On a Beach Walk: No. 14

Embed from Getty Images

I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

The vast water is the sea of knowledge – and the water seems unlimited. There is so much to know. Identifying the shells on the beach would be an accomplishment in itself – but a small one in a relative sense. Meanwhile, the body of knowledge continues to grow.

I think of Leonardo da Vinci who was remorseful in the final days of his life because there was so much more to learn that he didn’t know. In light of his accomplishments, what I know in today’s world seems so small.

The internet brings knowledge closer to us while phones have placed that knowledge at are fingertips and made it portable. I walk on a beach that is a world without wires, yet knowledge is a fingertip away in my pocket.

Today knowledge grows at an accelerated rate while technology changes even faster. I can’t imagine a life today of someone who has never embraced computers – let alone smartphones. That could be like a person trying to operate a sailboat in the deep waters without any sight of land and without prior knowledge of what to do.

That means no understanding of basic computer operations. No concept of entry and response. No clue of open, new, create, save, and retrieve. No idea of how information gets onto the cyber highway. No notion of seeking information that is fingertips away. No sense of determining the validity of information. A sense of being lost while staring over the vast water.

For those of us with knowledge of modern technology, technology changes – and as technology changes, we must also change – a change that must involve unlearning the old way and learning the new.

Water is a metaphor for changing technology. Change is trying to navigate in the raging waters of a storm while hoping for the status quo of calm waters. Change is also the calm water going across my feet – it’s continuous, expected, and always new – never the same as currents keep water moving.

In today’s fast-paced technological world, learning begins with unlearning – abandoning the way one knows. Unlearning to let the new way lead the way. Forgetting what was to let the new lead the way. Yes, old habits are hard to break, plus we have a tendency to protect ourselves from outward self-criticism. Nonetheless, unlearning is more important today than ever.

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. (Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, 1970)

Although a fast-paced technological world surrounds us, I am thankful for technology …. and I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Advertisements

On a Beach Walk: No. 13

Embed from Getty Images

I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

The vast water is the sea of knowledge – everything humankind knows. So many topics – each with width and depth. Not separate silos because topics intersect with multiple related topics.

Although the water have a degree of consistency over the millions of years, our knowledge has greatly grown since the European Renaissance – a time in history marking a rebirth in knowledge and art – a time for scholars, new ideas, and new discoveries as the scientific age was born.

Time as demonstrated that knowledge builds on itself. In reality, science builds information on previously known information. Although the Greeks proposed the idea of matter being composed of unseen particles, evidence for the atom is relatively new. From John Dalton’s proposed atomic theory in the 1820s, scientists have built evidence-based information about the atom with great detail.

Next came the atom’s positive and negative charges in the late 1800s-early 1900s; followed by the identification of protons and electrons. Neutrons were discovered until 1932. In the early 1960s, evidence about the existence of smaller particles known as quarks and their associated forces developed. Through all of this, the atom remains as the foundational structure of matter.

As I look at the sea, I’m reminded of how little I know and how much there is to learn – but the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. The sea of knowledge seems endless.

While knowledge is good for the mind, it can also wreaks havoc on the soul. Nonetheless,I like to walk the beach for it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 12

Embed from Getty Images

I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

I think about a continuum of thought – one that I’ve encountered countless times over 8 years of personal study and reflections. A continuum containing a diversity of ideas, including the antagonistic polar opposites who only see their way – a way of being one of us or one of them – a shallow continuum of two.

I know where I lie on this continuum of thought, but not at either polarized end. Not only do I know my position between the continuum’s poles, I also know that there are others like me here. Interestingly those at the ends can’t justify our existence.

I see the antagonistic groups as the Blackhearts and the Righteous. Each acting as hooligans as they shout at each other and intimidate others. I see many others who wander as if they are lost because they don’t know. I invite them to have a seat to listen, but polar opposites are preying on the wanderers by saying they have to make a choice, which is really a forced choice. I try to provide a different perspective, but either the hooligans are too loud or the wanderers are either confused or won’t listen.

Some may be thinking I’m referencing Democrats and Republicans, but I am not because that’s too painful – perhaps another day. Today my thoughts are about the interchange of science and religion – an arena where the antagonistic foes force choices upon others – especially the vulnerable and the unknowing.

I am not vulnerable. I am not unknowing. I have a place and I can respectfully and confidently take while understanding the others. I also take my place knowing the difference between right/wrong and agree/disagree.

Finally I get someone to listen. They ask questions as if they don’t hear the shouting because they want to know where they belong. They want confirmation of something they wondered, but never heard.

The continuum is a lot to ponder as I walk – but I like to walk the beach for it is food for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 11

I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Ahead of me stands a Great Blue Heron – standing still and staring out to sea. Sometimes on the dry sand away from the constant waves. Other times at the water’s edge as water laps over the talons.

No matter where, the heron stares. Not pondering the meaning of life. Not reflecting on life, friends, or children. Undoubtedly working to find the next meal – so the heron patiently stands and stares.

The heron is watching for a struggling fish or crustacean in the shallow water. Standing with its neck coiled and a sharp beak – and together they serve as a sharp dagger action of a harpoon. When the heron walks, it does so slow as it doesn’t want to alarm its prey. But the heron is most commonly seen standing and staring – and all alone.

