Posts Tagged ‘beaches’

Corals and Us

May 21, 2019

Corals build:  secreting  calcium carbonate aragonite structural coenosteum through living coenosarc tissue situated between corallite cups, to form coral reef.

Shore

In this way, the coral grows and grows, and grows . . .

(Thank you Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coral 

We build too: We stack stones arrange rocks mix mud mix mortar concoct concrete lay block lay brick blah blah blah

ShoreBuild

We walk out from our built structures. Corals do not; they remain in their little aragonite colony that they have built.

Corals stay while we stroll.

From a distance, them corals don’t look like anything alive. They just look like rocks.

But they are colonies of living critters,

Coral

and they help other living critters to stay alive.

Including us. Corals break up the wave action so we can build our stuff on the beach. Even more than that, they can, over long periods of time, build whole islands for us to dwell upon and enjoy.

When the ocean recedes from corals, they dry up and die. It is only then when we can walk around on them and live on their vast skeleton structure islands.

So we understand that when corals die, they leave that coral colony structure as their legacy—their gift to us and to the rest of the world.

And they don’t even know it.

When we die, we also leave a legacy.

The coral ought to be part of our legacy. We ought to leave the coral for our kids. Don’t step on it; don’t poison it. Let it grow.

Think of that sign you may see while riding on the highway. Referring to the workman who build and improve our roads, it says:

Let ‘em work. Let ‘em live.

Because even though the corals don’t look like it, the corals are alive and working all the time, building habitat for their fellow ocean inhabitants— the fishes and all them other water creatures— and building reefs to protect our islands, and building a fascinating shore world for us to gaze up while strolling on the beach.

Them corals . . . you gotta love ‘em. They just keep quietly doing their thing. Not like us who get all hot ’n bothered about stuff.

Glass half-Full

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The Beginning and the End

June 15, 2018

To go with the flow, or to go against it—that is the question.

Whether ’tis nobler to nurture the notion that mankind was innocent in some presumed condition of noble savagery—or to accept traditional religion that pronounces us guilty of offenses against Nature or against God.

If we are, or were, indeed, noble savages in our beginnings, why should we have taken on the disciplines and restrictions of religion—doctrines that judge us culpable of sin and thus in need of repair, salvation, or some kind of evolving perfection yet to be realized?

Hawaiians, for instance, who were alive here on the island of Kauai (I am wondering, as I write this on Kauai in 2018)—those Hawaiians who lived here in 1778 when Captain James Cook suddenly showed up with his fancy ship and his threatening weaponry, his magical gadgets, highly-trained crew, impressive use of language and documents, his tailored clothing and highly developed European culture—those relatively primitive people who first saw Capt. Cook’s two ships sail up to the mouth of the Waimea River . . .

CaptCook

Why should they have accepted his intrusion into their simple, primitive life?

To go with the flow, or to go against it—that was their question.

Would they go with the “arc of history” or resist it?

Did they eventually accept highly developed European culture to replace their traditional tribal existence? Did they accede to it out of submission, or out of necessity, or out of attraction to the new fancy stuff they saw? Were they conquered? Or were they taken by the hand and brought gently, Christian-like, into 18th-century civilization, and ultimately into 19th, 20th and 21st-century lifestyle?

Look around Hawaii today. What do you think?

They accepted it.

They went with the flow. One thing we know for sure about the so-called primitive Hawaiians of 1778: they knew how to go with the flow. They were here on this remote island in the middle of earth’s largest ocean, long before we technolified haoles were here, and they had arrived here at some earlier time because they knew how to make “the flow” of this life and the Pacific Ocean work for them.

So now, 2018, it is what it is. Hawaii, like every other place in our modern world, is what it is. Some may lament the demise of noble savagery that has been the result of Captain Cook’s intrusion into this paradisical (though deadly if you don’t know what you’re doing) island. Others may celebrate the entrance of the Hawaiians into modern life.

Some may come and some may go.

Captain Cook came. He left and came back again. The beginning of Captain James Cook’s Hawaii experience happened when his crew sailed their two ships to the mouth of the Waimea River— a river that flowed from mile-high Waialeale crater down to sea level at the southwest shore of Kauai.

