On Sandboxes, Archaeology, and a Childlike Wonder

Sandboxes always trigger memories of Bethsaida. The smell of sand, the wildflowers, the messiness, and the wonder in my daughter’s eyes always take back to the year I went on an archaeological dig along with a group of other volunteers who were fascinated with the idea of getting dirty for a chance of discovering treasures. Many volunteers came from fields completely unrelated to archaeology. There were teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, and of course students in our group. Some already had grandchildren, while others were in the first year of college. But we were all united by passion for discovery and learning.

Years later, I take my daughter to parks and playgrounds, where I watch her fill up buckets with sand, build castles, and get excited every time a tiny ant crawls into the sandbox. Or whenever there’re new wildflowers growing in a field.

I believe that we, as grownups, aren’t too different from our kids. Just like our children, we love to explore the world around us, but on a bigger scale. That explains the popularity of science magazines, museums, and stargazing tours. That explains why so many people volunteer for archaeological digs despite being have to rise at five in the morning and work under the scorching heat. Or why companies like SpaceIl take on the task of building the next lunar lander despite all the risks involved in the process. We’re curious about the world around us, and we want to go out and explore new places. And this makes life on earth so much more fascinating!

Myself in front of the replica of the Moon God Stele in 2013. Sadly, the basin was stolen in 2015,  and the stele destroyed this year by religious zealots. For many reasons, this photo brings many bittersweet memories.

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