49 – Bones *

Special thanks to Janet for providing the photographs. Janet is in Arizona and I encourage readers to visit her at This, That and the Other Thing, Please tell her I sent you and feel free to comment on her images here. All photos are copyrighted by Janet Webb.

Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.

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

A podcast I listened to yesterday used a song that I hadn’t heard in some time – the phrase that seems dumb. One that became an earworm for my day, then a mantra for provoking thoughts as I walk: “Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.”

Yes – thinking about bones as I walk – that hard, whitish tissue making up a skeleton.

I look at the sea and think about power and strength. Our bones are strong. Their rigidity and strength serve as the framework to hold us upright – an uprightness not commonly found in nature.

Bony support is in all those organisms with backbones. The birds in the air over the water and land. The fishes in the deep blue sea. The mammals on land – plus the dolphins, porpoises, and whales that swim the ocean waters. Let us not forget the terrestrial reptiles, or amphibians, whose life is both on land and in the water. But not the sharks, rays, and skates because their bones are not bones. They are cartilage, which is strong enough for support while being more flexible than bone.

I see a jellyfish the waves washed ashore. Without a doubt, it is boneless – without a brain as we know it to protect, and a body able to live without supporting itself.

The water of the sea freely moves. To us, the movement seems effortless. The water moved that jellyfish to shore without its consent, but the design of our bones allows us to move freely.

I look down at the shells on the sand as if they were bones. Yes – the animals who lived in those empty shells were supported and protected by those shells – but far from the same way that our bones support and protect us. After all, their soft bodies are boneless.

Like bones, calcium is an essential component in those shells. As kids, adults told us to drink our milk so we can have strong bones. Yet late in life, too many people fight decreasing amounts of calcium from osteoporosis.

I stop to look through a large patch of shells. Such a wide variety of colors, sizes, and features. Some smooth, others with ridges, bumps, and grooves – all for reasons.

Our bones are also smooth with ridges, bumps, and grooves. All are places that either allow movement or serve as a place for muscles to attach.

Remember this song? Foot bones connected to the heel bone. The heel bone connected to the ankle bones. The ankle bones connect to the leg bone … and so on.

Whether movable or immovable, bones meet at joints. Well, except the hyoid bone, which seemingly floats between the chin and throat while serving as a place for tongue attachment.

I think about our 206 bones of various shapes and sizes: from the strong femur in the leg to the three tiny bones in the inner ear; each bone purposefully designed. But in our early life, each of us had many more bones.

Dem bones, dem bones, dem spooky bones. Dry and rattling for the sounds of Halloween and the Day of the Dead. Times with the unexpected causing us to jump and shake when suddenly startled.

Each of us have skeletons in our closets – hidden secrets from the past that may be so shocking, embarrassing, shameful that one does not want to disclose.

Some describe life as a conscious time in our journey from dust to dust. There will be a point when each of us becomes just bones. In some cultures, families dig up the bones of a loved one from the cemetery grave so someone else can use the space. I can’t imagine the emotions of digging, wondering, finding, then gathering the person they loved. Then what? One last goodbye? Final closure? A feeling of peace? I honestly don’t know.

I think about how bones point to the past – not the future. Bones are how we remember dinosaurs. The bones reminding us of ancient human history – a vanished humanity. Bones that somehow survived the elements of time, then found to tell a story.

Many associate swashbuckling pirates with a skull and crossbones on a black flag, even if cross swords replace the bones. But, the skull and crossbones on a bottle or a package identifies a poison.

Bones of a Saguaro cactus

Dogs love a bone, a simple thing occupying them for hours – but they don’t freely share them with others. We also know that this old man played knick-knack paddywhack as he gave the dog a bone as he rolled home.

We describe some people as bad to the bone, a bag of ones, big-boned, or boneheaded. We discuss wishbones, crazy bones, and funny bones. We also tell others that sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

We can ask for someone to throw us a bone, work our fingers down to the bone, or have a bone of contention with someone, which can be just a bone to pick – but some things and feelings are just in our bones.

