124 – Containers

I meant well last week as I planned two posts. Needless to say, that didn’t work out as various aspects of life got in the way. However, I hope to try again this week. Thanks for understanding.

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

Before coming out to walk, I watched a container ship come over the horizon from the balcony – presumably on its way to a nearby port. As I stand on the shore looking out to sea, I still see it.

I think about why we call them container ships. After all, they are large ships loaded with many containers. Each container is a metal cell. I imagine a look inside the container would reveal other containers. Yes, a collection of containers within a container. Some may be boxes, and within the box could be other boxes.

Photo by Soly Moses on Pexels.com

No matter if one container or a series of containers resembling a nested Russian doll, all containers serve as a protective barrier between the contents inside and the environment of its outer world.

Today I think of containers as enclosed spaces used to hold or transport something – a vessel, repository, canister, drum, box, case, tub, crate, barrel, and more usually composed of metal, wood, plastic, paper, or fabric – even breakable glass and ceramics – containers for packing, shipping, and storage – some rigid and others flexible.

While cruising Alaska, I recall seeing tugboats pulling a barge loaded with semi-truck trailers stacked vertically and horizontally. I imagine each trailer loaded with other containers, and then each of them containing something special. Of course, a container may contain boxes, then each box containing boxes – possibly a series of boxes. Yes, containers within containers that are within containers.

Containers are not new as they have been around nearly as long as humans – probably first for storing food or water. I think about archeologists uncovering ceramic containers from an earlier time. Yet, I think about the containers that people regularly carry today as purses, wallets, backpacks, and more.

I look at the beach-side condo buildings – some tall, some long, and some short. Suddenly I see them as a series of containers lined up and evenly stacked. Each protecting the inhabitants and their belongings. Each with a temperature control system allowing additional heat when it’s cold, but cooling when it’s hot – let alone the ability for each unit to set a preferred temperature.

I look down at the shells on the beach and realize they were nonliving materials made by a living thing to serve as its container – a container that was not present at birth, but one that an organism started producing for itself at a particular point in its life cycle.

I see the sandpipers and sanderlings foraging the sand for food – food that will enter each bird’s digestive tract – a long container designed for a living purpose. Then again, each bird is a two-legged container with wings.

A military jet roars past me. I smile as I think of it as a flying container protecting the pilot from the outer environment. My eyes shift to the clouds, now thinking of them as containers of water vapor that may eventually gather enough moisture causing it to squeeze like a sponge. My mind shifts to another military container – a submarine – so I wonder about the location of the nearest one.

Peering through the blue hole in the clouds toward the heavens and space, I think of the orbiting space container known as the International Space Station, which serves as a protective barrier between the astronauts and the harshness of space.

I think about those astronauts who use a spacesuit for spacewalks – a specialized container serving as a barrier between two environments – one suitable for the human body, and the other devastatingly harsh. To me, the spacesuit container is similar to a can of vegetables on the grocery shelf.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The astronaut’s body within the spacesuit is also a container with a barrier separating different environments on each side of the barrier. Within the human body are several open-spaced cavities, each with sealed spaces for organs. The body seals the chest cavity with a protective barrier to play a role in inhaling and exhaling. A protective covering also seals the brain inside the skull’s container. Yes, another container within a container that is inside the protective container for a spacewalk.

Tissues and organs within the body’s containers are composed of cells. Surprise, surprise, surprise – cells are also containers because each cell has a protective barrier separating two environments. Unlike the astronaut’s protective spacesuit container, it is through these membranes that essential materials pass through to reach their site of need for processing. Through these same membranes, the waste removal process occurs.

Cells contain individual parts with specialized functions. Are you surprised to know that protective barriers cover each part to separate two distinct environments?

Cells are the reason we take in oxygen from the atmosphere and return carbon dioxide. Cells are the reason we eat. Cells are the reason the heart pumps blood throughout the body to transport nutrients and carry away wastes. Cells are the reason we go to the bathroom. Cells are the reason all vital activities exist. Now that’s a fancy container.

Photo by Fayette Reynolds M.S. on Pexels.com

Cells must survive to reproduce. Cells require food and eliminate waste. Cells must interact with their surrounding environment. Cells require amino acids to produce proteins. Cells contain DNA to serve as the code of life not only for themselves but for the organism as a whole. As scientist Bruce Lipton states, “In reality, a cell is a biological mini-me compared to the human body. A cell has every biological system that you have.” Now, that is quite the container.

