On a Beach Walk: #60 (Havens)

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

My time on the Alabama coast is not only time away from the multiple blasts of winter, it’s also my time away from the regular routines of daily life at home. A respite from the normal. A time as my alter ego. Sort of a haven – so I wonder about havens.

I grew up near a New Haven, visited another to see Yale University. Even spent a series of days in Grand Haven. The latter that seems to best resemble the meaning of today’s keyword.

Haven – a place of safety – a refuge – a retreat, shelter, or sanctuary – a harbor, oasis, or sanctum.

To some, a library is a haven. Those repositories of information that can bring alive the past or fantasies. The place where one can grow in knowledge. The community resource space that is for everybody. Thinking of all the information available in a college library is a profound thought on its own. Maybe that’s why I stand in awe of the information while within a college library.

To others, home is their haven. A place where they feel the love and safety of family. Home – the place possibly symbolizing the most memories of life. Both leaving home and coming home stir emotions. Home is definitely a haven – but not for everyone.

Havens can be a place to remove oneself from the regular world – a quiet space as a park, a church, a meadow, a library, a beach, or even a room within one’s home. It can be sitting on the ground, leaning against a tree, relaxing on a deck, or reading in your favorite chair.

Havens are a place one relieves stress by seeking tones of harmony and peace. That place away from the negative energies of the world. That place of no anger, no pain, no discord, and no irritation. Havens are a place of content.

Havens are a chance to close one’s eyes to the world, but not sleep. A chance to enjoy the solitude – to decompress – to reflect – to wrap themselves in thoughts of comfort.

Havens can involve an action – reading, writing, listening to music, creating a craft, gardening, meditating, practicing yoga, sitting, sipping tea, and yes – even walking the beach. Some find their haven when running or during other forms of exercise – so havens are personal.

My winter time at the beach is one of my personal havens. I spend much of my time walking and thinking, listening to podcasts, and writing. I see others who find a haven in many hours of fishing. Some sit to talk with others. Some just sit in the chair feeling the warm breezes that deliver comfort to their soul as time passes while seeming to stand still. They may daydream or even fall asleep.

Listening to the sounds of nature is a haven – the sounds of natural silence that are void of the hustle and bustle of daily life. No passing cars or honking horns. Just the sounds of the surf to soothe the soul.

I walk because I get restless sitting. Reading in the bright of day is not easy for me.

I want to use the salty air, the tides, the sun, the clouds, the breezes, the sand, the sounds, and the water to serve as the grains falling in the hourglass of time. This is one of my havens – and walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: #57 (Wind)

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

Wind is one of our earthly constants. Although it may only be slight at our planet’s surface, winds are constant throughout the atmosphere.

Today the wind is strong and gusty – not a whispery breeze. Today the wind provides a strong headwind as I walk.

Today the wind roars as it passes my ears. Today is more of a slap than a feathery touch – but tomorrow may be different.

Today’s wind causes me to think about other terms associated with wind – gales, gusts, squalls, storms, cyclones, hurricanes, typhons, tornadoes, vortices, and more. Other terms describing wind come to mind as sea breezes, mountain breezes, desert winds, easterlies, westerlies, prevailing, polar, topical, headwinds, tailwinds, crosswinds, and there are more.

The wind is as moody and fickle as people. Winds change throughout the day and from day to day. The winds of yesterday, today, and tomorrow are all different – yet the wind always speaks to us in the form of spirits, messages, metaphors, and similes. But do we listen? Does anyone even know the language it speaks? Maybe the wind just stimulates our own private thoughts.

The wind is mysterious. We don’t see it, but notice its effects. We can’t hold it, but feel it on our body.

Like us, the wind can be conflicting and complex in its messaging. Like the wind, change is constant in life – and an absolute certainty – especially as technology seems to be moving us to change faster and faster. To some, change is an uncontrollable feeling of a piece of paper being tossed around by the wind.

I watch an approaching helicopter fly into the stiff wind. It flies straight, but the pilot positions the aircraft at an angle for reasons I do not know – but it must be because of the wind. That stiff wind is also the resistance that comes with change – that resistance for maintaining the comfort of the status quo.

Whereas the wind provides resistance, it can also be directive. Like moving with ease when implementing an idea. Who doesn’t like the wind at their back? That wind also allows us to float with ease – but to some, it can be like riding a wild bull.

From causing leaves to rustle, flags to flutter and refreshing our skin, the wind is poetic – it’s moving – it provides imagery to us all. The wind can be soft or rough – fierce or gentle – hot or cold – damaging or refreshing while delivering a variety of messages. Yet, the wind is free – free to do as it wants – even imposing its will.

Wind – that natural flow of atmospheric gases along the Earth’s surface – simply, the movement of air.

Wind – that force moving sand along the beach, changing the landscape, or eroding stone.

Other planets have winds, but solar winds are not the movement of gases.

Wind – a key component of song and movie titles as Gone with the Wind, Inherit the Wind, Blowin’ in the Wind, Candle in the Wind, Ride Like the Wind, They Call the Wind Mariah, Colors of the Wind, and many more.

Wind – a necessity for recreation as moving sailboats, flying kites, windsurfing, hand gliding, paragliding, and more.

Although the wind can be many things, the wind on the beach can provide a freshness that only the winds of the sea provide. The wind can be one of the reasons why walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On Beach Walk: 24

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

As an early riser, I wanted to start today with a morning beach walk all by myself to see the sunrise with the sand and water touching my feet. A different start to the day, but the day is special – February 17th – my birthday.

Natural biorhythms awakened me 30 minutes ahead of the sun’s appearance. I looked out the window to the disappointment of a light fog – but I still went to the beach because it was my day.

Down nine flights of stairs, through the lobby, and across the sand straight to the water’s edge. Looking left then right, the lit pre-dawn sky allowed me to notice the beach was all mine. Nobody in sight. Birds weren’t even in the sky.

 

I walked to the east with an eye on the horizon for the approaching event with the calm water rolling across my feet. I ponder about my life – people, places, events, highs and lows – all are thoughts worthy of separate walks.

A small wave ahead of me washes a small crab toward the shore. I see it fighting to return to the sea – and then the backwash helps deliver its wish and not for me to see again.

Looking ahead I note a Great Blue Heron as joined me and stands alone staring across the water. Probably hoping for a morning meal, or at least waiting for a fisherman to arrive.

It’s time – the sun starts rising – but the clouds block its appearance – so I continue walking to the east until I see the sun.

 

The seagulls are now soaring in the sky above the water – but I haven’t seen any sandpipers, pelicans, or my favorites – the frantic sanderlings.

I look ahead – there it is – the sun appearing out of a cloud. My day has started! I enjoy the moment, smile, and then reverse course.

 

People are now in sight. I encounter my first person of my day. She smiled and said “Good Morning” as we pass.

A flock of seagulls are now gathered on the beach. Without flying away, the squawk as I pass as if they were singing “Happy Birthday” to me. I smiled, and then they immediately stopped.

The heron still stands and stares – but this may be may favorite picture of our time on the coast.

 

A good way to start my day – and already over 4000 steps – but the rest of the day is unknown. After all, that’s what life is.

No matter the time of day or the day of the week, walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.