Waimea1

He died in 1779, shot dead by an Hawaiian on the Big Island of Hawaii, at the other end of this island archipelago. His sudden demise came in the midst of dispute between some of his own crew members and the natives of Hawaii.

Many have lived and died since that time.

Two days ago, up on the other end of Kauai island, the northeast end, at a strand called Larsen’s Beach, we witnessed the life-end of another person, a contemporary. The man was a traveler from Pennsylvania. He had been snorkeling at a reef in unpredictable waters when the Ocean took hold of him.

A little while later, his flippers floated to shore. After we had witnessed a team of chance beach visitors (us), and then a couple of jet-skiing lifeguards from some other nearby beach, and then EMT guys flown in on a “bird,”—after we had witnessed all this collective noble attempt to coax life back into the snorkeler’s breathless lungs and heart, we saw his neon-green flippers float back to shore.

Flipper

Maybe he was going with the flow; maybe he was going against it; maybe he was fighting against the current, or maybe he was just going with that flow of life and death that eventually captures us all.

In my case, that flow will, in the long run, take me to death, and then resurrected life, as was demonstrated by Jesus.

Am I really going with the flow, you may ask, in joining the historical current of the Christian faith into which I was born?

Or am I going against the rational flow by subscribing to such an incredible prospect as life after death?

God only knows.

King of Soul

Life’s a Beach

May 14, 2018

Let us wander; what say we amble down to yonder coast?

’Tis there we’ll stroll the strand; explore a frothy edge, where wonder rolls up on the shores of familiarity.

Hey, Life’s a beach!

When we’ve walked as far as landward ambling will allow, we find  ourselves at the end of what we know.

There we gaze out upon the horizons of what we do not know.

PepleLookn

If you take a right turn at that juncture and keep going, you’ll enter the realm of belief, or faith. Here’s what it looks like, because your eyes are blinded by the end of it:

BriteDestny

If you take a left turn there and continue, you’ll happen upon the tree of knowledge. Let your eye follow its structure, but the end of it is somewhere out of your view.

TreeKnowlg

Analyzing and Believing are two different paths; whichever you choose as your predominant life strategy—that choice will take you to the destination that is appropriate to your choice.

You may make a deposit in the dilemma of data.

Layers

Or you may find yourself reflecting eternity.

Reflect

Selah and Serendipity to ya!  Zippity do dah too.

King of Soul

Life is grand on the strand

September 22, 2015

As I wander lonely on the strand

in sun and sky and surf and sand

I find a place I had not planned

to encounter in this island land.

RockSand

 

Now when we encounter something unplanned

which then becomes the matter at hand

and then it starts to make adverse demand

upon our life so carefully planned,

TreeCrag

 

surely then we must renew our plan,

so we won’t fall and be buried in the sand

and maybe fail again and again.

That’s just the way it is:

SunsetSea

 ain’t life grand?

 

Glass half-Full

A Strand of Providence

June 27, 2014

One of my favorite things to do in this life is visiting the sea strand. The beach. While growing up in Louisiana and Mississippi, our family had many excursions with fond memories to the Gulf Coast at Mississippi and Florida.

After graduation from LSU in 1973, I took a job in Florida and moved to St. Petersburg.

In my year-and-a half stay there I spent many days and hours at the beach, becoming intimately familiar with that setting–that expression of nature’s wonders.

Through many hours of studying the interaction of tidal water and surf-sand, I noticed a few things about the cycles of our life existence.

In the forty years since that Florida time I have visited many beaches throughout the world, from Calabash to Rockaway to Dover and Calais, from Hawaii to China, from Tel Aviv to Cayman to California and Carolina. I love experiencing beaches. Doesn’t everyone?

Today is our first morning in Costa Rica. We got into Liberia airport, then drove to Tamarindo, on the Pacific. So of course I got up early and walked a few hundred yards to the beach. Perfect beach: wide, flat, smooth with very pacific waves, arranged in a classic half-moon arc with nearby low mountains in the distance. Clear morning, not yet hot.