As I finish this walk, I look out to the sea. That large, floating container ship carrying a series of containers to a determined destination is out of sight. I remind myself that trucks and trailers do the same on the highways and roads.

Who would have thought that seeing a cargo ship would lead to thoughts about a wide array of containers? Another question comes to me. Is our planetary home a container? Meanwhile, I enjoy thinking as I walk on the beach. That’s why it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

See what other bloggers have posted about Containers

Next Post: An Alphabet – Saturday 23rd April @ 1 AM (Eastern US)


69 thoughts on “124 – Containers”

  1. I hope all is well and you had a beautiful Easter!
    On containers, first thing that came to mind is container homes [been obsessed with tiny houses lately! ;-)] You have wonderfully elaborated on containers.
    Yamas, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marina,
      Container homes as well as other tiny houses are an interesting concept. Some are very mobile! Containers were an interesting thought, but there are so many in our life – including glasses, cups, bowls, and more in the kitchen. All well here, but last week I was just out of sync … way out! Yamas!!!!


  2. Wonderful post + Amanda Gorman. 😊
    I hope things settle down for you, Frank. Of course, I see those huge container ships all the time–sailing in and out of the port of Philadelphia, though they stopped temporarily in the first phase of the pandemic.
    And I thought of our own bodies, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Now I’m thinking about the fiber optic cable containing the bits of information streaming to me. Each bit containing a combination of eight ones and/or zeroes. When reassembled and rendered on my device, I see your lovely pictures and read you though provoking words.

    Great post, Frank. I had to add the container I spent my career packing, unpacking and shipping 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I, too, am a huge fan of Amanda Gorman. Never will I forget her luminous presence and poem at President Biden’s inauguration ceremony. As for containers…once again you illustrate the many aspects of one word. Lots to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Driving past what I like to call “container city” makes me wonder if they are empty awaiting to be filled or put aside as waste. I definitely hope not the latter.
    Interesting post…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Amanda Gorman blew me away at the Inauguration and left a very lasting impression. As for containers, there are so many “contained” things in the world. I think the one that boggles my mind more than any – and you mentioned it of course – is the human body. What a work of art – interior containers moving in concert with one another moving the “machine” along in sometimes perfect and sometimes imperfect progression. Then when the body is no longer functioning….we go to our “final container”- or is it? Love this blog Frank. So much to think about.

    Hugs, Pam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      Glad to know that I included a bit of your thought about the human body. My biology background couldn’t let that pass – so I had to take it to the cell level. Yes – the human body is an incredible machine. There are some wonderful documentaries with that title! Thanks for the kind words and I enjoy your presence here.


  7. I love the way you think Frank. As soon as you started talking about containers I immediately went to the human body and then so did you. I love the concept of containing our physicality and also our brains, our minds. We can be rigid and flexible in the same container and that intrigues me. Obviously it intrigues you too. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      Thank you for the kind words and I’m thrilled that we connected. The entire human body is a series of containers within a container. As one comment, just like a nested series of dolls – which is the reason I went to the cell parts level. Therefore, a spacesuit is another container for the container. Even as I type now, I look around my living room and see many containers. Cheers to us being on the same page!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Containers definitely covers a lot. I think of all those ships in the ocean with their cargo of containers. They certainly have their share of problems getting things from point A to point B. I did think of the container we each dwell in – our body. Nice post Frank.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peggy,
      Life has so many containers. An the table beside me at the moment are remotes and a flashlight – two containers …. and there are many more throughout the room. So much of transportation is a container – including our cars … let alone all the semis on the road. Thanks for walking along.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I started out with ships but ended up thinking that most of life is a container, thanks to you, Frank. And here I sit, eating a tiny chocolate egg. It contains nothing but chocolate! 😋🍫❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jo,
      LOL …. Absolutely … and this is the perfect time of year to think about the chocolate eggs containing other sweets such as caramel. Yum! The bottom line is that there are more containers around us than we think! By the way, solid chocolate isn’t too bad either. 😋


