On a Beach Walk: No. 45 (Windows)

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

As I walk, I look at the buildings. Regardless of the size and location, all have windows – those panes of glass providing light, views, and protection to those inside.

The windows are different sizes and orientations. The vast majority are rectangular while the multi-sided and circular are few – yet, all these windows trigger my thoughts on this day. Yes, windows – those mere openings in a wall covered by glass.

My head turns away from the buildings and toward the water where I spot the horizon – that line where the water meets the sky as I wonder what lies beyond that metaphoric window.

On this day many clouds fill the sky while serving as a translucent window allowing light through while blocking what lies above. The occasional hole of blue serves as a reminder of other days while blue patches serve as a window beyond the clouds.

Even on the cloudless days, the blue sky serves as a window shade to what lies beyond for night is what allows us to raise the shade to examine and dream about what lies beyond.

The water’s surface serves as a window to the beauty and history to what lies below. However, one seldom sees that world until they pass through that window’s opening into the aquatic underworld.

I think of medical equipment as various scans and tests that allow medical professors to peer through the opaque window of our skin and bones into our internal world of normalcy and abnormality.

I think of microscopes allowing us to pass through a window into a world where our eyes cannot naturally go. I also think about telescopes taking us beyond our atmospheric window into a distant world that we try to imagine.

I think of other windows such as poems – a collection of a poet’s words causing us to reach deep into our soul for understanding of the poet’s world – a world that the poet allows us to discover by looking through the window of their words.

I think of books as windows – both fiction and nonfiction for they allow us to expand our world by travelling through the window of knowledge and creativity with reflection, learning, and fantasy.

I think of learning a process taking us through the window of a world that we do not know that works to close the window to ignorance while opening a seemingly infinite number of windows into a new world.

I think of windows are an interval of time – a span providing an opportunity – that golden hour – whether planned or by chance, that optimal moment for something to happen.

Windows – whether open or closed – real or metaphor – windows are worth pondering. Thinking about windows is a reason why walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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On Wonderful Skies

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I believe that if one always looked at the skies, one would end up with wings. (Gustave Flaubert, novelist)

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. (Coco Chanel, designer)

You cannot look up at the night sky on the Planet Earth and not wonder what it’s like to be up there amongst the stars. And I always look up at the moon and see it as the single most romantic place within the cosmos. (Tom Hanks, actor)

On Exploring Twinkles Through a Song

Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy. To do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars. To sit on a branch and study the clouds. (Regina Brett, journalist)
Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. (Stephen Hawking, physicist)
Things are as they are. Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations. (Alan Watts, philosopher)
Ye stars! which are the poetry of heaven! (Lord Byron, poet)

On Exploring the Driest

Our knowledge is a receding mirage in an expanding desert of ignorance. (Will Durant, historian)

You should not see the desert simply as some faraway place of little rain. There are many forms of thirst. (William Langewiesche, author)

No doubt about it – deserts are dry. Because all deserts are not created equal, where is the driest desert on our planet?

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Surely you didn’t guess the place in the image above, which is Death Valley in California. Besides, I’m confident the Atacama Desert quickly came to everyone’s mind.

Yes, the Atacama – a 600 mile (1,000 km) high plateau in Chile. The Atacama – sandwiched between the Andes Mountains to its east and the Pacific Ocean to its west. The Atacama – the land of stone, sand, and salt lakes. The Atacama – a land of unique flora and fauna that is sparsely populated by people.

Unlike previous posts in this series, today’s Explore provides two short looks at Atacama – an initial drive through the desert followed by the beauty of its night sky. Enjoy this journey to a land you may not have known until now.

On the Lights of Norway

Last week we traveled to Norway to look out and around – so this week we look up.

There are worlds beyond our own—the compass will show the way. (From “The Golden Compass”, movie 2007)

No sky Leila had seen before could compare to the beauty she was seeing above her. It didn’t feel like some accident of nature but rather something that was purposefully unleashed on the world. (Adi Alsaid, “Let’s Get Lost”)

The north! the north! from out the north
What founts of light are breaking forth,
And streaming up these evening skies,
A glorious wonder to our eyes!
(Hannah Flagg Gould, “The Aurora Borealis”)

For night’s swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora’s harbinger;
At whose approach ghosts, wandering here and there,
Troop home to churchyards.
(William Shakespeare, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”)

When I look at the northern lights … I see our ancestors dancing around a sacred fire, lighting the way for us when it’s time for us to cross over from this physical world and join them. (Molly Larkin, “What do the Northern Lights mean for us?”)

You cannot rob me of free nature’s grace,
You cannot shut the windows of the sky
Through which Aurora shows her brightening face.
(James Thomson, “Castle of Indolence”)

On a Time-Lapse Collection

Always is no Time at all. (Vanna Bonta)

Time crumbles things; everything grows old under the power of Time and is forgotten through the lapse of Time. (Aristotle)

No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth. (Robert Southey)

I have often thought that if photography were difficult in the true sense of the term–meaning that the creation of a simple photograph would entail as much time and effort as the production of a good watercolor or etching–there would be a vast improvement in total output. The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster. (Ansel Adams)

When one tugs on a single string in nature, he finds it is attached to the rest of the world. (John Muir)

I enjoy time-lapse photography. Maybe I like seeing slow-motion in action because I wouldn’t otherwise notice. César Cantú is an astrophotographer in Mexico. Enjoy this video, which is a collection of his 2014 work incorporated with powerful music … and a Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

On Exploring Clear Skies

The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work. (A. P. J. Abdul Kalam)

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. (John Lubbock)

We are a nation of communities… a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky. (George H. W. Bush)

Whether as part of our natural surrounding or from the creativity of a fellow human, our world has so much to offer – thus the purpose of the Explore series is to give us an appreciative taste of those offerings. To me, the sky is a wonderful place to activate this series.