As has happened on may beaches before, the first thing I notice while approaching the surf is that cycle of dark and light bands of sand at the water’s edge, where the waves roll in gently and do their artwork in the sand. My favorite beach characteristic to notice and contemplate.

CostaWvCy

I consider these waves, their perpetual rearrangement of the sand grains, and it takes me back to the time when I first began to notice this universal cycle, back in St. Petersburg. A meditation on nature to revisit. I think I’ll linger for awhile.

Being a civilized animal, I prefer to sit in a chair while thinking. So I go back to the condo and get one.

A few minutes later I am sitting in the chair at the water’s edge, considering the ocean, the sand, the wave motions and their visual record of rearranging dark and light bands of sand, the cycles they indicate or perhaps represent, the universe, God, and ignorant armies clashing by night and Dover Beach and all that stuff.

I think the first level of such thought/meditation is analytical. Is that natural to me as a man, or is it an acquired habit? just something I was taught to do in school? I don’t know. Put that layer of analysis back in a file somewhere in my head and wait for the deeper, experiential level. I am looking at the Pacific beach, which is right in front of me now.

Wait a minute. What about all the stuff of my life that came before?

Now I am a Christian, have been since 1979, or maybe even before that when I was raised Catholic.  So, to base my analyses and judgements about life, its consequences, priorities and outcomes, etc on an ancient Revelation, the Bible, the church–what is that? How does that affect any objective analysis I may attempt? Well, sure it does.

Hey, It’s what I am. I was born into a specific place and time, with all the cultural baggage thereof.But let’s not get too analytical. By grounding my judgements on my own experience as well as ancient Revelation that was handed down to me through the ages, I am utilizing the best of both worlds– the experience of those prophets of old, primarily Jesus himself, as well as my own experience.

Now, back to the here and now. Over here in the sand, dark bands are alternating with light. There is some kind of cycle going on here, some kind of process. Been going on a long time, seems to be universal. Seeing that cycle of sand bands with my eyes is objective. Relating them to other life cycles is subjective. Can I do otherwise? No matter what theses, hypotheses, or conclusions I come to, I am a subjective man, and I will make use, in this life, of both the objective truth that is really out there, the cumulative wisdom of other men/women, and my subjective experience and evaluation of it. I’m going for the best of them all. Do I have any other choice? My options are limited.

To be human means to understand that our options are limited, so we would do well to make the best of them. Rather than dwelling on what we don’t understand, consider and act upon what we do find to be true and workable.

By the way, and I didn’t tell you this before. Yesterday, I experienced the worst pain I have ever had in my life. This was no small thing for me, although in the big picture it is insignificant. It’s over now. That’s the main thing. But the pain experience has produced an aftermath.

How did this pain happen? I had had a bout with walking pneumonia or something like it before we left North Carolina. My head was all stopped up with mucous or sinus fluid or whatever that stuff is that’s stuck in your head when you’ve got a cold. While were in the plane descending to Costa Rica, I had the most terrible half-hour of pain in my life, because I had not done the cold medications effectively.

Now this is getting pretty dam subjective, talking about pain and my health condition, like the 62-year-old-geezer that I have become. I hate it, don’t want to go that route. I’m not stuck in the wheelchair at the nursing home yet. So fuhgedaboudit.

But I do have to say something about all that physical health report stuff, because there is a lesson in it.

So I’m sitting here on the strand with my old thoughts about the universality of the surf and sand, and my right ear is still clogged with that stuff from yesterday’s struggle against walking pneumonia. I’ve been trying for days now to get rid of that mucous.

I tilt my head to the right. Something–a liquid–shifts inside my head, and suddenly I can hear more clearly.

Thanks be to God!

Maybe you think that crediting God for such deliverance from pain is a naive assumption. Who cares? It’s my life, my ear, pain. I will deal with it. I am not only going to thank God for this little relief that came in the tilting of a head,in the blinking of an eye, but I am going to use my God-given hands to begin to solve the problem.

What will happen if I gently put my  little finger in my ear and manipulate that ear canal ever-so-slightly while my head is tilted? Could such intervention, perhaps, release some of the fluid from the ear and thus alleviate some pain? I’ll try it.

