There is Sand and Sand

April 21, 2010

It wasn’t the first time I’ve met Sand in a building. Years ago, a delightful wood built tea pavilion was almost lost in a fire. The burnt pieces showed sand on columns, and the carved capitols. A woodcarver made exact copies. Sand was collected from the dunes and strewn in to the wet paint. And soon the little pavilion was there again, gloriously covered with Sand.

Other buildings happen to have sand too, on wooden ceilings, on picture frames, on grand doorposts or on walls. And everytime the sand was hidden by layers of paint from later refurbishments. And everytime we took away the overpaint, and carefully exposed the sanded surface. And everytime we tried to understand the Sand. Was it riversand, or seasand. What was the colour underneath – because Sand is translucent! Were you there to resemble a yellow sandstone, a pink texture, or a white, almost marble-like stone?

And then, just over a week ago, there it was again. On George Washington’s mansion, white shimmering in the sun and reflecting the light from the Potomac river.

Sand and sand, so lovely to see you again, this time on this special house that is the holiday destination of so many.