On Beach Walk: No. 21

Embed from Getty Images

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

Although the waves are constant, each wave is different – but patterns of similarities exist – yet waves differ from day-to-day.

Waves have a force – sometime powerful and other times not so much – but they still carry a force – a force washing the water ashore where it meets the beach’s resistant slope while refreshing my feet.

Most of the time the beach’s slope causes the water to retreat to the sea – but without following the same path. Sometimes the water successfully climbs the sand’s crest – occasionally collecting as a mini-lake away from the water’s edge only to swept away at high tide or simply percolate through the sand.

Sometimes the water climbs the crest, but then follows a natural trench – sometimes to the left – other times to the right – but always in the same direction. As the water flows left or right it may meet other naturally moving water on its return to the sea – joining as two rivers into one – but always in the same direction.

Because of these miniature streams, I think of the world’s major rivers as they are all flowing in the same direction. The Nile River going north, and the Mississippi River going south – but in the same direction. Whether the Danube River to the southeast, the Rhine to the northwest, the St. Lawrence River to the northeast, and the mighty Amazon to the east – their directions are all the same … just like the waters on the beach … because water always flows downhill.

Even with a truth through a touch of snark, walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Advertisements

On Beach Walk: No. 20

Embed from Getty Images

 

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

Waves are free to wash ashore. Sometimes as mild laps – other times as large roaring waves. No matter if during low tide, high tide, or in between, waves do as they please. Now that’s freedom – although nature’s forces are at work.

There is freedom in snowbirding. A freedom away from the routine of home. There is no today is Monday, so we have to do these things .. and so on. Sometimes we ask, “What day of the week is it?” “Is today Tuesday or Wednesday?”

There is freedom of being away from the cold weather of home. No matter how cold it is here on the Alabama coast, it’s all perspective because Alabama cold is warmer than home.

There is freedom to standing on the shore looking out to sea – freedom to sense the salty smell in the air – freedom to taste an essence of salt on my lips – freedom of letting water refresh my feet.

There is freedom in snowbirding when facing the two biggest questions of the day: “Which direction do we walk?” – “What’s for dinner?” Therefore, “What are we going to do today?” is very seldom – if ever – asked.

There is freedom in leaving our golf clubs at our cold-weather home. We enjoy the game – but having the clubs along serves as an unnecessary obligation – and we enjoy the freedom of snowbirding.

There is freedom to decide my day will be walking five miles (8 km) to have lunch, then walking back.

There is freedom in snowbirding to letting the mind relax –  freedom to letting the mind wonder – freedom to think about metaphors to develop these posts.

There is freedom in letting go – to not worry about feeling I have to stay busy. Not worrying about what to do – freedom from daily decisions – freedom in making a spur-of-the-moment decision to go to the Flora-Bama for the music.

There is freedom to walking the beach or sitting on the balcony overlooking the sand and the water. Reading, knitting, writing, blogging, solving puzzles, using the fitness center, or watching television join the list. Others fish, sit by the pool or on the beach.

The freedom of a snowbird – freedom to think – freedom to move with the wind – freedom to have a life as an alter ego away from the home routine – freedom to walk – after all, walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On Beach Walk No. 17

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 waters keeps serving as a metaphor for knowledge. If the water represents the sea of knowledge – all that is known – am I standing on the shore of ignorance? Oh yes – the importance of lifelong learner.

My mind keeps thinking about knowledge and learning. Einstein stated, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”

Passing a toy sand bucket reminds me that everyone enters a learning situation caring knowledge in 3 buckets – 3 buckets that involve filling and emptying – 3 buckets of knowledge – what they know, what they think the know (but don’t), and what they don’t know.

A good learning situation reinforces what the learner knows while adding to the didn’t know bucket. But, a just-as-important situation lies in the middle bucket – the information one thinks they know but don’t. This information serves as the foundation of misconceptions and illogical conclusions. This is the information that only the learner can declare as “incorrect”, then replace it with new correct information.

For instance, how accurate is one’s conclusion if the person starts with an incorrect assumption as the first or early domino in their logic? How willing is that person going to listen to a correct explanation? How willing is that person to admit they are wrong?

I think about the ways one can justify blood in our veins is blue. We see the blue beneath our skin. We see the red and blue diagrams of blood circulation in diagrams. If a person believes blood is blue, they will do whatever they can to justify their incorrect position by assuming the instantaneous color change when venous blood from a cut contacts the air.

The refreshing water rekindles a situation I experienced at a conference many years ago. The presenter made a point that I processed as, “Oh, that’s what it means – so I’ve been doing a good job of doing it wrong for 12 years.” Yes, that moment was a professional game changer for me. A moment that set the need for learning something new and changing past behaviors.

The bottom line is that only the learner can replace the incorrect information in their belief system. Only the learner can learn and unlearn. Not the teacher, not the trainer, not the expert – only the learner can do that.

I look across the water and down the beach at the horizons, which causes me to think of other metaphors. Is the horizon a learning boundary? Is the horizon a new level of knowledge? Does the horizon represent the distinction between the known and unknown? I’ll save the horizon for another day – another walk – because I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 15

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 body of knowledge known by the human race is huge – yet most of us know so little – a mere fraction of the total. What each of us know may be equivalent to a handful of sand on a long beach – if that. It is a meager few drops from the water that I see.

As I gaze down this long beach, I recall the day a fellow teacher knocked on my classroom door. She was polling the staff about their knowledge about a topic on a 1-to-10 scale – to which I paused and answered 4.

Given our past conversations and her knowledge about me, she questioned my choice. “How can you say that when I know you taken classes and workshops, and then trying and implementing these strategies?”

I verified her points about me, but then explained my reflective self-evaluation as a relative point. My reference point were the experts in the field (who I named). “Compared to them I am no more than a 4 – but compared to my colleagues I am a 10 – and there is no way most of them an 8, 9, or 10.”

Yes, knowledge is relative. I look out over the vast waters of the Gulf of Mexico, no land is in sight, yet I know land is out there, but far away. Yet, while the gulf is large compared to the small pond in the neighborhood or the nice lake at a state park, it is small compared to the Atlantic Ocean – and even smaller compared to the Pacific Ocean.

I think of all the water found on Earth – in the lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, bays, gulfs, and oceans – let alone in the ground, the air, as glaciers and icecaps, and within living organisms. The seemingly vast water of the Gulf of Mexico now seem so small. No matter how much one knows, it’s actually so little.

Yes, my knowledge is the small amount of sand that touches my feet as I stare across the water then down both directions of the long beach. While water washing ashore signifies changing times, I still like walking the beach as it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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.

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. 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.