Some days the heron allows me to walk relatively close, while slowing stepping away. Other times as I approach, the heron flies ahead to a new spot – only to be disrupted as I again approach his new domain. The pattern repeats before the heron flies away to find a new spot to stand and stare all alone.

Some days I see the heron from afar – standing and staring all alone – and no humans nearby. Other times the heron patiently stands and stares at the sea, but with a fisherman – for the heron knows the likely source of the next meal and a possible feast for the day. Now that’s one smart bird.

The fisherman stands to tend the pole that appears to have a fish on the line – this heightens the heron’s attention. The fisherman walks away with his catch – but the heron follows. After freeing the fish from the hook, the fisherman tosses his unwanted fish toward the heron – who slowly approaches, then quickly uncoils its adaptive neck and beak to spear its prey – then swallows it whole.

The heron using its adaptations to survive and eventually produce other Great Blue Herons so the tradition continues over time. After all, the heron is design for a specific role in nature – just like all other living things in the nature that surrounds us.

We live in a self-maintaining wonderful creation that is a mere speck in the grand universe. There is so much to ponder as I walk the beach – a walk that is good for the mind and soul as water refreshes my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 10

Embed from Getty Images

I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

I prefer walking close to the water where the sand is smooth and tightly packed. Moving is much easier here than in the loose, dry sand away from the water or in the quicksand like sludge near the water where each step is a forceful slog.

While I walk the grains of sands cleanse my soles of loose skin. I see all that sand ahead and for who knows how far down and out to sea. All that sand here on this coast – and along many coast around this gulf – but also along the waters across the globe … and the sands of the deserts, too – oh my my – so much sand.

All those grains of sand moving through the hourglass of time that serves as a metaphor for the constantly changing beach. Each wave washing ashore slightly alters the landscape. So does the water through its moving tides. So do the winds of the day or a storm. Let alone the wind and water of hurricanes and typhoons that alter the land. The sand I see is it’s own great hourglass of time.

All that sand – those abrasive grains of silicon dioxide from many years of erosion. The gains that differ in size from beach to beach. The grains containing bits of shells, corals, and different rocks joining together to form its own palate of colors. Not only from white to grays to browns but also reds, blacks, greens, pinks, and oranges. These are the sands that refresh the feet of the world.

All that sand – the sand that is also the hardened material of sandstone – a rock found in the hills of the town of my youth. A town along the outside bend of a river with rocks along its banks as the sand collected on the opposite shore along the inner banks of the river’s big bend.

All that sand – sand as the foundation of concrete, mortar, and glass. Sand, the preference of plants desiring dryness delivered by sand’s porosity. Sand for cleaning, polishing, and filtering in both natural and human processes. The same sand that cleanse my soles as I walk.

All that sand – the constantly moving grains of time that scrub my soul as my mind thinks to make connections of a great creation – which are thoughts that cleanse my soul as the water refreshes my feet.

‘]After many days of walking the beach, my feet have a sense of renewal along with a sight tenderness resembling a light fire – but those soles are not red for they are refreshed – yet my mind and soul are also fresh and relaxed – which is why I like walking on the beach for it is good for the mind and soul while refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 9

Embed from Getty Images

I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

The water is vast as far as the eyes can see. From the shallowest depths where the waters begin their retreat from the shore to the deepest of the deep – the depths of those vast waters are not uniform.

These waters contain much information about things we know – the living creatures and their interactions with each other and with the materials comprising the floor and the waters above. The shipwrecks tell stories about human life of days gone by.

The vast water is also the home to tales and fables. Those encounters with serpents and mermaids – a home of the gods and more – all spun from human imagination or ancient beliefs, some which live on today.

That vast water is an analogy for another seemingly endless landscape – the sea of information and connection of our daily lives known the Web – the internet. Just as the waters brings information to the shores for us to see, the internet brings knowledge to our fingertips for quick retrieval.

Just like the vast water of the seas, the internet hold tales and fables in the form of inaccuracies and half-truths that should be shifted and when found. We should not be like an unassuming fish grabbing any fisherman’s hook in their quest for food. That would be foolish – but many people do.

As I walk my mind suddenly shifts back to the vastness of the sea with its waves rolling ashore and across my feet. Unlike the internet, these waters remain a source for the unknown – the yet to be discovered life forms – the yet to be found treasures – the unknown that will be tomorrow’s known so it can have a place on the sea of information.

As I walk on the sand, the waters to my side are vast with information. At least for me, this is an interesting analogy as I walk the beach while refreshing my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 8

I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

As I walk a vast mass of water is 180 degrees to my side – a mass of water with its currents moving it ashore and beyond. The moving water that splashes and refreshes my feet.

I think of water moving in its cycle. Where has that drop on my knee been? Who has it touched? Did it touch a television or movie star? A world leader? A historic figure? Perhaps da Vinci, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, or Confucius? A farmer, carpenter, librarian, artist, fisherman, musician, or business leader? Or even Lucy the early hominid, Lucille Ball, or Kenny Rogers.

I think of ancient people during ancient times who were unaware of water’s cyclic ways. No wonder they saw the sky as a solid dome separating the waters from above and below. No wonder they saw rain as something that came down from their god above.

Water – so much of it – so many uses – so vital for life – no wonder it is a powerful metaphor. There is much to wonder about water, but now I will settle on allowing my mind to wonder as water refreshes my feet.