On a Beach Walk: No. 31

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

The sand is always shifting. The beachhead is different every day due to continual waves and changing tides.

Daily winds easily move the dry sand from place to place. The moving grains of sand stings my legs during gusts or very windy days. The city places old Christmas trees from residents by the dunes to catch moving sand and build the dune. On the other hand, violent storms as hurricanes easily reconfigure the landscape.

Shifting sand is a metaphor for change. Oh, how life has changed during my 65 years. Thinking about the change those in their 90s have seen is mind boggling – after all;

I remember the rooftop antenna delivering 3 television stations to our black and white TV.

I remember picking up the phone, dialing zero to tell the operator the number I wanted to call.

I remember party lines – although we didn’t have one.

I remember the excitement of the first TV dinner that was either baked chicken or Salisbury Steak that had to heated in the oven.

I remember cooking popcorn on the stove with heated oil in a large pot was the primary option.. Jiffy Pop was a big deal!

I remember frequently playing with many neighborhood friends outside.

I remember Charlie – the milkman delivering milk to our house.

I remember stores in small towns like mine had vibrant downtowns providing everything that people needed.

I remember going to the movie theater, which showed a cartoon before the featured film.

I remember our town’s 6-lane bowling alley using a person to set the pins before the age of automatic equipment.

I remember using a slide rule in high school and college.

The sand is soft and the water is refreshing, but change isn’t easy. People and organizations fight change, but change happens out of necessity. We can’t return to the life of what was in whatever year one selects because those days are not only gone – but won’t be returning! – and to think that technological change is happening faster than ever.

It is not easy to imagine life 15 years from now. If I’m lucky, I’ll see it as an 80 year old. What will my nephews and nieces see when they are my current 65? If humans can figure out how to get along, it could be a wonderful world.

Change is good, but somethings do not need to be replaced, such as walking the beach being good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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On a Beach Walk: No. 30

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

I look out over the water thinking about my life – especially my mortality. At age 65, my life is more than half over. Probably considerably more. Will this be my last year visiting this beach or will I have 20 more visits? I don’t know. None of us know – but only time will tell.

I ponder about the future of my life in a realistic way: future travels, future health, future concerns, future thrills, and more.

I wonder who will take care of us when we are elderly (assuming we need it). We have no kids. Each of us have one younger sibling that provided us with two nieces and two nephews. We certainly can’t see any of them stepping in – especially because they may have their parents to watch over.

I don’t worry about what would my wife do if I passed away first. She’s strong and will figure out what is best for her.

I occasionally wonder about what I would do if her life ended before mine. Would I stay in the area or move? Would I spend more time in Italy to engage my Italian roots? Would I enter a new relationship? I wonder about accepting someone’s baggage so late in life and them accepting mine.

Given my life’s ups and downs, I wonder who would attend my funeral. Then again, a time will come when I’m no longer a thought to anyone – and that’s OK.

I wonder about everlasting life. Yes, I believe in God – but I don’t worry about what if that leads to nowhere. After all, what is there to lose?

Given the ups and downs in my life, I wonder who will attend my funeral. Then again, the time will come when I’m no longer a thought to anyone still alive – and that’s OK.

Even though life has many ups and downs with a future that is unknown, walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On Beach Walk: No. 29

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

I look down watching the water move across my feet. It’s there – then it’s gone. In time the water returns, and then I start thinking about time.

The water of the sea has a schedule as predictable tidal movements, therefore announced for any given day; but as a snowbird, time is seldom an issue. Wake-up alarms aren’t necessary. Regular, required attendance items are off our calendar.

Time is steady – as is walking, but waves interrupt walking, but not time because time can’t be interrupted.

Time is a rate or a tempo – just like the rhythm of the sea with its waves washing ashore and caressing my feet.

Time is the past, present, and future – but I walk and think now, write later, and post later than that.

Time has come, gone, and yet to come – Just like the water, yet I chronicle specific moments as now.

