Sisyphus and Writers on Folly Beach, SC

I spent the last week of August on Folly Beach, SC with part of my family, including our Three Little Guys ages 2 years, 7 months, and 6 months.

While playing with them was the highlight of the week, what captivated all of us – especially the 2 year old – was watching the diggers and bulldozers restore the beach.

From Saturday to Wednesday we enjoyed our expanse of sand and surf – reading, collecting shells, taking naps and watching the restoration taking place several houses away. We saw sand, pumped from 25 blocks away, spew from a pipe. Heard the machines rumble and beep going forward and backward as they moved the sand. From our vantage point of those several houses away the vehicles looked like over-sized Tonka trucks.

Then Thursday morning we woke to the house shaking, found the bottom three steps of our beach access completely buried and yellow tape blocking them and the beach from us.

During the next few days we’d walk to the end of the boardwalk, grandsons in tow, to watch the progress and kibitz like old men. The process was fascinating as sand levees were built to hold back the ocean while diggers and bulldozers backfilled and added to the beach. From Saturday to Wednesday this stretch of beach, all the way out to the line of rocks on the right was firm sand.

Somewhat like Sisyphus condemned to forever roll a boulder uphill, this whole endeavor seemed futile to some extent. Sand was piped, pushed, and dragged . . . only to do it all over again in the same place. At one point a foreman – or so we assumed – stopped all the activity in front of our place, gestured back toward the area that was restored earlier in the week, and all the vehicles formed a line and paraded back down the beach to redo whatever needed fixing. They returned later in the day to shake the house and continued all through the night. When we left on Saturday they were still working on the area in front of our rental.

Besides Sisyphus, the other thought that kept running through my head was how this constant building and rebuilding was a metaphor for writers! Earlier in the summer hubby peeked into my office and said the paragraph I was working on didn’t look any longer than it was when he peeked in an hour and a half before. It wasn’t, but the content and length had changed considerably and often in that time. Writers write, delete and write again. We take our piles of words and push them around over and over until they’re just right. We work deep into the night. Sometimes all the work seems futile, and often there are others telling us we need to go back and fix something we thought was finished. Yet all that shifting, building and rebuilding is always worth it.

And without that work what would all of us have to read when we go to the beach?

Just over a week ago was the beginning of Autumn – YAH!!! What was your favorite beach or lighter summer read this year? What books are you looking to sink into as the days get cooler and shorter?

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