States of Becoming Sand, 2016, periwinkle shells, thread, and found pillow case

There is a beach along the cliffs at Howth (Dublin, Ireland) where smooth pebbles, sea glass, and shells accumulate. From 2015-16, I began collecting these shells and broken shell parts, because they stood out so starkly against the darker, more colorful bits of beach.

In  “For the Time Being,” Annie Dillard meditates on the natural world, human suffering, and the tension between the individual and the universe.

Throughout the book, she deconstructs  ten subjects, one of which is “Sand.” She tells the natural history of sand, the process of it’s formation, how rock is worn down by wind and water, how sand is transformed by tremendous pressure into more rock. Sand travels thousands of miles. It accumulates. Everything becomes sand.