On Beach Walk #64 (Creativity)

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Creativity is a powerful word – so are related words create and creative. These words of similar meaning, but create is the verb, creativity the noun, and creative the adjective – but today I think of these words as a collective.

My first thought is about those creative with their hands – sowers, quilters, crafters, 3-dimensional artists as potters, sculptures, and others. Definitely not my strength, but these are skills that can be learned.

To some, creative people can draw and paint. Whereas some seem to be naturally gifted with this skill, but nope again, not my strength.

I think of an art teacher who once told me that anyone can learn to draw because there are four things to do – draw straight lines, draw curved lines, establish the proper proportions between them along with the correct angles. His words opened the world of drawing to me because I could now see the world through a different lens – a world that I did not know.

Did that improve my creativity? Oh yes, but I still don’t draw well because I didn’t practice, yet, there are times I look at something in terms of straight lines, curves, proportions, and angles – and yes – I see them!

One aspect of creativity is being able to think outside the box. A different way that others don’t. Now that I can do. Some see the solution as choice A, B, or a compromise of the two. The creative thinkers are the ones that find a new solution beyond those choices.

An architect told me that he has to have at least one architect in his office that is creative in his designs. Not necessarily abstract or modernistic looking – but one who finds a creative solution that meets the client’s wants and needs. A skill that not all architects have. But for those who have visited La Sagrada in Barcelona, Spain, Gaudi’s creativity is unique.

Sometimes architects are ahead of their time – but as time moves on, those designs transition into the mainstream. In some cases, even out of date.

Design engineers have to think ahead about future generations of their product. That would be true for a vacuum cleaner – but also for complex equipment as a jet engine. Creativity is an essential ingredient in innovation and improvement.

For scientists as Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, and countless others, they thought outside of the box to develop their laws and theories. In general, physicists have a knack for creative forward thinking.

Trade workers as carpenters and plumbers are always problem solving. They face problems on a daily basis requiring a creative solution – and they seem to do it.

The creativity of musicians is impressive. Mozart’s composed music with many notes that can be too busy for some to hear. Think about how many types, styles, and genres of music humanity has created through the creativity of creative musicians.

Creativity is also a gift for writers and poets. A creativity they share through the novels, short stories, poems, and more.

Let us not forget nature’s creativity. It’s changing shapes and designs to optimize efficiency. The designs in shapes and colors seen in the shells on the beach that I walk. The creative ways different organisms capture food. After all, not all beaks and bills of birds are the same because they are specialized for different purposes. Yes, nature’s creativity at work.

All of us have a creative side – but do we use it? Do we develop it? Do we recognize the creativity of others?

Unlike the beach that I walk, creativity has no boundaries. Nonetheless, I enjoy walking the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: #63 (Mars)

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Good morning. The day is bright. The sky is clear and blue. The only clouds I see are on the distant horizon. Not many hours ago, stars filled the dark sky. Ancient civilizations thought of stars as twinkles attached to a dome that vanished by day, but today we know they are present behind the sky’s blue veil.

Probably everyone has wondered if life is elsewhere in the seemingly vast, endless void we call space. After all, our sun isn’t the only sun in the universe. Earth is located in the sweet spot of our solar system – but with many other suns, other sweet spots exist for life as we know it.

On the other hand, we humans are self-absorbed with ourselves thinking we are the center of everything. Let us not forget that at one time we said the Earth was the center of the universe with everything revolving around us and our planetary home. That was the prevailing thought of the time until new knowledge changed that view – although acceptance took time. Yet, some still embrace this notion.

Yes – today I want to think outside of Earth’s atmosphere. As my feet travel on this soft sandy, I wonder about the surfaces on other planets. Whether looking beyond the wild blue yonder or wondering as we watch the twinkling in the night sky – we wonder.

Although the song is not about this topic, the Moody Blues’ lyrics, “I know you’re out there somewhere” makes me wonder about life elsewhere. Does it exist? If so, is there any commonality with life on Earth? Then again, we could be the only life in the universe, and wondering about space is a gift for being human.

