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.

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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 a Beach Walk: No. 18

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

I recall my first exposure to statistics in college. To me, interesting stuff – but something that takes time to comprehend its usefulness. In those days (1974-75) classes emphasized was on calculations using complex formulas by hand in a world without calculators. One of pencil, paper, a slide rule, and the occasional abacus.

The professor made one particular statement that stuck with me (so I paraphrase) – “In the not-too-distant future, computers will do all the calculations and statistics classes will concentrate on their meaning.”

I believe those Texas Instrument calculators arrived in the late 70s-early 80s. I recall having high school students who were enthusiastically proud of having one of those calculators. I would channel my statistics professor by encouraging those students to keep their cherished calculators forever so they could show their kids an example of archaic.

As I look across the water, I see today’s world as a vast sea of data and statistics. So many numbers that are ripe for picking. As a colleague used to say in our discussions, “Take a stance – any stance – and then go get the numbers to support it because they are available.”

But today’s world is going beyond even that statement. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a data-driven tool designed to scrutinize and apply large amounts of data in order to establish trends that will lead to faster and better decisions.

AI gets the most out of data. Today we marvel at Alexia’s existence, but that is a simpler application than what AI is doing in health care, manufacturing, research, and throughout business.

Dr. Fyffe was the statistic professor who made that statement. I don’t know if he envisioned the coming of AI that day, but that’s where we’ve come and where society is going. Oh what will we see in our daily lives just 10 years from today?

Although I remain an optimist for a positive future, one can find many reasons to have a negative view of tomorrow. Time will deliver the answer – it always does because it always has – but for this place in time – today – 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. 10

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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

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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.

On a Beach Walk: No. 7

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

The sands display a myriad of shells. Different shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. Although they now lay idle on the sand, each was once a home for something alive – a clam, oyster, scallop, whelk, conch, or other Molluscan relative. Home for a comparatively simple life – a life born to eat so it grows and survives so it can reproduce then die. A life aiming at perpetuating the species so that species can fulfill its niche in nature.

A life with a collection point of nerves serving as its neurological center – but not a center of with emotions, intellect, problem solving, and complex communication. But a simple brain – one geared for operating body functions, movements, sensing, and responding. Sensing the presence of food or predators, the current’s direction, the water’s temperature, and more – to sense to react.

The numerous shells I see tell only a fraction of the story of what life in the water must be. All those shells contained a life – a life starting as a simple cell floating free in the water. A life that developed into a free-swimming larva or served as food for something else. A life that continued to develop into a young shelled organism or food for other organisms. Finally developing into an adult that can reproduce, yet also be a food source for other life.

No wonder adults release so many eggs as not all will get fertilized. Not all will survive the free-floating stage or as free-swimming larvae. Not all will develop into reproductive adults. No all will live a full adult life.

That’s the life of a mollusk – a clam, oyster, scallop, whelk, conchs, and others. Compared to ours, a life that is simple, but one that is ecologically important. Each fulfilling a niche in the intricate web of life on our planet.

This is what I ponder as I see the shells on the beaches that I walk. After all, walking is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.