  10. On a recent visit to LA, we drove by the port and saw all the container ships waiting to be able to dock and be unloaded. No wonder shelves (containers of a sort) are too often empty these days. But on my last trip I saw lots of trucks going to and for so hopefully that’s easing just a bit (although we only have one kind of Pound Plus chocolate bar at Trader Joe’s now with the others all coming at an unknown time.) I have to admit I hadn’t thought of the intestinal tract as a container although I guess it is in a way. Now for some reason, I’m yearning to put some dark chocolate into the intestinal container. 🙂 Happy Wednesday, Frank.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janet,
      Great examples. The entire transportation system is about containers – even our cars. Planes allow us to travel in a container pressurized for our comfort. Glad to here that the docks are busy. One has to wonder how long it will take to catch up with stocking supplies. We can only hope – as quick as possible! I hope you enjoyed your chocolate. This is the season for chocolate containers such as Canbury Eggs. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes, our planet is a container, contained by…the atmosphere (a word you did use in this piece). Loved Amanda’s poem, and especially her talent for the delivery of her words, not just the writing of them.

    Fascinating to watch your mind move through this topic of containers. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the old George Carlin shtick about “Stuff.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eilene,
      For me, no question that our planet is one container and home to so many living and nonliving containers. To me, a fascinating thought. Got to love Amanda Gorman. I hope she has a long and successful life of sharing her brilliance with others.

      Gotta love George Carlin. He was brilliant. After all, how else could anyone come up with such great satire about humans for so many years! “Stuff” is perfect for this beach walk – love it – and here it is! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac

      Liked by 1 person

  12. What an interesting post! I used to see a lot of those container ships being unloaded when I lived in Halifax, NS. For sure a huge container of smaller and progressively smaller containers.
    And I do think the Earth as we know and live on it is a type of container, because we live in a very special atmosphere that surrounds the earth, keeping all of us alive.

    We would be lost if we didn’t have containers to keep all our things in…life would become rather messy, LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ingrid,
      Cheers to us being on the same page about our planet as a container and the many containers of life. Eilene, the commenter before you, mentioned a brilliant routine by comic George Carlin called “Stuff”. It fits this topic so well ….. and I put the link in my reply to her. Thanks for walking along.


  13. Frank, I’m blown away by how many ideas you’ve come up with just by seeing a container ship! I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but the first thing I thought of was a long-ago store that sold containers — of all sizes, shapes, and colors, and for whatever reason anybody would ever want to store something. I suppose they still exist, but I haven’t been in one in ages … and I miss them! Hope your schedule is easing a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debbie,
      Glad I was able to take you an outside-the-box view of containers. I’m surprised I didn’t mention The Container Store! 🙂 Keep me mind that I tapped into my biology background. Just looking around your house, you will be surprised how many containers you will see. Think an inner opening space with stuff occupying it. Yep – that includes the TV remote. Thanks for walking along.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. A fascinating post, Frank.
    Definitely an unexpected topic. Well thought!
    Okay, I can’t resist. I can hardly container myself!
    Now that I have that off my chest, there’s a container (bottle) of wine waiting for me.
    Cheers! Clink!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Resa,
      Thanks for the kind words and for not resisting the urge. 🙂 I too have a glass of wine as I type …. a nice Cab Sauvignon from Washington state. A pleasant surprise. Now you got me thinking about its container journey …. the grape > press collector > fermentation tank > barrel > bottle > case > glass > digestive system > blood vessel . cell …. ahhhhh …. Clink!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Containers have a very mathematical feel to them, in that it is possible for them to fit within each other in a very tidy and pleasing fashion. Something about the useful and inter-harmonious connection is incredibly satisfying!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. A thoughtful and informative post Frank. I enjoyed it very much. The video of Amanda Gorman is so compelling. Thank you for including it. I appreciate being included here. Thank you. Take care of yourself. Sending all the best to you! 🙂 ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. As a writer of books set in prehistory, my interest in containers begin with archaeology. Yet before the use of pottery (Jericho, and earlier in Japan) people used gords, and shells, and woven baskets. Indeed, we might call our species Container Man,

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Fascinating thoughts, Frank. When we lived in South Africa, we could see container ships from our windows. I used to imagine how it must be to sit out there at sea awaiting one’s ship’s
    turn to go into the port. Sometimes they were in the same spot for days on end. I hope those sailors were able to contain their impatience. 🙂 I’ve never thought of my home as a container, but I guess you’re right. Hope your week is going well. We’re gradually getting back to normal after having a houseful of people.

    Liked by 1 person

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