Friday, July 13, 2012

Beach Exploration: Sand

“To myself I am only a child playing on the beach,
while vast oceans of truth
lie undiscovered before me.”
Isaac Newton
It is apparent, even from some distance, that the trees here are survivors. Prevailing winds and storms take their toll along any shoreline and on this tip of land, jutting into the Strait of Juan de Fuca just where it flows south into Puget Sound, they are relentless. Only a few hearty birds frequent the tree tops here.

We were camping at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend, WA.

That afternoon we would walk the beach, taking a route that passes through sand dunes filled with beach grasses, shrubs, and flowers.

Here, nestled down among the dunes and taller plants, a number of flowers thrive.

No matter how common or plain these may appear, I always stop and take a closer look at lovely, delicate blooms.

The tide was ebbing as we began our walk, and we were soon completely absorbed in the sights, sounds, and solitude of the shore.

It is a wily thing, lulling and luring us into its spell...

Water is a remarkable force, even as it quietly seeps through the sand on its way down to the sea.

I imagine I am flying high above the earth looking down and the view is similar - the flowing of streams and rivers carving their paths through the land.

There are flood plains, deltas, large outcroppings of rock; are not the processes and results the same?

Looking up to the bluffs, we see countless eons of deposits that were laid down in remarkable patterns.

Wind and water continue their relentless assault, slowly wearing down and carrying away each particle.

At the top, all things teeter on the edge, waiting their turn to return to the sea in an endless cycle.

Others have been here - we see the signs of their passing...

Most leave a brief imprint which will soon be gone, washed away with the sand and all that lies on it.

Some - the daring or foolhardy - seek a more lasting impression. I think most impressions are fleeting at best, and the deepest ones are not necessarily the ones we set out to make.


Many live here on the edge between the land and the sea, able to withstand the extremes.

Some tether themselves tightly to the land, adapting and adjusting their parts for the long haul.

Some are able to come and go, using the tides to their advantage.

Others, who must remain in or near the water, have developed unique ways to protect themselves when the tide is out. 

The beach is littered with those that have been flung onto the land, whatever the reason - many will survive to be carried out once more when the tide turns.

Many will not...

We treasure our time on the beach
and savor every small gift:

The shell - form and function
perfectly matched.
The rock - solid and strong,
but even it can be broken and changed.
The beach glass - worn smooth and polished
through time and abrasion.

Yet again I am reminded...

"The sea does not reward
those who are too anxious,
too greedy, or too impatient.
One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach
- waiting for a gift from the sea."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tricolor Summer


Bee balm, begonias, and fuchsias that hang
Star Lilies, raspberries, and rhubarb with tang
Sweet smelling roses
That turn into hips
Plump sliced tomatoes and watermelon drips


Salal blooms, Snowberries, and Dogwood on trees
Trillium and Daisies make some people sneeze
Ice cream, fresh-churned,
With vanilla and cream
Sprinkled with strawberries that grow by the stream


Hydrangeas, Hostas, and loud Steller's Jays
Forget-Me-Nots nodding and brightening the days
Blueberry cobbler
Fresh Blackberry pies
Fireworks that BANG! and flash in dark skies

A red and white tablecloth flaps in the breeze
In blue jeans with bluegrass we sip our iced teas
We value our freedom
(Though not all are free)
We honor our brave ones (is that you or me?)

While Ruby-Throated hummingbirds
buzz through the trees
Lupine fills sand dunes around local seas
We celebrate this land and should grateful be
It's a touchstone for the future - if we want it to be.

But the land that you are crossing over to occupy is a land of hills and valleys, watered by rain from the sky, a land that the LORD your God looks after. The eyes of the LORD your god are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.              Deuteronomy 11:11-12