I do it.

It works! Clogged ear now clearer than it was.

Praise be to God. Thank you Jesus!

Pretty subjective response, I know–this burst of grateful praise,  but I’ll gratefully accept the little strand of divine deliverance, even though I was the one who administered it.

Now, as for conclusions and evaluations about this  insignificant event while contemplating sand, waves and the universe:

The cycle of pain and absence of pain–it comes; it goes. When the pain comes, it’s hell on earth, but when it’s gone–Thank you, God. A man’s gotta roll with the tide.  I’ll take it. Not bad for a Friday morning.

CostaWvSurf

Glass half-Full

BodySurfer’s Intuitive Calcs

June 23, 2012

Ocean waves, generated by the interplay of lunar and earth gravity, travel very long distances across open water. When a wave reaches land, having no more water in which to move forward, it breaks upon the shore. How many millennia have humans been observing this? A long time.

Standing in shallow water very near the shoreline, we would see the hapless bodysurfer waiting to experience the thrill of catching a wave and riding it the short distance until he and the wave are tossed onto the sandy beach. If you happened to be at Ka’anapali beach, Maui, Hawaii, yesterday, that adventurous bodysurfer would have been, perhaps, me, or one of the other hundreds of free-floating small-time adventurers.

The body surfer is not a real surfer, you know. He’s just a  clueless vacation visitor, not really serious about investigating the larger potentials of the great swells on the north shores of these far-flung islands. He doesn’t have the board. He just has his own body, which he has trained to float. In my case, I learned to float at YMCA summer day camp in Jackson, Mississippi, long about 1956 or so.

Consider one wave coming in–the one that I’m going to jump into in just a few seconds here. How does this little dance between the wave and the bodysurfer work?

When the wave is still out in deep water where there is nothing to alter its somewhat ideal sine, orcosine, or bell-jar shape, it is a force of energy moving through the water, rearranging the shape of the water surface as it moves forward. It is moving the water somewhat, mostly up and down, at any chosen point of the ocean surface. Within the force of the wave there is kinetic energy moving those millions of molecules of H²0. But the wave is not really moving as much water, or anything else, as it actually has the physical power to do. So within the wave there is, along with the kinetic energy that is in constant use, potential energy.

So every wave that travels across the Pacific, approaching the beach, is a combination of both kinetic energy and potential energy. When the kinetic force of it hits the beach, the potential energy is suddenly converted to strong kinetic action and the wave totally expends itself on the sand. All that physical force erupts upon the shore and upon whatever happens to be there, be it a surprised snoozing sunbather, a sand castle, or a bodysurfer like me. Over long periods of time, this wave action churns rocks down into fine sand, and this is how we get our beaches. It also steals sunglasses and plastic cups and rubber rafts and other stuff that we consumers drag to the strand with us.

What the bodysurfer seeks to do is partake of that thrilling moment within the wave when its potential energy is instantaneously being converted to kinetic force, and thereby producing for him/her a few seconds of very fine sporting excitement. This occurs when the wave’s natural shape is being violently altered by its contentious encounter with the sandy bottom. Entering shallow water, that potential energy has nowhere to put all those water molecules that were formerly being moved up and down in such a gentle, rolling manner. Suddenly there is no more “down” available to the wave, because where there was deep water before there is now something solid that does not yield to the wave’s force.  In this case, the “something solid” is the edge of the island, i.e. the shore.

So the rambunctious wave tosses all those water molecules up into the air, in a kind of tantrum. Like a spoiled child that has grown accustomed to having its way all the time, the wave shouts with much sound and fury that signifieth nothing, if I can’t have my wavy way here, I’m going to throw all this liquid in the air!  Waugh!  Now it’s splash and crash time.

So suddenly the formerly tame motion becomes an eruption of spray through the air, and foam upon the sand. That noble wave that hath traveled afar all the way from Japan or wherever–it just gives up the ghost and dies right there on the coast of Hawaii.

But not before this thrill-seeking tourist can get in on a little super-planetary wave action, ha! I love it.

Glass Chimera