Life as we know it needs food, water, shelter, and something to breathe. Our needs are based on carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, and phosphorous, which are the key substances (but not the only) that compose not only us, but all life forms.

I think about these needs in terms of space travel to a neighboring planet. Venus had water at one time but no longer does. Besides, it’s too hot. Mars is another neighboring planet – and those beyond it are too cold.

Mars – the red planet – a visible star with a reddish tint. Mars – 250 millions miles away – an eight-month journey. The technology to get there exists, and is being further developed. Technology for recycling materials during the journey and on the planet exists.

Technology to use the frozen carbon dioxide of Mars exists – as is protection from the solar radiation. But I wonder: Can the human body endure the journey? Can the human body endure that planet?

Some say the human trip to Mars is inevitable – even by 2040. Others say it’s a dream. Yet, we cannot forget these three important factors: 1) Earth is our most suitable home; 2) Colonizing Mars will not save us from ourselves here; and  3) Exploration is in human DNA.

From our migratory ancestors to early explorers; from the Vikings to European explorers as da Gama, Magellan, Hudson, and others of their time – from visiting the North Pole and the South Pole to climbing Mt. Everest – from diving deep into the sea to landing on the Moon – Yes, humanity wants to explore because humanity wants to know.

While we dream of Earth serving as the home base for that futuristic trip into the sky I see above, let us not forget that we also have the opportunity to appreciate what we have and take care of it.

On this day as I walk the beach, I dream – even fantasize about a possible future. Thinking about Space – the final frontier – “To go where no man has gone before.”

Earth is my home – actually our home. Earth is where we find the flat plains of grain, the rolling hills of green, and the tall mountains with majestic peaks. However, my feet are moving on the fine sand of this coastal community. After all, I like walking the beach for it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: #62 (Food)

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Looking across the water is a reminder that life lives below surface. A large variety of fish, shrimp, clams, oysters, scallops, and more. Of course the listed ones are commonly available food for us to eat. So I wonder, “What’s for dinner?”

Is an ongoing question for you? We ask it, but also laugh about this seemingly eternal question. Although our time at the beach is away from the normal routine of home, “What’s for dinner?” ever looms in our midst. So, why not, I’ll think about food today.

All of us have a variety of likes and dislikes. Some of us are risk takers when it comes to trying different foods, others have a limited menu of preferences. So food: What is it? Why do we need it? When it comes to food, what do living things have in common with each other?

Food – that basic need for all life forms. All the organisms of the sea and the beach need food for the same reasons as people – for nourishment – for the nutrients that either provide energy, act as a building block, or assists in a process. Yes – that’s what carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals are all about.

Food – think of all the cookbooks available – let alone online resources of recipes – all forming a collective of bountiful offerings of culinary delights. Yet, most people limit themselves to a rotation of less than 20 recipes.

Food – Think of the times of our settlers when most ingredients were grown in their own gardens or by other locals. The farmer’s markets of today carry on the tradition of locally grown products, which also seems to carry a greater importance outside North America.

I think of today’s large grocery stores – endless aisles of canned and packaged products that are complete with preservatives, fat, sodium , sugar, and more. Therefore, much of today’s cooking is an act of combining various boxes and cans into a final product.

On the other hand, the food industry today provides fresh fruits and vegetables from throughout the world – a luxury less available during my youth – oranges from South Africa – grapes from Chile – after all, bananas are not grown everywhere.

I think of a time when families ate an evening meal together – and even a more grand meal on Sunday afternoon – whereas today our lives are more on-the-run causing us to yield our food preferences to frozen and packaged products or a wide variety of fast-food establishments.

Today’s life offers many restaurants of a variety of styles and prices without a messy kitchen – well, at least not ours. I find it interesting how cuisines differ not only from country to country, but also from region to region within a country. The fried plate of everything and anything is more common in the US South and the US North. The dishes of northern Italy are different from those of the south.

