On a Beach Walk: No. 15

Embed from Getty Images

 

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

The body of knowledge known by the human race is huge – yet most of us know so little – a mere fraction of the total. What each of us know may be equivalent to a handful of sand on a long beach – if that. It is a meager few drops from the water that I see.

As I gaze down this long beach, I recall the day a fellow teacher knocked on my classroom door. She was polling the staff about their knowledge about a topic on a 1-to-10 scale – to which I paused and answered 4.

Given our past conversations and her knowledge about me, she questioned my choice. “How can you say that when I know you taken classes and workshops, and then trying and implementing these strategies?”

I verified her points about me, but then explained my reflective self-evaluation as a relative point. My reference point were the experts in the field (who I named). “Compared to them I am no more than a 4 – but compared to my colleagues I am a 10 – and there is no way most of them an 8, 9, or 10.”

Yes, knowledge is relative. I look out over the vast waters of the Gulf of Mexico, no land is in sight, yet I know land is out there, but far away. Yet, while the gulf is large compared to the small pond in the neighborhood or the nice lake at a state park, it is small compared to the Atlantic Ocean – and even smaller compared to the Pacific Ocean.

I think of all the water found on Earth – in the lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, bays, gulfs, and oceans – let alone in the ground, the air, as glaciers and icecaps, and within living organisms. The seemingly vast water of the Gulf of Mexico now seem so small. No matter how much one knows, it’s actually so little.

Yes, my knowledge is the small amount of sand that touches my feet as I stare across the water then down both directions of the long beach. While water washing ashore signifies changing times, I still like walking the beach as it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Advertisements

On a Beach Walk: No. 12

Embed from Getty Images

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

I think about a continuum of thought – one that I’ve encountered countless times over 8 years of personal study and reflections. A continuum containing a diversity of ideas, including the antagonistic polar opposites who only see their way – a way of being one of us or one of them – a shallow continuum of two.

I know where I lie on this continuum of thought, but not at either polarized end. Not only do I know my position between the continuum’s poles, I also know that there are others like me here. Interestingly those at the ends can’t justify our existence.

I see the antagonistic groups as the Blackhearts and the Righteous. Each acting as hooligans as they shout at each other and intimidate others. I see many others who wander as if they are lost because they don’t know. I invite them to have a seat to listen, but polar opposites are preying on the wanderers by saying they have to make a choice, which is really a forced choice. I try to provide a different perspective, but either the hooligans are too loud or the wanderers are either confused or won’t listen.

Some may be thinking I’m referencing Democrats and Republicans, but I am not because that’s too painful – perhaps another day. Today my thoughts are about the interchange of science and religion – an arena where the antagonistic foes force choices upon others – especially the vulnerable and the unknowing.

I am not vulnerable. I am not unknowing. I have a place and I can respectfully and confidently take while understanding the others. I also take my place knowing the difference between right/wrong and agree/disagree.

Finally I get someone to listen. They ask questions as if they don’t hear the shouting because they want to know where they belong. They want confirmation of something they wondered, but never heard.

The continuum is a lot to ponder as I walk – but I like to walk the beach for it is food for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 11

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

Ahead of me stands a Great Blue Heron – standing still and staring out to sea. Sometimes on the dry sand away from the constant waves. Other times at the water’s edge as water laps over the talons.

No matter where, the heron stares. Not pondering the meaning of life. Not reflecting on life, friends, or children. Undoubtedly working to find the next meal – so the heron patiently stands and stares.

The heron is watching for a struggling fish or crustacean in the shallow water. Standing with its neck coiled and a sharp beak – and together they serve as a sharp dagger action of a harpoon. When the heron walks, it does so slow as it doesn’t want to alarm its prey. But the heron is most commonly seen standing and staring – and all alone.

Some days the heron allows me to walk relatively close, while slowing stepping away. Other times as I approach, the heron flies ahead to a new spot – only to be disrupted as I again approach his new domain. The pattern repeats before the heron flies away to find a new spot to stand and stare all alone.

Some days I see the heron from afar – standing and staring all alone – and no humans nearby. Other times the heron patiently stands and stares at the sea, but with a fisherman – for the heron knows the likely source of the next meal and a possible feast for the day. Now that’s one smart bird.

