It's a sundial.
Rudimentary, I admit.
But a working sundial nonetheless.
You have to know which way is north first. That is the twelve o'clock mark.
Then you stand a stick up in the sand just below it. Draw a circle and mark the three, six, and nine o'clock marks.
As the sun moves, the shadow moves and you can tell what time it is.
Yes, it was about two thirty when I made it. The kids were floored that the time was so accurate. (It always seems to amaze them that I know stuff. =D)
The conversation that started this was between me and the two other (thirtysomething) moms who drove the dozen kids we had between us, to the beach today. And I mentioned that when I was a teenager, we never wore watches to the beach, but we had to know what time to leave because we had to take a bus home. Hence, the sundial.
The two Thirtysomethings also stared at my sundial in wide-eyed rapt amazement (or maybe it was just that they had never actually met anyone who had ever taken a bus that threw them into a catatonic state). I'm sure they were thinking, "Barbarians! Weren't there any clocks in the seventies??" But they were much too polite to say anything. I decided to skip the tales of using Johnson's Baby Oil in order to
burn tan faster. Of course, the ozone layer was still pretty much intact then, but still...
All that to say that going to the beach absolutely brings the kid out in me like nothing else. The smell of Coppertone, the sound of the crashing waves, the feel of sand in my toes. I immediately lose myself in the moment. I drop my stuff and run into the water. None of this slow-wading-toe-dipping stuff for me. And I let out a whoop! as I come up through the first wave. The Thirtysomethings are staring in disbelief now, jaws having dropped all the way to the sand. The kids are all laughing and high-fiving me. "Go, Mrs Darby!"
And just for the moment, thirty-five years have disappeared.
Who says time travel isn't possible? =D