On a Beach Walk: No. 53 (Balance)

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

The waves of the sea act on the bob linked to a line connected to the fisherman’s pole. While noticing the up and down action caused by the waves crests and troughs, I think of the midline line between these two extremes – that point of relative equality or balance.

The continual up and down action of the seas brings seasickness to some of us. Not a pleasant feeling for those of us haunted by that natural action of the sea.

Compared to its sensory counterparts, balance seems to be a lost sense. That sense of stability primarily based on the three semicircular canals in the inner ear that are at right angles to each other. But each of us react differently to amusement park rides that spin, jerk, or go fast over the changing terrain of railed hills.

We forget or do not realize the roles that eyes and stomach provide in our balance – especially as we carefully watch the single railroad track as we walk with our arms outstretched as a balancing aid. As our bodies lean right, the brain quickly reacts to pull us left – but hopefully not too far because we want to remain on the rail.

The brain takes all the information it receives about position and reacts by sending messages to muscles to keep us in balance – the position of the ankles, knees, elbows, shoulders, and head relative to space. Our body’s awareness to relative position and spaces allows me to walk calmly and steadily on the beach that is noticeably slanted by the water – but not as much as other days – so it seems relatively flat.

Balance has a rhythm – like that peaceful state while riding a bicycle with confidence.

I think about the various balances in sciences – these balanced forces keeping an object at rest or those keeping the object moving in a straight line and constant speed. Those balances between different populations in a food chain that are not equal in number, but balanced relative to each other. The balanced equations of a chemical reaction showing the same number of atoms entering and exiting the reaction.

The balance sheet of life made of our credits and debits for each of us to work through – and yes – some of those encounters are stressful enough to upset life’s balance. Let us not forget the difficult balance in life as dealing with forgiveness and tolerance.

The complexity of life requires us to find a manageable balance between work, love, and play. Work can consume us as we walk the fine line differentiating living to work and working to live. To some, it’s the love for what they do that drives the imbalance with play and love – for others, it’s the pressure to achieve.

Balance is a sense – an important sense – but balance has many applications to life. On this day I find life is good and not much stress because 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. 31

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

The sand is always shifting. The beachhead is different every day due to continual waves and changing tides.

Daily winds easily move the dry sand from place to place. The moving grains of sand stings my legs during gusts or very windy days. The city places old Christmas trees from residents by the dunes to catch moving sand and build the dune. On the other hand, violent storms as hurricanes easily reconfigure the landscape.

Shifting sand is a metaphor for change. Oh, how life has changed during my 65 years. Thinking about the change those in their 90s have seen is mind boggling – after all;

I remember the rooftop antenna delivering 3 television stations to our black and white TV.

I remember picking up the phone, dialing zero to tell the operator the number I wanted to call.

I remember party lines – although we didn’t have one.

I remember the excitement of the first TV dinner that was either baked chicken or Salisbury Steak that had to heated in the oven.

I remember cooking popcorn on the stove with heated oil in a large pot was the primary option.. Jiffy Pop was a big deal!

I remember frequently playing with many neighborhood friends outside.

I remember Charlie – the milkman delivering milk to our house.

I remember stores in small towns like mine had vibrant downtowns providing everything that people needed.

I remember going to the movie theater, which showed a cartoon before the featured film.

I remember our town’s 6-lane bowling alley using a person to set the pins before the age of automatic equipment.

I remember using a slide rule in high school and college.

The sand is soft and the water is refreshing, but change isn’t easy. People and organizations fight change, but change happens out of necessity. We can’t return to the life of what was in whatever year one selects because those days are not only gone – but won’t be returning! – and to think that technological change is happening faster than ever.

It is not easy to imagine life 15 years from now. If I’m lucky, I’ll see it as an 80 year old. What will my nephews and nieces see when they are my current 65? If humans can figure out how to get along, it could be a wonderful world.

Change is good, but somethings do not need to be replaced, such as walking the beach being good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.