I think of the abundance of natural food in nature – the corn with its husk but without a label because corn is corn. Let us not forget that corn is a plant – a living thing that also needs food just like we do and for the same reasons. Green plants make their own food by photosynthesis because they can’t catch it or kill it. Animals hunt for food because (and unlike the green plants) they can’t make their own. Whether an organism catches food or makes its own, food’s end result is the same.

Light from the sun is the initial energy source driving photosynthesis, but there are also organisms living in the darkness of the deep sea that can make their own food without the presence of light – but they use the sulfur gases venting into the water from Earth’s core as the energy driving their food production process. Nature’s design is so grand.

It seems food is more complex than many realize, but thinking about food makes me hungry. Besides, it’s lunchtime.  But for now , I continue moving toward the condo because walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: #61 (Beauty)

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

It is beautiful here – so today I wonder about beauty. What is beauty? Why is it different for everyone? Why is beauty in the eyes of the beholder?

We apply beauty to people, places, and things as events, music, arts, architecture, and more. The bottom line: Beauty is a state of pleasure; a specialized level of satisfaction.

For me, I think the most beautiful places I’ve seen. Nā Pali coast on Hawaii’s island of Kauai being the most beautiful uninhabitable place. But where people live, Italy’s Amalfi Coast grabs me with an irresistible force. Through my heritage, the valley setting of Bagni di Lucca on the Serchio River in northern Tuscany touches my heart.

The beauty of events etch a memory forever. Watching a sunset behind the Pacific from a plateau above the sea on Kauai was spectacular. Approaching Venice on a cruise ship, then going through a canal to dock streetside is a memory stuck in my brain. The colors of the sunrise I see here on this coast are inspiring. The tear that rolled down my check when I saw my wife walk down the aisle at our wedding.

Beauty is the peace delivered by a different messenger to different people – maybe a baby’s smile, a gentle touch, the togetherness of family, a ray of sunshine, or even a personal walk on a beach.

Nature’s beauty shows through its seemingly infinite design. Snow-capped mountains, sandy beaches, brilliant flowers, colorful fish, a herd of wild animals on a distant slope of grass – let alone the mathematical brilliance of a Fibonacci pattern or the brilliant geometrical designs seen through electron micrographs or even a spider’s web – or how common life processes are accomplished by a range of organisms from a single cell to plants to the largest animal.

The colors displayed by the Grand Canyon’s rock layers is one thing – but how the sun’s angle changes them throughout the day is inspiringly beautiful.

Although beauty can vary across time and cultures, through nature and behaviors, beauty is also timeless. The beauty of a person’s actions as sincerity, goodness, charitableness, helpfulness, and kindness are just that – timeless and not limited by cultural boundaries – as are the empathetic heart and listening ear.

Beauty is that combination of shape, color, and pattern that we find in art. Certain pieces and styles move a person – they stir the soul – but to others, their teeth hurt because their tastes and preferences differ. They see beauty elsewhere.

We can hear beauty. From the babbling stream, to the roaring water of a grand waterfall, to the calming waters of a walk on the beach, or a walk in a serene meadow. The physical beauty and natural sounds can capture the soul.

We hear the beauty of words. Some inspire, while others honor. Some words transform us, while others deliver peace and comfort through the right place at the right time.

The beauty of music can transport us to another place. Rachmaninoff delivers love while  Copeland brings pride through instrumental compositions. Many others do it through their voice that sings the beauty of the lyricist’s phrases.

I look across humanity to see many physical beauties: the glow of Nordic beauty – the exoticness of Middle Eastern beauty – the sensuality of Mediterranean beauty – the kindness in Oriental beauty – the steely and mysterious nature of Eastern European beauty – the regal confidence of African beauty – the uniqueness of Indian beauty that perhaps comes from cultural blending through genetics over many years.

Beauty is something we can see in cultures – through dress, customs, language, and actions. Each of our cultures do something for ourselves, while other cultures may be different, one can find beauty there.

Beauty is not limited to the eyes and ears. Aromas from the kitchen ignite a bountiful of beautiful thoughts and memories. We notice the beauty when our fingers pass over the smooth surface of a fine sculpture or the soft skin of our lover.

