During a leisurely stroll along the beach, Smith sees a man drawing pictures in the sand. The pictures are obviously Picasso’s work, and, thus, Smith meets the artist face to face. Realizing that the only way to preserve this particular masterpiece is by committing it to memory, Smith walks back and forth along the sand drawings, memorizing every detail. When the sun has gone down and Smith can see no longer, he returns to the mundane routine of his everyday life, yet the thought of the incoming tide dominates his every thought.
The title for this story is a line from Wordsworth’s well-known ode, “Intimations of Immortality,” in which he uses water imagery to describe the concept of immortality. In Bradbury’s story, water is also associated with immortality. Although Picasso’s sand drawings are destroyed by the incoming tide, his art work lives on in the heart and mind of George Smith.