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Tesie's Garden

Lessons from Childhood Fears

The Myth and Reality of Quicksand

Growing up, many of us were captivated by the dramatic scenarios depicted in cartoons and adventure shows. One recurring theme was the ever-terrifying quicksand. Characters would wander into the wilderness, only to find themselves sinking into a treacherous pit of sand, struggling to escape. For a child with a vivid imagination, this was the stuff of nightmares.

I remember my own brush with the legend of quicksand vividly. My grandmother, always one for a good story, warned me not to wander too far into the woods near her house. “Those woods are filled with quicksand,” she would say, her eyes wide with mock fear. The message was clear: stay close, stay safe. For years, I believed her, carefully avoiding the dense forest, convinced that one misstep would have me swallowed whole by the earth.

As I grew older, I realized that my grandmother’s tale was just that – a tale. The woods weren’t teeming with hidden quicksand traps; she had simply used the fear of the unknown to keep an adventurous child close to home. It was a classic parental tactic, blending caution with a hint of playful exaggeration.

Fast forward to the present, and the recent news of a woman sinking into quicksand at Popham Beach State Park in Maine brought those childhood fears rushing back. Jamie Acord found herself unexpectedly hip-deep in a pocket of supersaturated sand, startling her and prompting immediate action from her husband. Her story is a reminder that quicksand, while rare, is still a natural phenomenon that can surprise even the most cautious among us​​​​​​.

However, the reality of quicksand is far less dramatic than what cartoons led us to believe. Experts assure us that people do not fully sink in quicksand because it is denser than the human body, allowing for buoyancy. With calm and deliberate movements, one can usually free themselves from these sandy snares​​​​.

So, what can we learn from this blend of myth and reality?

Firstly, it’s important to recognize the power of stories in shaping our perceptions and behaviors. My grandmother’s tale of quicksand was a tool to instill caution and keep me safe. Similarly, the exaggerated portrayals in media serve to entertain and occasionally to teach lessons about vigilance and the unexpected dangers of the natural world.

Secondly, this story highlights the importance of staying informed and prepared. Jamie Acord’s experience at Popham Beach underscores the value of awareness and knowledge. Understanding that quicksand is not as deadly as depicted can alleviate fear and help us respond more effectively if we encounter it. The new warning signs at the beach serve as a practical measure to ensure that visitors are informed and can enjoy their time safely.

Lastly, and perhaps most profoundly, this tale of quicksand teaches us about the nature of fear and the human capacity for resilience. As children, our fears are often magnified by imagination and lack of experience. As adults, we learn to navigate those fears with knowledge and composure. The quicksand of our childhood might have been an exaggerated danger, but it symbolizes all the unknowns we face in life. By educating ourselves and maintaining calm, we can overcome these challenges, much like Jamie did when her husband helped her out of the sand.

In our lives, we constantly face situations that require us to let go of unfounded fears and embrace reality with a clear mind. Just as my grandmother’s woods were not filled with quicksand, many of the obstacles we fear are not as insurmountable as they seem. By shedding the exaggerated fears of our youth and arming ourselves with knowledge, we can navigate life’s challenges with greater confidence and ease.

So, the next time you hear a story that stirs up old fears, take a moment to separate myth from reality. Embrace the lessons those fears taught you, but don’t let them limit your experiences. Just as we prune our gardens to promote healthy growth, we can trim away the unfounded fears that no longer serve us, making room for new, positive growth in our lives.

With love and light, Tesie Mills


  1. Maine Public. “State will post signs about quicksand at Popham Beach after woman sinks in up to her hips.” Retrieved from Maine Public.
  2. Press Herald. “Quicksand startles woman who suddenly sinks hip deep at Popham Beach.” Retrieved from Press Herald.
  3. Boston 25 News. “Woman gets trapped in quicksand while walking on popular Maine beach.” Retrieved from Boston 25 News.
  4. DNyuz. “Woman Survives Quicksand Mishap on Popular Maine Beach.” Retrieved from DNyuz.
  5. 960 The Ref. “Woman gets trapped in quicksand while walking on popular Maine beach.” Retrieved from 960 The Ref.
Hi, I’m Tesie Mills