Saturday, February 20, 2010

People Who Collect Sand

I saw this statement at Wikipedia, the topic being "sand":

People who collect sand as a hobby are known as arenophiles or psammophiles.

That's an interesting, if obscure hobby. I'm getting older everyday and I'd never heard of it.

I went there to look up "sand" because it suddenly occurred to me that I didn't know why we have sand. Think about it. We've got these countless little tiny rocks and no one ever wonders why. So I'm wondering, are they just rocks whose growth was stunted somehow? Maybe a full grown rock needs to attract to itself many smaller rocks to be all it can be. Which doesn't sound likely. And yet there are all these tiny rocks that never amount to much.

Sand is one of those things that is so omnipresent that we overlook it, at least I do. You overlook it until it annoys you, then it's hard to get rid of it. I can be throwing sand on some ice, and next thing you know I've got some in my coat pocket, my boots, my socks, stuck under my fingernails, everywhere. I get sand in my bed somehow -- and it only takes a few little pieces -- and I can't get to sleep, feeling it down by my feet.

You can pick up a handful of sand and look at it. You can look at an individual piece. Then you close your hand and you'll never see that piece again. It's everywhere, yet it's constantly overlooked.

I walked in some sand today that someone had scattered on the ice. It immediately helps of course. Ice without sand is slick as snot. But with some sand on it, you get the traction, because, I guess, the molecules of the sand and ice are in opposition. Sand digs in and nullifies the slick molecules of ice. It gives a welcome buffer zone to your boots, taking the place that the ice would normally be rubbing against.

We used to play in the sand -- and hope that a cat hadn't been there before.

Now I learn there are people who collect sand. My guess, they collect it for its mineral and geological story, not simply because they like tiny rocks. But there could be some who have other interests.

I know sand is a fun thing to mess with, if it's clean. Like the sand on a nice beach. To pick it up and let it run through your hands is a nice feeling.

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