On a Beach Walk: No. 42 (After the Storm)

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

The past few days have been warm, but the strong winds and threat of rain kept my feet off the sand, therefore moving my walks to the treadmill, the city trails, or even the back of the building.

The storm front passed bringing a cold morning with gloomy skies. By noon, the sun accompanied a blue sky and a normal breeze – so the sands called me to walk.

Ahhhh … I missed my feet being here.

I go to the west without knowing my final destination – but it is into the wind. The air is still brisk, so I’m dressed accordingly. I laugh when a gentleman passes by because we are both in shorts – but he is shirtless while I feel comfortable with three layers and a hat.

More debris is present on the beach today. Not only brought ashore by the turbulent water, but the dredging project at the nearby channel exacerbates the litter. I watch for shiny metallic bits to avoid.

The sand is extra smooth from the winds and the roaring waves of recent days. The sand at the waterline is how I like it – firm and with minimal slope.

The firmness makes walking easier as more energy transforms into forward motion. There’s no forced lifting from sinking into the muck.

The relative flatness allows the water to glide ashore, then gently wash over my feet, then back to the sea. The slow retreat allows time for the sandpipers and sanderlings to forage for food in the freshly washed sand.

The sea foam slowly returns to the water as it adheres to the shore as legs of a full-bodied wine clinging to the inner sides of an oenophile’s glass.

Human presence on the beach today is sparse. Besides shirtless guy, I see only four fishermen on my trek and a handful of others. Turns out this is my first walk of the year to the point with the and the channel – about 2 miles (3.2 km) before turning for the return trip.

Although the morning conditions limited me to the fitness room, I still smile. My hands are cool – but not cold. I clothed with the shorts, three layers and a hat. What a beautiful day to return to the beach and my walking routine.

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

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On a Beach Walk: No. 41 (Storms)

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

In advance of a storm front due to pass in mid-afternoon, many clouds dominate the sky. They are not a solid mass, but an irregular one showing a seemingly unlimited spectrum of gray. The clouds nearly saturate the sky as ritual smoke as they move to their own cosmic dance.

Scant patches of blue periodically appear as holes leading to a greater beyond. Sometimes, an opening aligns with the sun to shine light on me. Other times the sun transforms a puffy cloud into a brilliant white aerial statue.

The wind is a little stronger today at it assists me in my eastward walk – but I know it will provide resistance on my return trip.

The winds travel across the water’s surface creating ripples for as far as I can see. I look at the thick clouds above whose lower surfaces appear as ripples caused by the same wind. There must be a connection.

The sea is more agitated than normal – unlike their more placid nature of yesterday. The red flag warms visitors of riptide currents, yet the sea is far from the fury whose tempest took ships to their unexpected but permanent mooring on the ocean floor.

The storm is not yet here – and may or may not live up to forecasted expectations. The clouds serve as a blanket of anticipation – but not a positive one because they display a haunting gloom of the approaching afternoon worry.

Storms make people anxious – just as the difficulties, trials, and tribulations do in life. Personal storms tend to weaken fragile foundations, but those with a strong cornerstone survive and come forth with strength and wisdom.

I think of storms as metaphors because storms are like problems, scrutiny, anger, life changing events, trials, and tribulations. We are aware of the political storms of controversy and ideological differences, but brainstorming seldom solves these problems.

Fortunately, information does not imply that the current and approaching weather conditions are aligning to be the perfect storm – but I wonder about not only its turmoil, but the calm on the other side – even the possibility of a rainbow, then the sunshine to follow.

For now, I don’t worry. I enjoy this time because walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 40

foot stepson grey sands with waters nearing it

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

After arriving, unpacking, grocery shopping, and a supply trek to Costco, today is my first full day of our respite as snowbirds.

It’s good to return to life as my alter ego – the time without appointments – a time of minimal commitments – a time without the feeling that I have to do something – a time when I try to leave my daily burdens behind. I’ve carried some of life’s baggage with me to this place – that’s what life does – but it’s different than a year ago.

It’s good to see the fine, off-white sand from the balcony for the first time since a year ago.

It’s good to see a seemingly endless vast view of water that will help me discover metaphors for future walks.

It’s good to have the first struggle with the fine, soft sand on my way to the water’s edge.

It’s good to feel the packed sand at the water’s edge that will serve as my pavement for the weeks to come.

It’s good to begin my daily walking routine as I move eastward for the first walk. On most days I will get over 10,000 steps before noon. I hope for a day-long trek before leaving.

It’s good to see the string of shells marking high tide. Each year we’ve focused on different shells, but because we have enough, we will give preference only to the unique shells we encounter.

It’s good to feel the water moving across my feet. It’s a bit brisk at the moment, but I’m confident a truly refreshing temperature is approaching.

It’s good to see my first group of sanderlings – the small birds with the fast-moving legs in their ongoing hunt for food at the water’s edge. Their presence always makes me smile.

It’s good to hear the sounds of the beach – the water coming ashore – the whistling of the steady breeze – the squawking seagulls – and even the air traffic from the nearby naval air station.

It’s good to smell the freshness of the sea air – that hint of salt with a skosh of marine life – a different scent than the air of my inland home.

It’s good to see the pelicans effortlessly gliding just about the water’s surface, then redirect upward only to turn around to dive after unwilling prey below the surface.

It’s good to know that some days I will see a group of dolphins passing by on their hunt for food.

It’s good to know that the sea will probably show me many emotions on its face – those emotions varying from placid calm to raging anger.