Time seemingly runs free – just like the waves and the wind – just like my mind can be when it is free from obstructions – but nothing obstructs time.

Time is constantly moving and won’t stop for anytime, yet many of us try to manage it – but as we snowbirds try to free ourselves from the clock as much as possible – ahhhhhhhh – freedom.

Time is continuous – yet in intervals in some cases – but time also serves an opportunistic moment.

Time is indicated by a clock or a calendar – yet as a snowbird, I don’t worry about time but note it as a sunrise, sunset, low tide, and high tide.

Time is something that we look back it wondering about choices we’ve made – the good and the bad. Oh the power of reflections – but as a snowbird, we embrace the reflections in the water.

Time is a moment, a beginning, and an end – each determined by the situation – yet various landmarks serve as time and distance markers for us when we walk.

Time is something we waste, keep, lose, give, fight, dread, and look forward to – but during these days I try to embrace it by letting it do what time does.

Time is something that all of us try to understand – but one thing is certain – walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On Beach Walk: No. 28

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

Because music has been part of my life for many years, I think about the many musical instruments – let alone adding voices to the mix.

I think of the many instruments – brass, strings, woodwinds, percussion, and keyboards.

I think of all the instruments that are variations on a theme – as instruments causing vibrations so the air can transmit their designated tones to our ears.

I think of the vibrations caused by striking, plucking, picking, strumming, bowing, vibrating reeds, fingers and hands changing the length of columns of air, or influencing vibrating strings of different lengths, diameters, and composition – many times followed by boxes collecting the waves to distribute its resonated result into the air for transmission.

I think of all the unique instruments of global cultures – most of which are variations of other instruments found elsewhere – yet deliver something unique.

I think of a guitar – six strings of different diameters with the player’s fingers changing the length of each string to create the notes – unique vibration of air at different frequencies that nobody can initially hear.

I think about the created vibrations transferring into the guitar’s body where it resonates before exiting through a large opening. Along with string’s material, the body’s shape, type of wood, and it thickness are factors determining the final outcome that we initially cannot hear.

I think about the outer ear collecting the sound waves then the inner ear converts them into nerve messages. These are the messages that nerves transmit to the brain for interpretation – Now we hear the music.

Even without words, music speaks to each of us as it engages our soul, stimulates our minds, moves our imagination, and sparks different emotions.

One could say that music is magical – just like walking the beach that is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On Beach Walk: No. 27

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I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me – like food or water.” (Ray Charles, musician)

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

The sound of the surf fosters many descriptors as magical, soothing, refreshing, healing, and many more. For those hearing one of nature’s symphonies, musical another descriptor.

I think about music, but music is much more than we think.

I think about common notes as one, one and a half, two, three, four, one eighth, and one sixteenth arranged in potentially many random sequences.

I think about the musical notes of A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and their designated accidentals of sharps and flats – let alone the number of times that pattern repeats for a different octave.

I think about all the random combinations those notes can be arranged into music – let alone when combined with the previous combination of numbers.

I think about music as a combination of 88 tones of piano keys and then some – notes of various lengths constructed together in desired chords – majors and minors of the key signature played at a particular tempo.

Music is not just for dedications, memories, emotions, relaxation, and/or entertainment – Music engages emotions, thoughts, memories, or paints a picture with the brush of sound.

Music is more than stanzas composed of phrases arranged in measures containing notes of various lengths and accentuations – Music is a message written in a unique language that must be translated by skilled people so listeners can interpret its intent.

Music is more than something we extract from the electronic device of choice – Music is an expression of a time, a place, a setting, an occasion, a story, a mood, or emotions.

Music is a combination of notes, phrases in a sequence to a key signature, time signature, and tempo – Music is more than a composer’s notes on a page for a musician because music is one of the universal languages.

Music is a variety of genres as Rhythm & Blues, Rock & Roll, New Age, Country, Classical, Rap, and many more – with each subdivided into a host of musical niches – let alone the variations within from global cultures – and all are good for the mood, mind, and soul – but just in a different way for different people.

