On a Beach Walk: No. 34

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

Silence on this day as most of the birds – the herons, sandpipers, sanderlings, and pelicans are silent. Even seagulls frequently gather to stand in silence – but it seems they also enjoy hearing their own squawk.

I’m away from the sounds of the street – no cars, no trucks, no motorcycles interrupting nature’s natural sounds. The low tide stimulates my auditory sense with a variety of pleasures.

People sounds at the beach are minimal. It’s the off-season, so there are fewer people than during the region’s prime time (summer) – and present are primarily seniors. Other than friendly hellos as people pass, my ears don’t detect a human presence on the beach.

The rolling sounds of waves approaching the shore stereophonically pass by. An occasional thunderous clap serves as a warning of a high probability of a splash.

Today is a luck day as I notice my favorite beach sound – the steady, gentle splash of water gliding across shallow sand on its way to the beach. The sea seems to be speaking to me – Hush – Be quiet and enjoy – Shhhhhhhh – Listen and enjoy.

I hear the wind interacting with my ears. It’s easy to detect – from what appears as a light touch to a persistent whistle or even a roar. Then the wind’s auditory message changes as I turn to face the opposite direction.

I hear the regular rhythm of my feet on the sand with each step. It resembles a bass drum keeping the steady beat on a glorious sound of a marching band playing a classic march. I loved my band days.

My feet splashing through the water seemingly muddles the steady beat, but it’s still present.

I stop to stand and look out to sea. I listen. I hear the light popping of tiny foam bubbles caressing my feet.

Sounds are my thoughts on this day. One can hear so much when they take time to listen. Meanwhile, walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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On a Beach Walk: No. 33

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

My day starts on a colorful note. I awakened early – stars were still visible in the dark sky and there was enough light to see the whites of the waves. The eastern horizon contains a narrow streak of light. Oranges soon appeared along with light blues, grays, and even reds to accent the black. The light show continues with gradual changes, then the sun eventually sneaks over the horizon to start a new day.

Wonderful colors started my day. Later, I walked noticing the water is pristine and a natural emerald-green of the area. I think of crystal clear blue seen in parts of the Caribbean, or that special Ligurian Blue of the Ligurian Sea in Italy.

The sunny sky is blue with a sprinkling of white clouds across the sky. Although the sand is whitish, most of the buildings are shades of white and beige with an occasional colored roof. There’s also a beautiful blue scattered on the beach by the water – the deep hued blue with a pink crown of the Portuguese Man-of-War stands out saying, “Don’t step on me or else!”

People bring bright colors to the beach. T-shirts, sportswear, swimwear, umbrellas, chairs, and more provided spots of brightness. The beach flags today are also yellow (Medium hazard, cautious swimming) and purple (Marine pests – the stinging ones).

But the natural colors are what I ponder the most. The wide-ranging colors of shells always capture my attention. With different shades of brown and gray – and with brown combining with red to provide orange – but red is not absent. Some grays have so little white that they are black, yet a few have so little black they are white. Colors often combine in different arrangement in bands, streaks, or blotches.

I return to the emerald water that transports me to the spring and summer at home. All the greens. So many shades of green in nature resembling the many shades of green found in paint stores – and probably more. The plant’s green comes from chlorophyll that captures light necessary to produce their own food.

Plants have different amounts of the two types of chlorophyll, which can also be found in different concentrations. Different habits, leaves of different ages, and different amounts of minerals contribute to different shades of green in nature. It seems the biology teacher is still in me.

I’ve noted an array of colors on my day, but who knows how many I’ve missed. Noticing colors is a good thing, especially when walking the beach, which is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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.

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

 

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. 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.