Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.
I like walking on the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.
Eyes allow us to see much – the powdery sand, the waves moving toward shore then gliding across the sandy upslope, the blue sky, the shiny sun, and its reflections, plus much more.
When we concentrate and carefully look, we notice so much more. For those who take the time to look, nature offers many wonderful details for us to admire: the designs, patterns, colors – not only here where I walk, but throughout the natural world.
However, today I wonder about the hidden world – the world that we cannot see with the unaided eye. The world that is too small, too far away, too fast, too slow, or even covered, or enclosed, or concealed.
The hummingbird’s wings move fast and appear to us as a blur – yet technology can slow the video enough to capture the elegance of the wing motion – to notice similarities and differences with other winged creatures. The same video technology allows us to analyze fast human motions as running, skiing, skating, swinging a golf club, tennis racket, or baseball bat.
At the opposite end of the scale, technology can capture slow movements of massive structures as glaciers and tectonic plates. Motion that we measure in inches or centimeters per year.
As I peer across the sea, the water covers much that is below. Many things are large enough to see with the unaided eye, but they are below the water. We cannot see the mountains, ridges, and canyons below as we stand on the shore – let alone all the aquatic life. The ocean’s depth is a world without light, so our vision is limited. This is a world of yet-to-be-discovered life. This is a world containing the lost-then-found, such as the Titanic and other sunken treasures.
As I think about the water covering all below the surface, my mind sees a parallel to what lies below the land’s surface. The life – minerals – signs of humanity’s past are not only below, but also layered with the youngest closer to the top. Technology allows us to see whatever is covered. Then, we may physically expose it for the world to see its past.
Whereas our skin and hair cover the internal world within us, various scans and imagery give medical professionals a closer look. The X-ray shows a bone fracture or a tumor. The MRI visualizes the brain by peeling it layer by layer like an onion. Laboratory tests provide a view of many activities in the blood.
I look at my arm to think about the invisible world that is too small to see with the unaided eye – a world that simple microscopes take us into – the world of single cells. The world of two or more groups of like cells organized into tissues. The world of seeing various parts of a single cell. Parts that work together as a complex machine we know as a life form.
Other technologies take us into the world of atoms and molecules that make up those cell parts. Atoms and molecules in constant motion – let alone comparing the motion of solids, liquids, and gases.
Telescopes allow us to explore the heavens above. That world has expanded with fly-by exploring missions like Voyager, Cassini, and others, which gives us a closer view of our celestial neighbors. I cannot forget the fascinating and mystical view of deep space from the Hubble telescope.
It seems my brain hurts as I think about the hidden world that I cannot see because it is too small, too far away, too fast, too slow, or even covered or enclosed. But all of which technology allows us to see or at least understand. Maybe the hidden world is like a secret – that is, unknown – but unlike a secret, one to be known.
Hidden can also be a message, talent, door, or agenda. We can also have a hiding place or rely on the fog or night to make something hidden. But for me,, thinking involves making connections to help me understand and wonder about the world. Both of which are important as I walk the beach. 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 posted about hidden
- Nature in Super Close-up: Beautiful Colored Micrographs (photos & essay)
- Robert Dash (interview with micrograph photos)
- Fall Forest Textures (
- Macro-musings (photos & essay)
- Hidden in the Fog (poem)
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