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


  1. What a beautiful post. This beach is one of my favorite places on earth - you have captured its essence perfectly with your painterly words and photos.

  2. Catherine - this is one of our favorite beaches also, although I tend to say that about any beach I'm on. There are so many to choose from around this area. Thanks so much for stopping by here and for your kind comments - see you on the beach!

  3. I love this post. It is one of my favorite beaches too. Thanks for your prose and photos Barb. They are a true gift. Peg T.