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.

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On a Beach Walk: No. 5

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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 am not a sheller, but they form a line as to say “Walk this way.” I am not a sheller but I give them the quick once-over as I walk. Even though I am not on a stroll or a hunt, sometimes one catches my eye – a design or a color – a fragment or a whole – small, medium, or large – so I stop to look as the water continues to refresh my feet.

I am not a sheller, but their colors begin to grab me as I pass. The colors of the rainbow they are not, but that spectrum occasionally shows itself on the inner surface if the light is right. Most of the outer colors are ranges of brown and gray. Sometimes the brown combine with red to provide orange – but sometimes the red appears. Some grays with so little white that they are black – yet a few with so little black they are white – let alone when they combine in different arrangements of colors in bands, streaks, or blotches.

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The colors tempt me to create my own spectrum with shells – yet I resist by keeping my steady pace – but over time, I cave in to my urge.

Colors that can signify a species or possibly an age – even a variation of colors within a species just as the colors of human hair differs from person to person.  But the more I walk, the more the colors and designs affect me. Oh the diversity of life!

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I am not a sheller, but as I walk its defined line on the sand, I notice the ridges and grooves. Some are quite pronounced, yet others are so slight that we think the surface is smooth – at least until our light touch moves across the surface. Pattern can be vertical, horizontal, or both – and even random – yet the frequency of these pronouncements of nature can be many or few.

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So many patterns that must signify different species within the a beautiful living world. Patterns and colors that are present for a reason that are part of the adaptations and variations in the intricate web of life.

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Wonder fills the nature around us in our slice of creation – even in the half-mooned shells of calcium carbonate found along the sand as one walks … but only if one takes the time to look as they walk and refresh the feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 3

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

Pelicans are on the water and in the sky searching food. – but all the pelicans are oblivious to my presence. Sanderlings are ahead of me using their fast-moving feet in what appears to be a frantic search for food – but they are very aware of my presence. I can see a Great Blue Heron ahead staring across the water – and no doubt oblivious to me. These are a few of the things happening as the persistent waves wash across my feet as I walk.

Some of the pelicans fly amazingly close to the surface while others soar above then suddenly turning their glide into a dive. I wonder about the pelican’s design – its adaptations allowing it do so – its adaptive features for its necessity – including diving without breaking its neck. I wonder about the success rate of their dives.

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I glance ahead to the sanderlings with their beaks in the sand and moving quickly where the water just passed. I know they are searching for food as small crustaceans, crabs, crab eggs, aquatic insects, and worms. I wonder if they have a way of separating water, sand, and food. That I do not know, but they are like the pelican because they are adapted for what they do. The next wave comes, but they quickly move as if saying “You aren’t going to get me”, then the search for their necessity resumes as the water retreats. Meanwhile, the Great Blue Heron stands and stares.

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Sanderlings and pelicans in their daily routine. Each doing something that the other cannot. Each doing what they need to do, but in their own way. Each searching for food – food to survive so they can survive to reproduce so their next generation continues tradition. And the Great Blue Heron doing the same – but doing so by patiently standing and staring.

Isn’t creation grand! All this as I walk and the water refreshes my feet.