Dem bones, dem bones, dem bones. There is more to say about bones, but I am content with these musings because I like walking on the beach, which is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

See what other bloggers have written about bones

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150 thoughts on “49 – Bones *”

  1. Now you have me humming!! Will I sleep?? Maybe I will dream about bones!!
    What about the bones such as those in my body that have scars on them,….from being once broken, but now all sturdy and strong again.
    And yes, I was told by my MD that I needed this or that proprietary medicine to combat osteoporosis, or actual progressing osteopenia, the precursor to the other worse trouble…but now with the work I do, and not a few natural minerals and herbs I have normal bone mass!! Yup, I do! My bones are still hard and strong:)

    I often wonder about the kitties we have buried in our yard…one in a blanket and one in a bag…whose bones are still there?? They have been in there over 25 years…(my others are in little boxes, their bones turned into ashes…)

    And maybe you too know the feeling of bone meeting bone, but not the way it was when we were young…the space between them known as joints are inflamed and damaged by various conditions of being wiser and older. Yup, I know how that feels…and chemotherapy feels horrid in the bones too…at least the chemicals they gave me did…also years ago, and my legs still get me here and there and everywhere!

    when I cam e to thte end of your post I thought this way:
    ………’because I like walking on the beach, which is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet…and the bones inside of them!’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ingrid,
      Ah ha … so I have you humming that tune. 🙂 – but I hope it doesn’t become an earworm for your day. I’m sure some will wonder about the topic, you have added the fact that there is much more to say about bones! Thank you for those. Good luck with your osteoporosis battle, one that my wife also faces. But I am surprised that I didn’t say more about fractures. Oh my – and I like your ending – that’s something I didn’t even consider! … Thanks again Ingrid, for the thoughts you put into your comment.

      Like

    2. I’d love to know what minerals and herbs you use, as I have that same problem. When I was young and my goldfish would die, I would bury them in the garden where their bones enriched the soil. Seemed to work–we had wonderful tomatoes. 🙂

      janet

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Marina,
      Glad you enjoyed this – especially because the topic is a bit different – but the song was rattling in my head, so drafting the post helped get rid it. Dem bones, dem bones must be an American thing …. did you find it? Glad you enjoyed Janet’s photos, and thanks for visiting her.

      Like

    2. Marina, I’m happy you enjoyed my photos, even though they’re not a common subject matter. 🙂 Other than these, I only have one other photo of bones but lots of photos of other things. But finding animal bones is a natural part of nature and when animals die in the wild, they provide food for many other animals or insects and eventually all that’s left are these bones.

      janet

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting thoughts about bones…….I have to say (and this sounds strange I’m sure)…..when I see bones it makes me a little sad for whatever they were once part of. We all have our time here then we move on – man and nature alike – but bones are “the end”. A reminder of what once was. I don’t have a problem with moving on of course, but I always wonder why or how those bones came to be where I found them. Something’s last moments.

    Pam

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pam,
      Thanks for your personal thoughts. I don’t find anything strange in your thought when you see bones. Merril says her, too. … and yep – me too. Maybe it’s the biology in me, I don’t know. Sometimes I wonder if it was a meal for a hawk or coyotes.

      Like

  3. Well Frank, I must speak to Janet about this one. That you would ruminate on it and as always develop the theme beautifully doesn’t surprise me in the least. That she would take the photos – well THAT surprises me LOL! Interesting post on rather a strange topic my friend! My creaky old bones thank you for exploring the subject😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good morning, Tina. So I surprised you with one photos, eh? I take all sorts of “odd” photos, but in Wyoming, where I took the first three, animals die and eventually they leave bones. The deer jawbone I found while riding and had to carry it back in one hand while using the other for the reins. 🙂

      janet

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Tina,
      LOL … well …. this is want happens when two free spirits get together! Needless to say, I was surprised when she suggested it – so I jumped on the idea! But darn – How did I miss including something about creaky old bones? … Shame on me!!!! I hope you are willing to share again.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. We love Wyoming, especially the mountains and I’ve been blessed to be able to go there for part of every summer, with maybe two exceptions, since college, which was many years ago. We moved to Arizona just under a year ago (what a great time to come to a new place right?) and are looking forward to exploring the many amazing places in the Southwest.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. What I saw of it was beautiful and only gave me reason to want to explore further. I have friends in Arizona so another reason! Plus, this world is a big beautiful place. So much to see!