The fisherman stands to tend the pole that appears to have a fish on the line – this heightens the heron’s attention. The fisherman walks away with his catch – but the heron follows. After freeing the fish from the hook, the fisherman tosses his unwanted fish toward the heron – who slowly approaches, then quickly uncoils its adaptive neck and beak to spear its prey – then swallows it whole.

The heron using its adaptations to survive and eventually produce other Great Blue Herons so the tradition continues over time. After all, the heron is design for a specific role in nature – just like all other living things in the nature that surrounds us.

We live in a self-maintaining wonderful creation that is a mere speck in the grand universe. There is so much to ponder as I walk the beach – a walk that is good for the mind and soul as water refreshes my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 10

Embed from Getty Images

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

I prefer walking close to the water where the sand is smooth and tightly packed. Moving is much easier here than in the loose, dry sand away from the water or in the quicksand like sludge near the water where each step is a forceful slog.

While I walk the grains of sands cleanse my soles of loose skin. I see all that sand ahead and for who knows how far down and out to sea. All that sand here on this coast – and along many coast around this gulf – but also along the waters across the globe … and the sands of the deserts, too – oh my my – so much sand.

All those grains of sand moving through the hourglass of time that serves as a metaphor for the constantly changing beach. Each wave washing ashore slightly alters the landscape. So does the water through its moving tides. So do the winds of the day or a storm. Let alone the wind and water of hurricanes and typhoons that alter the land. The sand I see is it’s own great hourglass of time.

All that sand – those abrasive grains of silicon dioxide from many years of erosion. The gains that differ in size from beach to beach. The grains containing bits of shells, corals, and different rocks joining together to form its own palate of colors. Not only from white to grays to browns but also reds, blacks, greens, pinks, and oranges. These are the sands that refresh the feet of the world.

All that sand – the sand that is also the hardened material of sandstone – a rock found in the hills of the town of my youth. A town along the outside bend of a river with rocks along its banks as the sand collected on the opposite shore along the inner banks of the river’s big bend.

All that sand – sand as the foundation of concrete, mortar, and glass. Sand, the preference of plants desiring dryness delivered by sand’s porosity. Sand for cleaning, polishing, and filtering in both natural and human processes. The same sand that cleanse my soles as I walk.

All that sand – the constantly moving grains of time that scrub my soul as my mind thinks to make connections of a great creation – which are thoughts that cleanse my soul as the water refreshes my feet.

‘]After many days of walking the beach, my feet have a sense of renewal along with a sight tenderness resembling a light fire – but those soles are not red for they are refreshed – yet my mind and soul are also fresh and relaxed – which is why I like walking on the beach for it is good for the mind and soul while refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 8

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

As I walk a vast mass of water is 180 degrees to my side – a mass of water with its currents moving it ashore and beyond. The moving water that splashes and refreshes my feet.

I think of water moving in its cycle. Where has that drop on my knee been? Who has it touched? Did it touch a television or movie star? A world leader? A historic figure? Perhaps da Vinci, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, or Confucius? A farmer, carpenter, librarian, artist, fisherman, musician, or business leader? Or even Lucy the early hominid, Lucille Ball, or Kenny Rogers.

I think of ancient people during ancient times who were unaware of water’s cyclic ways. No wonder they saw the sky as a solid dome separating the waters from above and below. No wonder they saw rain as something that came down from their god above.

Water – so much of it – so many uses – so vital for life – no wonder it is a powerful metaphor. There is much to wonder about water, but now I will settle on allowing my mind to wonder as water refreshes my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 7

Embed from Getty Images

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.

On a Beach Walk: No. 6

Embed from Getty Images

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

I look out across the seemingly endless surface of water with no land in sight other than the sand in the visual periphery where I stand. No wonder the ancient people thought edges were at the end. Edges that sunrises and sunsets reinforce.

To think that this gulf is small compared to the seas – and the oh my of the seas being specks compared to the oceans. The amount of water on our planet is unimaginable – besides, most people don’t realize the bigness of one million – let alone millions, billions, trillions, and beyond.

All that sea water, plus the water of rivers, streams, lakes ponds, puddles, pools, glaciers, ice, and even underground – let alone in the clouds collecting as sponges before releasing the water as rain, snow, sleet, or hail.

All that water that make our home blue – that refreshing blue from space – that pale blue dot in the greater cosmos that is an oasis in the vast desert of space. Yes, this is our home that I walk – a walk where I think as the water refreshes my feet.