Special thanks to Jennifer (USA) and Donna (Canada) for the photos of their west coast beaches. I saw Jennifer’s images on Facebook in January, and then reached our for her approval for this post. Realizing I needed one more, I later noticed Donna’s opening image on one of her posts. Donna blogs at Retirement Reflections.
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.
Sand is the beach’s soil. Sand is a dry soil, yet sea oats seem to be a plant that can strive at the beach. As I walk across the beach toward the water, the sand here is very fine in texture. Whether walking or standing, those grains of sand are tiny stones. Although they can sparkle, they certainly aren’t gems.
I think about how individual grains fusing into pieces of sandstone of various sizes. Thoughts of sandstone remind me of my hometown – a place squeezed into the tiny space between the hills and the Ohio River with the exposed sandstone faces staring at the river.
I think of my hometown church composed of large sandstone blocks that are 25 inches (63 cm) thick. A church built in the late 1800s with the sandstone providing an old appearance because sandstone collects dirt. But I also remember how the church sparkled after a sandblast cleaning in the late 1980s.
I think about the last beach I walked in Italy. It wasn’t good for walking – not even close to this beach. Not only would each step sink in the less- firm sand, but many stones also shared the beach. Stones of many kinds, colors, and patterns. Most, if not all, smooth to the touch. So many beautiful stones, I could spend a lot of time looking through them while wondering what I could do with them.
The presence of marble surprised me – seemingly from the nearby mountains. Some as large chunks moored in the sand as permanent monuments for climbing, standing, and sitting. Other times, marble seemed embedded in other stones – embedded forming patterns for a unique appearance.
Although as beautiful as they may be, none of those beach stones are gems – the ones we polish and shape for beauty – rubies, diamonds, emeralds, and others such as amethyst – my birthstone.
My mind switches elsewhere to geodes – those spherical egg-shaped stones appearing very uninteresting on the outside but loaded with an inner beauty of sparkling crystals around a hollow space. Each crystal being different, beautiful, and unique – each crystal symbolic as if they could speak.
A geode’s unattractive outside symbolically causes us to look deeper within ourselves and others to find the hidden good. Sometimes one may find a geode with a hole on the outside allowing one to peer into the inner wonders. Others may be lucky to find two pieces that go together and click into one.
I think about granite with its variety of colors, textures, and patterns – patterns from granite combining with other minerals. Granite that the skilled cut and polished for kitchen counters or chiseled and aped for statues and tombstones.
Stones are old – an age-old enough most of us cannot perceive – and to think they were not products of the Stone Age. However, stones are a symbol carrying a story of geologic history.
I think about stones as building blocks. Whether for walls, buildings, castles, or fortresses, humans built these structures one stone at a time. We can say the same can of us as individuals with one stone representing a life experience. Therefore, like a wall, many stones compose us.
I think about sculptors and their ability to foresee a finished product from a large stone. Granite, marble, alabaster, basalt, limestone, soapstone, and more – stones chosen because of their hardness or softness, appearance, and ability to endure. Stones that have given humanity David, the Taj Mahal, Parthenon, Acropolis, the Great Sphinx, statues and busts of heroes, and countless other treasures – let alone places like Stonehenge and Easter Island.
I think about how stones are thoughts from the quarry of our minds. Thoughts paralleling the sculpture’s vision. Thoughts that start as an idea, but end as an innovation. But those stones from the brain may simply be personal motivators or remembrances – like stepping stones that guide the way on a path. Stepping stones we also use to signify learning. However, there are times when a fork in the path forces us to choose because there may not be a sign marking the path not to take.
I think about those who say nothing is set in stone because it is change that is constant. Meanwhile, motivators ask us to leave no stone unturned when preparing or problem-solving. However, one never knows what one can find under each stone.
People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, let alone try to hit two birds with one stone. Although their ideas cast in stone make them stone deaf, sticks and stones may break their bones, but names will never hurt them. Hopefully, they won’t hit a stone wall to become stone broke, then try to get blood out of a stone. But I am confident that none of these people are the Rolling Stones, the Stone Temple Pilots, or Sly and the Family Stone.
Using stones and rocks seems to be problematic. To some, stones and rocks are synonyms. To others, stones are pieces of rocks – and to others, rocks are pieces of stone. To confuse the situation, stones seem more personal, meaningful, important, and precious – but those with a pet rock may disagree. Maybe the choice between stones and rocks is a personal one- so you decide.
Stone – a natural substance for statues, monuments, obelisks, jewels, gravestones, and building materials. Some more precious than others, but still stone. As I look down at the sand, I wonder: Is each grain of sand a stone? You can decide. After all, I like walking on the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.
See what other bloggers have written about stones
- Stones (poem)
- One man’s vision in stone (an essay with photos)
- The wisdom of stones (poem)
- Snow on ancient stones (travel essay and photos)
- I will not carve you in stone (poem)
Next Post: Dreams – Saturday 27 March @ 1 AM (Eastern US)
Follow Beach Walk Reflections
- Facebook (BeachWalk Reflections)
- Instagram (BeachWalk Reflections)
- Twitter (@ReflectionsWalk)
- WordPress (Follow or Subscribe)