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Our skeleton is our foundation and a good, strong foundation can support the body. What we do with that body is what defines us. And now I can’t get that song out of me head either!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember both the songs you referenced, Frank, and now I’ll probably have them in my head all day. Could be worse. 🙂 We also say someone has a lot of backbone or to get a backbone, to stand up for something. Another thing to remember is that exercise strengthens bones, not just muscles, but without muscles our bones would collapse. So we need backbone and flexibility.

    Thanks for featuring my photos and I just link on my post today to yours here. Happy Thursday.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janet,
      First of all, thanks for your photos. You surprised me with the suggestion, so I had to take it because it’s not a common subject for photographers. Also, thanks for interacting with my flock. 🙂 … and for the link, too.

      I like the suggestions/additions you mentioned – yep – I wish those would have come to my mind at the time. Good ones! I don’t think anyone has mentioned this song by Maren Morris, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvPMVKUI9go

      Like

      1. I thought you had “bones” on your list of possible topics and I just jumped in because I actually had photos of them. No matter how it worked. I’m always happy to collaborate.

        Like

    1. Hi, Terri. This is Janet and I just wanted to say thanks for appreciating my bone photos. I really don’t do mostly bone photos of course, but when I saw Frank’s possible theme, I knew I had enough for the post.

      janet

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi Janet, I really did enjoy your photos. There’s just something beautiful about old bones…. I don’t know if it’s the story they tell, being able to see the structure that lies beneath and protects bodies, or just the lines of the bones themselves. Of course, I see beauty in almost everything out in nature, so this may sound weird to some people. I visited your site and saw some of your wonderful photography of other things too. I followed so I can enjoy some more of your gorgeous photographs. Blessings to you!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you so much, Terri, for the visit, comment, and follow. Animal bones like these are part of the way God designed nature and the animals, birds, a/o insects that take care of getting everything gone but the bones are necessary. Otherwise we’d be buried in rotting bodies of various kinds.

          Blessings to you as well and have a wonderful weekend.

          janet

          Liked by 2 people

    2. Terri,
      Welcome first-time beach walker on these sands. Thanks for your contribution to this walk. When I was gathering links for this topic, once I saw yours, I knew I had to include something about bone health. 🙂 Glad I found you. I’m happy that you also took the time to read the walk and you enjoyed Janet’s photos. The format of my walks are the same, but the topics change. I invite you to return to read future or past walks.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. John, thanks for enjoying my photos as well as Frank’s always excellent thoughts. I agree that there are always stories behind found bones. Whatever flesh was once on them has nourished a multitude of other creatures than the one that died and the bones eventually serve a purpose as well. A few summers ago in Wyoming, I looked out the cabin window to see five bucks, one of which was nibbling on some of the bones from that first shot. I found out that they get calcium that way. Who knew?

      janet

      janet

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve been using the expression bone-chilling cold over and over again this winter — will be happy to retire it now! I enjoyed all of Janet’s bone images and your bone thoughts. It’s amazing to contemplate the various sizes and shapes they come in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Thursday, Barbara. Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the photos. In Arizona where we live now, there isn’t much bone-chilling cold (although people who’ve lived here a long time may think there is.) But a few years ago in Illinois, we had -52F with wind chill, which was certainly bone-chilling. Even I didn’t walk that day! These days we’re more likely to have bone-burning temperatures during the summer. 🙂

      janet

      Liked by 2 people

      1. -52°F Wow! The coldest temperature here in Connecticut was -32°F in 1961. Bone-chilling indeed!!! I wouldn’t have walked at either of those temperatures. As it is, lately I can’t get out the door if it’s below freezing, let alone below zero…

