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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

On the beach



Summer has ended, school has started, it is early fall and I have the beach to myself and the dog. It is still warm enough to walk the beach without a shirt. Soaking the sun and almost feeling my body create serotonin, natural Prozac. With sundown the serotonin will be converted to melatonin and I will sleep well tonight. That is still hours away, for now the sun is up and the tide is coming in. Waves rolling further up the beach with seabirds dancing the receding water while pecking small meals out of the sand. A hundred feet offshore Pelicans are skimming the waves then climbing and circling before diving into the water, floating for a moment to empty their bill before taking to wing for another hunt.
A simple low effort walk down the Texas gulf coast beach at mid day, it is truly amazing how physically good this is for me. Before we domesticated the horse if you wanted to go somewhere you had to walk, for a quarter million years we walked. We adapted to walk and got really good at it. On a cool day I can walk for miles and never break a sweat. Moving those big leg muscles is enough to control my diabetes, maintain my heart and keep the weight down. On the beach it is such a pleasant activity, it even settles the mind. We hop in the car and rush from place to place, sitting still in the freeway traffic feels like rushing to nowhere. Playing computer games or watching cable we crave sensory input to satisfy ourselves, trying to fill some emptiness we don’t understand. Walking is satisfying and fulfilling and really cheap. It cost nothing.
Sand under my feet, sand on my sneakers, sand that started as mountain or hill, hard rock slowly eroded over eons. Rocks washed down streams to rivers, breaking against other rocks becoming pebbles, grinding smaller and smaller, eventually into the bay and into the Gulf Stream to end under my feet and on my sneakers as sand. Wind blows some inland to build dunes while the tide and current carries some further down the shore, making a living evolving landscape. Just one fall day in the perpetual movement of a beach. In time the sand will be subducted by tectonics and compressed back to rock, lifted as a mountain then wind and rain will continue the cycle. The quarter million years we have been walking is just a blink of Gods eye. On the beach I don’t feel a need to rush, a long measured walk is enough.

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