Traveling through the primal lands of Western Australia where I didn’t expect to find much except desolation, I strangely came upon a site which linked directly to the title of this blog. The Shifting Sands themselves – in a pristine white, so soft to the touch. Their charm was enhanced against the backdrop of a beautiful Australian sky – stark blue streaked with a dreamy white. The wind softly carried the sand, just enough to keep the edges of the sand dunes blurry and illusive.
In short, the scene depicted much that formed the basis of the blog when I started writing it. I have always struggled with consistency. Having moved around through most of my conscious life, I have never come to terms with the idea of permanence and roots. My own thoughts keep going through a shift; that is the only way I have been able to keep step with the ground moving beneath my feet – through a constant reassessment and re-orientation. And while the sand collects and forms the ground on which I walk, it constantly keeps blowing away too. Every book I read or a thoughtful movie I watch, is like a wind which gently moves me to a different idea. I am sure that if I look back a few years, I will find that that the landscape was completely different even though the sand remains the same. (A futile exercise, for who has the memory to trace the movements of sand dunes)
There have been times when I have been put in a witness box to confront my inconsistencies, and I have sometimes been ashamed of the duplicity of my own thoughts. It took me some time to recognise that the person who professed the different ideas differed in time and in experience and it is regressive to expect them to have the same thought.
So this was the original idea of this blog (or at least this is the memory of the idea that I carry now) – to recognise the drift and keep a vague map of where the new wind directions are coming from – perhaps I will identify some of those drafts if I could look back at them documented here.
The term itself: I encountered the term Shifting Sands first in the title of a book by Dominique Varma – a book that I thoroughly enjoyed for its exploration of blurry memories and of landscapes across Paris, Rajasthan and a Nazi concentration camp. The book didn’t do too well and has been out of print for a while. Writing this post today makes me want to dig back into my collection back home and read the book again to test if I will still like it as much or has its intrigue been blown away on the shifting sands.