Let us not forget the beauty beach shells provide as I walk. From the physical designs to the combination of colors – from the small to the large – the smooth to the ridged. There is beauty in those shells for those taking time to look.

Yes, each of us determine beauty through our own lens. More importantly, life is full of beauty for those who not only take time to look and listen – but also to engage all the senses.

This beach is a beautiful place providing a collection of various beauties. Thinking about beauty is a reason I like walking the beach, which is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: #60 (Havens)

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

My time on the Alabama coast is not only time away from the multiple blasts of winter, it’s also my time away from the regular routines of daily life at home. A respite from the normal. A time as my alter ego. Sort of a haven – so I wonder about havens.

I grew up near a New Haven, visited another to see Yale University. Even spent a series of days in Grand Haven. The latter that seems to best resemble the meaning of today’s keyword.

Haven – a place of safety – a refuge – a retreat, shelter, or sanctuary – a harbor, oasis, or sanctum.

To some, a library is a haven. Those repositories of information that can bring alive the past or fantasies. The place where one can grow in knowledge. The community resource space that is for everybody. Thinking of all the information available in a college library is a profound thought on its own. Maybe that’s why I stand in awe of the information while within a college library.

To others, home is their haven. A place where they feel the love and safety of family. Home – the place possibly symbolizing the most memories of life. Both leaving home and coming home stir emotions. Home is definitely a haven – but not for everyone.

Havens can be a place to remove oneself from the regular world – a quiet space as a park, a church, a meadow, a library, a beach, or even a room within one’s home. It can be sitting on the ground, leaning against a tree, relaxing on a deck, or reading in your favorite chair.

Havens are a place one relieves stress by seeking tones of harmony and peace. That place away from the negative energies of the world. That place of no anger, no pain, no discord, and no irritation. Havens are a place of content.

Havens are a chance to close one’s eyes to the world, but not sleep. A chance to enjoy the solitude – to decompress – to reflect – to wrap themselves in thoughts of comfort.

Havens can involve an action – reading, writing, listening to music, creating a craft, gardening, meditating, practicing yoga, sitting, sipping tea, and yes – even walking the beach. Some find their haven when running or during other forms of exercise – so havens are personal.

My winter time at the beach is one of my personal havens. I spend much of my time walking and thinking, listening to podcasts, and writing. I see others who find a haven in many hours of fishing. Some sit to talk with others. Some just sit in the chair feeling the warm breezes that deliver comfort to their soul as time passes while seeming to stand still. They may daydream or even fall asleep.

Listening to the sounds of nature is a haven – the sounds of natural silence that are void of the hustle and bustle of daily life. No passing cars or honking horns. Just the sounds of the surf to soothe the soul.

I walk because I get restless sitting. Reading in the bright of day is not easy for me.

I want to use the salty air, the tides, the sun, the clouds, the breezes, the sand, the sounds, and the water to serve as the grains falling in the hourglass of time. This is one of my havens – and walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: #59 (Sunsets)

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Although the sun is high as I walk toward the west, the sun will set in a few hours.

Personally, I favor sunrises over sunsets – an event that only we early birds see. Whereas the sunrise appears as the faint music we hear arising from the quiet that continues crescendoing until its midday peak, the sunset is the corresponding decrescendo that fades away into the silence of the night.

Sunrise is a time when we patiently watch the sun without squinting – without worry of harm – a time when we are taken by its peacefulness and feeling of comfort.

However, now I wonder: Will today’s sunset be brilliant? Time will tell, so now I think of the time of day that captures many hearts – sunsets.

Sunset is a time when blues, pinks, yellows, and oranges paint a beautiful picture that is also unique. A time when colors depend on the presence of particles, water droplets, and just enough clouds in the sky to display the day’s final brilliance.

Sunset is a time when the shadows are long and point to the east – but they will soon disappear into the dark – very soon.

Sunset is a combination of fascination and melancholy that says goodbye to the day, then hello to a new evening.

Sunsets mark the end of the day and the beginning of a time to rest. But for the night owls, the day is young as they will embrace the dark.