On the day I think about music and the countless joys that it has given me – even the musical earworms – walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On Beach Walk: No. 26

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

From the balcony, the sound of the waves is less rhythmic than when walking along the shoreline. Yet I still hear a stereo effect of moving from one ear to the next. The sound is like constant hum containing fluctuations as I hear an accumulation of many simultaneous actions. Yet, the sound of the ocean from the balcony across the beach is soothing.

As I walk near the water’s edge, the sound is different. The waves are still constant and repetitive – however, each day is different. From the calm days to the stormy waves of anger, the waters speak in different tones as if they were different languages.

We commonly refer the sound of the waves as a roar – but it’s not the same roar as a lion or tiger. While both are sounds of power and might, the lion follows the roar with silence – but the sea does not.

The waves coming ashore roar – but it is not the same as the roar of a crowd at a sporting event. While both provide a constant as background, the crowd’s excitement is not a predictable rhythm.

The waves coming ashore roar – but it is not the same as the roars of laughter caused by a comedian. Those are sounds of joy and approval – but not even close to the consistency of the sea – which can also bring joy.

The waves coming ashore roar – but it is not the same as the roar of a jet engine. Yes, the jet engines starts as a loudness then fades away as it moves down the runway – but it is more gradual than the roar of the sea. Sometimes when I walk I hear the jet’s roar across the sky, then look upward to find it. Other times the sea mimics the flight, and then I look upward to find nothing.

The waves coming ashore roar – but maybe the roar of thunder is the best analogy. Thunder rolls across the sky just like the roar of the waves roll across the beach. Thunder loudly claps to announce its nearby presences just like the waves. The wave’s thunder clap also announces that water is coming my way – sometimes splashing me – yet also touching my feet.

The roar of the waters of the beach are relaxing, serene, and reliable. They carry a sense of freedom that makes walking good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On Beach Walk: No. 25

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

I think of my mother. How difficult it must have been to come to America with a 3-month old, a husband, and not knowing the language. She integrated into small-town America life, but she was fortunate to have other Italian families in the town and area.

I think about my mother as her and I returned to Italy for 6-8 months. It was her first trip back to see her mother, father, three sisters, and a brother. I was five years old, arriving knowing primarily English, yet returning only knowing Italian. Oh how the young mind absorbs language.

I think our return six years later. This time our entire family of four. But I didn’t realize until many years later that the passing of my grandfather initiated the summertime journey that gave me my first plane ride.

I think about my mother receiving a letter that my grandmother died. How lonely of a feeling that must have been, yet I recall not really knowing what to tell her.

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I think about my mother displaying kindness and acceptance from the first day she met the one who would eventually became my wife … and that would never change – and my wife still remembers her first exposure to a festive meal involving homemade ravioli as a side dish … (not the main course).

I think about my mother returning to Italy to see her sisters a few more times – but without me. I was older – either in college or working.

I think about my mother battling cancer for three years – first a breast, then the liver. She never wanted the rounds of chemo and radiation – but she took it all.

I think about the phone call I received from my mother sometime during that three-year battle. She was in Florida, I in Ohio – Crying, she said “I love you.” … words that were not commonly spoken in our house.

I think about various events around the day of her passing – it’s timing with the start of a new school year – the words I spoke at her funeral (which I posted here as in several parts).

I think about my mother smiling on my return to Italy in 2013 – a trip when I visited my mother’s only surviving sister – my aunt that I had seen in 48+ years. (Posted here)

I think about my mother as I passed her family’s home – the apartment where I spent 6-8 months – a building that is now abandoned, but awaiting a new life. (Posted here)

I think about my mother dying young – a month shy of her 59th birthday – and to think my life has surpassed hers by six years. She would be 90 this September.

Today is Mother’s Day – but I wrote this post after a beach walk because walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You never heard this song, but you would have loved it.