137 – Dynamic Equilibrium

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.

As I walk this morning, waves gently wash ashore. The tide is low, but I see what the overnight lowering tide delivered – a vast smooth walking area of tightly packed sand that makes walking very easy. This is optimal – but the beach wasn’t this way yesterday. How will it be later today with the tide much closer to the high point than the low? How will the beach appear tomorrow? Time will tell.

Looking across the vast water, I wonder about the amount of water covering the surface of our blue planet. Let alone the water in the air and below the surface that none of us see.

Photo by Peng Louis on Pexels.com

If a plastic bottle had holes in its side, everyone knows water entering the bottle would flow out the holes. Yet, we can maintain a steady water level inside the bottle if the amount of water entering the bottle is the same as the amount of water exiting. The water is constantly changing, but the amount of water in the bottle stays the same. That’s a dynamic equilibrium.

As I watch the waves roll toward the beach, water evaporates from the sea’s surface. I can’t see it happening, but I’m confident that it is because this process occurs constantly. Yet, a variety of weather conditions affect the rate. Let us not forget that water returns to the surface from the clouds as precipitation. Just as the water with each wave does not stay onshore and returns to the sea, water moves from the sky to the surface – then from the surface to the sky. That’s a dynamic equilibrium.

Carbon also moves in a cycle through nature. From the carbon in the air as carbon dioxide to the carbon in food that we eat as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, we return carbon to the air as carbon dioxide. Green plants take in that same carbon from the air, then the carbons move through every food chain in life. Nitrogen, another essential for life, moves in a similar pattern. That’s a dynamic equilibrium.

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The cells in the sea have water constantly entering and leaving them – yet, under normal conditions, they don’t burst or shrivel. That’s a dynamic equilibrium.

Recycling materials from our daily waste stream to return them to a usable product is similar to nature cycling renewable resources such as water, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen – an example of human involvement in dynamic equilibrium.

Populations in nature have a natural fluctuation – sometimes below average – other times above – yet constantly rolling around an average. Respectful hunters know that game wardens establish limits based on natural populations, which preserve the population’s balance. This constant change around an average is a dynamic equilibrium.

Calcium, a primary component of shells, returns to the sea as the shell slowly dissolves. Whether on the beach or in the water, the decaying fish is part of nature’s method of recycling matter. Yes – nature’s way of intertwining birth to death and dust to dust. These actions and others like them are very much about a dynamic equilibrium.

As I watch birds fly searching for food, I think about nesting habits – especially migratory birds. Springtime is a flurry of activity with birds building new nests as preparation for the mating season. Birds make new nests while old nests fall from the trees left to be recycled into the soil by decay. In nature, building and destroying habitats is ongoing – that’s a dynamic equilibrium.

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

I look around to see various reminders, shells of calcium, water of hydrogen and oxygen with sodium chloride dissolved in the sea’s water – let alone phosphorus and other minerals – the carbon in all living things, as well as the nitrogen in their proteins. Each of these elements cycling through nature is a dynamic equilibrium.

On a grander scale, these elements came from supernovae, and to think they have been cycling for a very long time is an overwhelming thought – but sharing elements with the stars is also dynamic equilibrium.

Sands on the beach shift daily – yet it remains sand. Shifts are more during gusty winds and violent storms such as hurricanes, which can be strong enough to open new water channels while closing others. Yes, the daily changing of the beach that I see is a dynamic equilibrium.

Dynamic equilibrium – the ever-changing state of balance that occurs all the time. Some processes are slow, others fast – but all are important in life as we know it here on our planet. Thanks for letting me regress to my teaching days as a walk – especially as I walk today on the wide swath of tightly packed sand. After all, I like walking on the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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65 thoughts on “137 – Dynamic Equilibrium”

          1. Laurie,
            Here’s a bit of a different viewpoint of human activity. Whereas some like to say Mother Earth is sick or weakened due to human activity. I’m one saying Earth is not sick – but very strong because it responds to human activity by establishing a new equilibrium. Unfortunately, the new equilibrium is established at the expense of variety of life forms.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s hard to imagine, that volume of water or in fact the amount of but I would say according to science has been roughly the same over time as it evaporates, reforms to drop here and there some places more than others over time. 🤔

    I wonder about the formation of mountains and those underground fresh springs..
    There’s a whole lot we still are learning as we ponder upon the magnificence of our Earth..
    Wonderful to read first thing as I ponder more upon my day. 💙

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Miriam,
      Thanks for the kind words and cheers to the fascination that nature gives us. I think “dynamic equilibrium” is something most people realize – but they may not understand its depth and magnitude. Then again, I can only do so much in an essay. But it was fun to think about!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The design is perfection, everything else is just trying to catch up. And it’s indeed a humbling reminder that we don’t have to be perfect, but that we should strive for it nonetheless. Because hey, it’s worked for this big blue marble for a pretty long time now so yanno, there might be something to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marc,
      What can I say? he Big Blue Marble is a fascinating place! The planet’s constant tweaking to maintain dynamic equilibrium fascinating me … so many intricacies and details in its complexity that fit together into a detailed puzzle. Yes – it’s worked for a long time – but not at the same level of dynamic equilibrium,

