Sand is a time capsule. Every grain tells a story. Sand can be anything that’s been worn down until it’s reduced to some tiny essential fragment of what it once was. It’s a technical term. Bigger than sand? That’s gravel. Smaller? Silt. Go to beaches across the world and you find sand that looks completely different. If you could take a single grain of sand from every beach you would have a history of the world pinched between two fingers. A hundred years ago, a pebble chipped off a slab of granite in the Sierra mountains. It was dragged by the current of the Sacramento River through the Delta, out the Golden Gate and onto the beaches of San Francisco. Sometimes, sand is a graveyard, full of dead bodies. This is the shell of a tiny foram, a single celled organism whose skeletons litter the bottom of the ocean. This sand? Almost entirely coral. This one, shards of lava from a Hawaiian volcano. This tiny nugget of quartz tumbled down the waterways of Appalachia, all the way to the beaches of Florida. By the time it got there, it had worn down to the consistency of sugar. Time takes a big thing, and makes it small. But sometimes the opposite can happen. Behold, ooid. The only sand that accretes rather than erodes. Think snowball effect. A tiny speck of brine shrimp poop is tossed and turned on the ocean floor accumulating minerals like calcium, until it’s a grain of sand the size of a pin tip. Sand is a snapshot in time, a stopping point between the very big and the very small, the landlocked, and the oceanic.