwood timbers….

Riven by salt and sand, gnarled and cloven, twisted and beaten by the wind the driftwood rose into the sky, one piece leading into another until it was clear, even to adults, that this was no ordinary place.

The visions of what I would make with this spiraled and swirled in the wind. Excitement swept over me until I could no longer contain it.

“I have to show this to someone.” I thought.

”James!” and off I went.

James was older (but not too much).

He was wild with way more energy than a normal child.

He could tell you stories about his daring feats and he made it all sound as if the world was a precarious place, full of peril, drama, and adventure….. and he alone had conquered it.

James lit up when he saw the place….

“We can build carnival rides!” he said, “ Tilt a whirls, roller coasters…Ferris wheels!”

His words instantly coalesced the visions I had roiling in my brain.

That was the spark I needed to harden my desires. My inner eye went wild.

“That’s what I want to make” I thought and for a moment the vision became real……real enough to gather me deep within it.

Before me lay not driftwood, but an amusement park made of driftwood .

It was and continues to be a wondrous sight.

The twisted limbs had reformed themselves into a cathedral of an amusement park and it was everything I wanted it to be.

Yet as tangible as the vision seemed, all my magic thinking had no effect whatever at all on the landscape I saw before me.

The sun still beat down on us and the driftwood remained intact.

“Lets build SOMETHING “ James shouted.

Immediately we set to work. I was optimistic that we could finish before sundown.

As strong as James was he was unable to move even the smallest of the huge logs.

”Lets do this later “ he said and off he went to join the others in the water.

Yes it was a waste of time to even TRY to build something out of all this stuff.

Anyone could see that you needed a bulldozer or some big piece of equipment to move the driftwood.

James was not one to waste his time.

But I stood there alone for a few minutes more; relishing the vision that had so enraptured me.

It hung before me tangibly intangible, an awe inspiring sight.

So now the beach is gone, the adults are gone, the time is gone, but the vision still remains.

I can’t get rid of it if I try.

My vision for the big red ball was coalescing also. Perhaps coalescing into nothingness.

Sadly my visions today are tempered by years of frustration.

There is usually a contingency plan: A, B, C, and D on every choice I make.

Things are continually forced into a different direction than I anticipate. New circumstances arise and of course there is always the money and time to consider.

Scrapping the whole thing is usually the last resort….

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”

I was a little slow in the “giving up” department.

A normal person would simply move on, but I had fallen in love with the big red ball and I was determined to make something out of it.

In the 2 and ½ years the big red ball was on Eddie’s island my ideas for it morphed and changed, and changed again.

Reality had struck a heavy blow in terms of the balls weight and my ability to deal with it.

Overcoming that obstacle would not be easy. It was even heavier than the driftwood logs that I found on the beach.

But I kept at it.

Ideas upon ideas were stacked in a haphazard fashion, one merging into another, until they all fell down. Then I would start all over again.

The big red ball waited for me to act.

to be continued