Watching Our Water Ways

Environmental reporter Christopher Dunagan discusses the challenges of protecting Puget Sound and all things water-related.
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Amusing Monday: Delving into a grain of sand

July 18th, 2011 by cdunagan

Sand is widespread on beaches throughout the world. But if you get the chance to look really, really close, you are likely to see colorful rocks, bits of shell and other natural and man-made materials.

Every grain of sand is virtually unique, but when similar types come together, we find ourselves walking on beaches that vary from a finely ground silt to pebbles that are easily seen. You will see stretches of coast that can appear white, red, green or black.

Gary Greenberg has been taking pictures of sand and has compiled his best photographs into a book called “A Grain of Sand: Nature’s Secret Wonder.” I like what has done on its website, offering a glimpse of Greenberg’s photos, telling us where the sand was found and describing the types of particles depicted.

Greenberg’s books — including a new children’s book, “Mary’s Magic Microscope” — are displayed on his website

Taking microscopic art a step further, micro sculptor Willard Wigan transforms grains of sand, bits of dust and hairs from insects to produce amazingly small sculptures that can bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars. You may have already seen his amazing story told on various television shows, including the video shown here from the Wall Street Journal. You can view Wigan’s online gallery of more than 50 tiny sculptures on the artist’s website.

His personal story, also told on the website, talks about overcoming obstacles:

“It began when I was five years old. I started making houses for ants because I thought they needed somewhere to live. Then I made them shoes and hats. It was a fantasy world I escaped to where my dyslexia didn’t hold me back and my teachers couldn’t criticize me. That’s how my career as a micro-sculptor began.”

Wigan, who cannot read or write, found another way to express himself. In an interview with Nick Watts of ABC News, Wigans noted:

“The teachers at school made me feel small. They made me feel like nothing. I’m trying to prove to the world that nothing doesn’t exist.”

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One Response to “Amusing Monday: Delving into a grain of sand”

  1. Mike Sato Says:

    William Blake – Auguries of Innocence

    To see a world in a grain of sand,
    And a heaven in a wild flower,
    Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
    And eternity in an hour….

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"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."Baba Dioum, Senegalese conservationist