The Zen of Raking

By Shannon Blake, Assistant Ranger
The Elmore State Park beach and I have shared moments of infinite possibility. If you are one of the beach-goers that make it out before noon, you may have witnessed the perfect ridges in the sand extending in parallel lines from the lake's edge up to the wood retaining wall.    The amusing breaks in linearity around obstacles like the boat rack and the cement block that anchors the pedal boats give away the secret that these are not naturally occurring lines. They are the work of a John Deere tractor pulling a homemade sand rake. 

When I am the park employee fortunate enough to
pull the rake in the early morning before opening, I feel like an artist sculpting a Zen garden.  The act is a reset button for all the fun, mischief, and excavations that took place on the beach the day before. And in that space of time when the rake lines are complete and before park visitors come in, the beach and I share a moment of infinite possibility.

Maybe it will rain and gently dissolve my work, or maybe the lines will be the perfect grid for constructing a life-size sand mermaid. And I welcome all the creative sand art, the tall towers and the deep moats. The point is not to constantly maintain the perfection.  Plus it really is fun to crash through sandcastles and obliterate sand pony sculptures while riding the tractor
.

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