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Merril,
      Yep – not only do we depend about dynamic equilibrium, but so do all life forms. Then again, if the planet adjusts to the new balance, some will suffer – and our species is not immune to Earth’s wrath. After all, how did the dinosaurs do with the adjustment to a new dynamic equilibrium?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As I read your words I am fascinated by the complex simplicity of equilibrium around us. And then I think of the spanner in the works. Humans try to change that equilibrium for selfish reasons. We don’t think of the damage that we do while we rape the planet. There was a wonderful article on TV about what would happen to the world if humans were not here. It would heal. But if the planet’s equilibrium is destroyed, we will die. That’s pretty simple for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      You are a bright lady, so keep thinking. There is no question that the world around us offers many complexities pondering … and the connections within it are fascinating. The world is a network – but a collections of independence. Meanwhile, there is no question that human activity has a wide range of effects. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I liked your reference to the carbon idea of where it came form and where it goes to, etc…some might not be found back too easily as that is what beautiful diamonds are made of!
    Before I read your post, and hhad just seem the title, I thought of the dynamics of the mind and how we need to balance our emotions into a type of equilibrium…else we would be rather unstable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ingrid,
      Balance is a word with many applications. With living things maintain a balance, I think of the process of homeostasis. WIth Earth processes, I like dynamic equilibrium … but they are very similar. I smile seeing that you mentioned carbon in your comment. Interestingly, there will be a future beach walk about carbon. 🙂


  5. Equilibrium and balance are “comfortable” but I think we are seriously effecting our lives and our future by upsetting that balance in our seeming inability to keep our beautiful earth in balance. Life is fragile enough without tipping the scales.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Something to think about for sure. Can’t seem to keep up with all the posts from my blogger friends – so excuse me if I don’t comment more on your great thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting walk and discussion today, Frank. Thank you for explaining this concept so even those of us who aren’t scientifically-minded can understand and appreciate it. You must have enjoyed teaching very much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debbie,
      Thank you for the kind words. The fact that you admit not being into science … even struggling with it … your praise is extra special. Scientifically, I’m a conceptualist – one trying to make connections and finding commonalities. Details are important – but not do everyone. Besides, focusing on the details can mask the connections.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Bruce,
      Welcome back – but I saved the official welcome for the Learning walk. This place is all about relaxation and thinking on a variety of subjects. Each walk is focuses on a topic – and the topics are all over the map. I invite you to visit the Topics List page/tab. Past topics are linked – and you may enjoy the two beach walks about baseball! 🙂


  8. I enjoyed this post, Frank. It is comforting to know that we humans are a part of nature’s cycles, both in life and after we die. I think you must have been a very effective teacher. Once a teacher, always a teacher. 🙂 Have a great weekend! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The water bottle was a perfect example, of something I sort of know, but now I know better.
    I’ll bet you were a fab teacher!
    You still are. I’m always a little smarter and/or happier after reading a beach walk. Thank you, Frank!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m laughing here because after the last couple of rainy days I’ve been watching an industrious little bird making a new nest, not in the trees, but in our gutters. Dude’s had it with trees and natural soil decay, going for something more stable. Perhaps his own version of dynamic equilibrium!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ally,
      Livings things are a resourceful lot. At least the gutters provided an alternative. I wonder what happens to the nest when the bird family departs. Will they return? Will another less-industrious species occupy it in the future? Will it fall or be knocked down to decompose? TIme will tell.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Jennie,
      With or without us, there are so many activities going on to achieve – but we also very much part of it. So are rabbits, bacteria, plants, fungi, and all the other live forms. Then again, I question if any other organism has the ability to impact others as much as us!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I can truly get lost in thought with appreciation for the rhythms, cycles and balance in nature and our earth’s systems, many of which are observable, and in others, as you’ve so perfectly outlined, we experience without any consciousness at all. Credit to you for such excellent essay complementing the the term “dynamic equilibrium.” Nicely done, Frank!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debra,
      You caught one of my points. There are so many activities going on for dynamic equilibrium. They are mesmerizing and easily to get caught up in the awesomeness. To me, they are also subtle … make that very subtle. Glad you enjoyed this walk!


  12. It is a circle of life, thing. And it is ever changing. I know global warming has hurried the process that would probably happen naturally. Earth has gone through so many transformations since its existence and the species change and evolve as a result. Ebb and flow and yes, dynamic equilibrium! Excellent post, Frank.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dale,
      You mentioned something that I wish I would have thought to write … “Earth has gone through so many transformations since its existence and the species change and evolve as a result.” …. Well stated – and yes – dynamic equilibrium. Earth has done extinction before, and it can do it again.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. A beautiful post to walk with you on Frank.
    I love your teaching days any day of the week:
    “Dynamic equilibrium – the ever-changing state of balance that occurs all the time. Some processes are slow, others fast – but all are important in life as we know it here on our planet.?

    Liked by 1 person

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