Sunsets over the water our sensual as we watch the lowering sun softly and slowly kiss the sea. The sun appears as a candle drip that disappears while leaving a brilliant light in the west while darkness is engulfing the sky from the east.

Sunsets symbolize the end of one’s life. Starting at the birth of sunrise, our life is the sun’s arc across the sky. A life full of ups and downs – happiness and sadness – successes and failures – a journey when we interacting with many – even influencing some. As our sun disappears, our memories live on in those who remain – yet in time, most of us will be forgotten – simply fading away as the sun that never rises again.

The sun is gone, but the bright sky of dusk remains as a distant bonfire celebrating the passing day that is now a memory.

While the sunset is full of wonder, mystery, and symbolism, I will watch today’s sunset with a renewed sense of its meaning – all because I like walking the beach for it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: #58 (Quiet)

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Today I think about quiet – that calming word signifying no sound. Quiet – a time and place that questionably exists. Quiet – when there seems to be little noise, action, or activity – a time of still – an important personal time – They are all quiet.

The sea’s roar is not quiet – yet it can be the white noise for solitude. The sea is never quiet –  never still – but it can be a quiet for calming the mind. The wind whistling by my ears and the waves clapping as they wash ashore – yet, I can hear the popping of small bubbles on my feet, Yes –  walking on the beach can be a place of quiet for listening to nature and for quieting the mind.

Our mind is seemingly never quiet. It may be removed from one’s regular routine, but thoughts continuously race – and frequently bouncing between subjects, which is far from quiet. Sometimes when I walk the beach, my mind is like the perpetual activity of the sea.

Quiet is like an open meadow or standing on a mountain top overlooking serenity – but it is not void of sound – yet the mind may slow down to enjoy the relative quiet of the moment.

Life today is not only like a perpetual motion machine, it seems to be going faster and faster – yet quiet is an important mental health club – a time, a place where one can enjoy the spirit of reflection, imagination, or just rest.

Quiet is a reason some meditate or practice yoga. Others find quiet while jogging or riding a bicycle. Others find it in music, reading, or sitting by a crackling fire.

Quiet is being on the road that goes nowhere – a time away from the noise of life.

The roar of the waves can resemble societal noise. From the rambling anger and tremors of political pundits trading political soundbites over seeking meaningful solutions to real problems to the mountains that are really mole hills, they are far from quiet.

The news focuses on negative events of the day is far from quiet – therefore, mirroring the sounds of busy traffic.

The roaring waves resemble the roundtable discussion where being heard is more important than listening. It is in quiet that we learn to listen to ourselves and ponder what others have said.

The roar of the waves is the metaphor for now. Think of the immediacy of voice mail, call waiting, call forwarding, texting, email, and other modern technologies. It is on of these beach walks that I typically go without my phone – a respite from the immediacy of today’s world.

The sounds of the beach serve as a white noise. While my walk is absent of crowds, the active water delivers an inner stillness to the mind and soul – a time when the mind can both relax and focus – yes – a time of quiet. A time of solitude. A time of resting the mind. Even a time for focusing the mind.

Quiet is a time or a place where one finds peace and tranquility. Away from daylight’s activity, the quiet of night provides twinkling moments of reverence under the sparkles of the stars and the glistening moon.

Quiet is a place for the still without noise or voices – yet also the muted, the faint, indistinct, the inaudible, or the whispered.

While cruising in Alaska, I remember with its night still being like dusk, seeing the outlines of the mountains that were dark shadows with only a very rare sighting of an electric light. That’s also quiet.

I also recall one morning when cruising the Danube. All alone on the top deck, I could hear the splashes of water as the ship moved as well as the constant breeze – yet it was quiet enough to hear the morning birds in the distance. That’s also quiet.

I enjoy walking into a church where I am alone – that quiet sense of awe and wonder. Libraries are another place of reverence with a hush driven by the power of the knowledge found in the printed words that are bounded by covers.

Quiet – hush, still, faint, peace, tranquility, reverence, pleasant, soothing, restful – Not only are all quiet, quiet is a reason I like walking the beach. After all, walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.