It’s good to start the process of letting the sand jettison the old skin from the bottom of my feet. If the past is an indicator, by the end of the stay my feet will have a warm glow.

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

On a Beach Walk: No. 38

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

No matter the day, one can rely on the waves. Some days they bring water ashore with a gentle, velvet touch. Other days as a thunderous and splashing roar.

Some days the moving water is actually a gentle roll allowing boats to smoothly glide. Other days the water violently toss vessels as if they are a small toy in a bathtub.

I think of the waves representing the ups and downs of life. The good days – the difficult days. I think of the parallels that these waves have with other waves as sound, light, radio, x-rays, microwaves, and infrared.

I think of waves signifying the euphoria of successes and personal highs, then the depths of grief and despair.

I think of waves representing the wide range of human emotions from calm to rage.

I think of waves as numerous metaphors in art, literature, and life.

I think of waves representing a link between the conscious and subconscious – that is the waves washing ashore are where the conscious and subconscious meet – therefore representing the tears of sorrow moving across one’s face.

I think of waves away from the shore and the energy the possess – the energy motivating one to catch the wave – the same energy that can tumble one into the abyss below.

Yet, the waves are one of the factors why walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 37

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

Summer is primetime along the Alabama coast followed by spring and fall. Its winters do not provide the regular warmth and sun of central and south Florida – but it is warmer than home in Cincinnati – or the homes of visitors from Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, the Dakotas, Canada, and the rest of Ohio.

Occupancy is comparatively low – but that also means reasonable rates – a month in the winter for about the same as a week during primetime – plus warmer temperatures than home.

People aren’t as plentiful – and the vast majority are retirees migrating to the south as snowbirds. Some younger faces join the mix on weekends.

As we walk, people pass by. Most offer at least a nod or a smile to acknowledge our presence. Some even add a verbal salutation.

People display identifications by hats and shirts may spark conversations – signs identifying homes, places visited, colleges, or sports loyalties. Other Cincinnatians spotting my University of Cincinnati hat identified themselves. As did other Ohioans and others from rival schools.

Many times when passing fisherman monitoring their poles, I would ask about their catches of the day. Most are willing to talk about their craft. I am not a fisherman, but we would watch with anticipation as they reel in their catch.

No matter where we are, each of the people we pass everyday has a story. Each person is walking history of joys and sadness, successes and failures, pride and shame, and more. They include the tall and the short; the old and the young; the successful and the not so; the caring and the selfish; the thinkers, dreamers, doers and so much more.

Today I think about the different people I pass on any given day. People – the plurality of persons. People – the individuals who make up humanity. Yes, it takes every kind of people to make the world go around. Even though people are complex, thinking about them is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 36

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

I walked thinking about my early morning experience that we call dawn.

I awakened early today. The sky was dark and clear, the moon set, the stars still shining, and the sun providing a very faint glimmer in the eastern sky.

Everything I could see was a shade of gray – essentially the darkness was responsible for eliminating colors. I’m reminded of Nights in White Satin (Moody Blues)

Cold hearted orb that rules the night, Removes the colours from our sight, Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right. And which is an illusion?”

I stood on the balcony high above the sand watching the colors of the predawn light slowly unfold in the eastern sky. The narrow red stripe at the dark’s sky edge is what caught my attention. A distant light source was proclaiming the nearing end of night.

 

I think about dawn.

Dawn – a time when deeply inhale to capture the freshest air.

Dawn – a moment in time when we can open our minds without future fears.

Dawn – a feeling that is a moment that can flow into the new day that lies ahead.

 

 

Dawn – the seeing of the light to lead us out of the darkness of tomorrow into today.

Dawn – a time for renewal, rebirth, a fresh start, a chance to make amends.

Dawn – a time of hope, a chance to move forward, a change for the better

Dawn – something that we can’t control that marks the transition from an end to a beginning.

 

Dawn – a time for the conductor to drop the baton for the cacophony of nature music by the aviary chorus.

Dawn – a beginning of the golden shower from above that rains upon life.

Dawn – a free magical moment that too many miss.

 

This was my morning experience – Thinking about dawn – and simply another reason that walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 35

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

I see the faces of people I pass during the walk. I believe some people look at the sea and see faces in the water – but I don’t.

On the other hand, the sky is a place for faces. On this day, a full moon is in the daytime sky. Although it is not a bright smile as its nighttime glow, Mr. Moon’s presence is known – yet it can be easily missed. Each of us have memories of that face and how we see it.

Given that it’s daytime, we know Mr. Sun brightly shines to illuminate other faces; but we don’t see its face – yet we value its presence as it warms our face.

The clouds in the sky are always moving and changing. Sometimes they are happy and/or spiritual; other times a menacing evil. Sometimes a distinctive profile; other times an imaginative image as an ultrasound baby.

I think about real human faces – the ones that I pass during my walk and the ones that I’ve encountered through my 65 years. The many faces I’ve seen in malls, crowds, in my classes, during travels, and at any gathering I’ve attended. The faces of different people – the young and the old – the able and the disabled – the men and the women – the faces of different cultures and races.

The faces of different gifts and abilities – the musical, the artistic, the analytical, the athletic, the strong, the generous, the helpers, the kind, and many more.

The faces of smiles and kindness who are willing to embrace everyone. Those whose help lifts the faces of others.

The faces who are willing to share. The faces who truly try to help change the faces of others by helping a variety of needs – these are the faces bringing the shining light of humanity – but so are the kind faces who smile to each other as the pass when walking the beach.

Let’s keep on smilin’ because I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.