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Coincidentally, Frank, I had an earworm myself just yesterday—one of my poems—Transmigration Blues which includes lots of bones! I enjoy how exhaustive your posts are…and of course your guests’ photos. Janet’s work here reminds me of how Georgia O’Keeffe was influenced by the bones. They really symbolize so much, as evidenced by their wide usage in language. Let’s hope Spring puts some meat on her bones soon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mary Jo,
      Cheers to your premonition lining up for this post! Who would have known … so cheers to the power of synchronicity. Glad you enjoyed the post and Janet’s photos. For this walk, there have been numerous comments causing me to slap myself while wondering “Why didn’t I think of that?” Meanwhile, spring is coming!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A fascinating post and I enjoyed Janet’s photos too. My femur obviously wasn’t that strong, as I broke it some 35 years ago. Fortunately it mended beautifully and has served me well ever since. I love the way you segued to skeletons in the closet, Frank. I’m sure everyone has a couple, me included.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought about Kathy Reichs, too, Patricia. I enjoyed her books, but the TV show was so different that after awhile, I wasn’t interested any longer. I find most times that books are better than movies or TV shows because the latter tend to add lots of stuff that wasn’t in the book or delete things from the book.

      janet

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh, I love her to bits 🙂
        You are right there, Janet. Sometimes cinema strays away from the print. I did read, though, that she had a firm eye on the TV show, which she also produced, as well as help write the script as some stage. She even had a small part in one of the episodes. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Patricia,
      I had to laugh because although I’ve never read her books, I did see many of the TV shows – but my wife has read her. Meanwhile, at least I know that she’s famous enough that the odds are between slim and none that she sees this post. Glad you enjoyed this post and Janet’s photos.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I think she is rather busy juggling two positions as a forensic anthropologist and academic with her writing career. But I do admire her for it.
        We are fond of the TV series here, in our household 😉 and I managed to read all her books from the Bones series during the past two years. They are rather clever written, can see the academic behind the pen, although I realize they are not for everyone.

        But… I am sure she will be rather touched to hear we thought of her work, gathered from all the corners of the world, on the beach, around a bone 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Frank, a strange scary topic, in some ways. Nonetheless, you did excellent reflecting on “Bones”.
    Janet provided great shots. It makes me smile to think that you are walking on a sandy beach by the ocean, and Janet on a sandy desert by a cactus, yet the whole bones thing comes together.
    This song from my parents country collection came to my mind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1ubG2f1-tox “Got a hank o’ hair and a piece o’ bone And made a walkin’ talkin’ Honeycomb”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Where are you walking today, Resa? Wherever it is, there are bones around somewhere, even if they’re still covered by flesh and skin. I’d much rather find bones than partially decayed bodies. 🙂 I guess you could say bones united us, individually and to fellow humans.

      janet

      Like

      1. Janet takes excellent photos.
        I wish I had some pics you could use.
        I do have pics of Lake Ontario Beach, near me. I did not see a Shores/Distant Shores/Other Shores topic. I also have a few pics of the Boardwalk down there. I didn’t see a Boardwalk topic, but many beaches do have a boardwalk.
        Did you get my suggestion of “Spindrift”?
        Okay, another fab Beach Walk Reflections to your credit!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. When I saw the title of this post I immediately thought of the TV show Bones. I wondered, but clearly you’re talking about the real things. I like Janet’s photos [always]. They are a perfect counterpoint to your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought the same think, Ally, even though I knew Frank was doing this post today. Thank you for liking (always) my photos. You brightened my day which, considering I’m in Arizona and the sun is shining, is quite an accomplishment. 🙂

      janet

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s a good thing for those of us who like to walk that dem bones are strong and connected. Having broken a couple of bones in my life, Frank, I never take walking for granted. I try to walk each day.

    Janet always manages to have just the right photo for every challenge. I very much enjoy her photography. Can you find the “Janet” in each photo? It’s kind of like Where’s Waldo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dan,
      No question in my mind that people take a lot for granted – including walking – but I also think that’s human nature. Ever since you mentioned the Where’s Waldo aspect of Janet’s photos, I’ve taken notice! Wish I would have mentioned it when introducing here!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I don’t know why but bones give me the creeps, Frank. I’ve always hated skeletons and all the heebie jeebie that goes with Halloween. But your mention of skeletons in the cupboard made me smile. What’s yours, I wonder? 🙂 🙂 206 bones? I had no idea!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jo,
      Creepy with bones is OK – I get that. In terms of my skeletons? Mum is the word. Yep – 206 bones – there was a time I could name all of them, but not now … but I’m confident of a high percentage. It’s those individual wrist and ankle bones that I would not get. “Heebie Jeebie” – now there’s a great term that I should have included!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Bones – what a topic that you made so interesting 🙂 I actually enjoyed reading about bones in so many perspectives – a source of strength in unique ways to all living beings, a source of past when found as fossils, a source of emotions when actually handled by loved ones… dug up from graves…
    I hope to live like the only skeleton I have is within and none in my closet 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Bone talk today! You find a tremendous amount of them…words and meanings, combinations…today you also made me remember my daughter’s voluntary work in New Zealand and when she brought home skulls and bones from her work with nature preserving. I remember she had a whole bag full of them – think they are still here somewhere. Love Janet’s bone photos – surely the desert must be a treasure there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The bone photos were divided between Wyoming (the first three) and the fish a saguaro which were from Arizona. Wherever you have animals, there will be bones. I found the deer jawbone while out riding one day in Wyoming and had to carry it in one hand and hold the reins with the other all the way back to the cabin. I was glad not to have any horse crises that day!

      janet

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Ann-Christine,
      Oh wow ….. Thanks for sharing the story about your daughter – and to think you may have them! 🙂 Meanwhile, this was a fun post for me to write, so when Janet suggested the topic because she had the photos, I had to go with the idea. Glad you enjoyed this walk.

      Like

  15. Yay Frank on your great post on bones on the beach and our very own and YAY to Janet for the great pics!
    It’s always a great reminder as I’m also a craniosacral therapist amongst other things and our whole systems are altered by one bone being out of place and it makes such a difference.
    Alrighty my foot bone’s connected to my leg bones which better start moving! 💖
    Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I sure did Janet!
        They were awesome. I collect bones in my business and it’s fun to do comparisons! That’s soooo true about not being sure when they will come in handy! Mine to!! 💖
        Stay in touch! 💖🌷🌷

        Liked by 1 person

  16. And then of course we have the late great Evel Knievel, who suffered more than four hundred bone fractures over the course of his career as a stuntman. And to think, I wanted to be just like him when I was in elementary school. Yikes?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. About a year and a half ago (a different lifetime?) we went on the catacombs tour at the Stefansdom in Vienna. They didn’t allow photos, but it’s a sobering experience to see rooms filled with piles or stacked skeletal remains. I was sort of surprised to learn that they have records so they know who all the bones belonged to in life. It’s kinda of a practical way to deal with the dead. We use up an awful lot of land for cemeteries in this country (and I love them). Now you can have your soft tissues liquefied, washed down the drain, and your family receives a box of bones. Perhaps (?) more environmentally friendly than cremation, but not quite as much as a natural burial (which is my plan). Recycling!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eilene,
      Wow … what a comment loaded with information. Seeing any collection of human bones is sobering. Meanwhile, this is the first time I’ve heard of liquifying the soft tissue to the dead – then giving the box of bones to the family. I can see it now …. the last parent dies, and the discussion – What are we going to do with Grandma’s bones? Thanks for sharing!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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