144 – Shapes

Amanda at Something to Ponder About asked if I had an essay about shapes so I could collaborate with her Friendly Friday Challenge, which I invite you to visit. Amanda is in Australia and also provided the images for this post. Stop by to see her and tell her I sent you.

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

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

Because this is not my first walk here, I am aware of the sights and sounds on this beach. However, each day is a new day – plus the beach is constantly changing while certain aspects stay the same. I do not know why my mind focuses on shapes, but I will go with the flow to see what happens.

Although boundaries and outlines define shapes, the shape of the beach at the waterline is fluid – as are the clouds above – however, as I look around I see many constant shapes.

Although geometry also defines many shapes, our world provides two and three-dimensional shapes. Isn’t it interesting that circles are 2-D references while spheres are circles in 3-D?

I think about an art teacher describing drawing as a series of lines, curves, proportions, and angles arranged into something meaningful. So my mind takes me to lines, curves, arcs, planes, and points – then to polygons, circles, ellipses, and parabolas.

My mind continues through other terms such as rectangles, squares, and cubes with related terms such as pentagon, trapezoid, rhombus, and more. Let us not forget a variety of triangles such as Isosceles, equilateral, obtuse, acute, and right. I must also mention cones, cylinders, pyramids, and ovals.

My inner science teacher thinks of solids having a definite shape while liquids and gasses take the shape of their container. The surface of the sea to my right is an ever-changing fluid. I watch waves coming toward the shore. Their shape alters from a gentle roll to a curved peak that eventually dissipates into soft, scalloped edges that softly brush my feet before returning to the sea.

I look ahead and notice the smooth, curved edges of the shoreline corresponding to the shape of the waterโ€™s edge washing ashore. The beachhead is curving in and out plus up and down. My mind suddenly shifts and wonders: how many shapes one can find by examining individual grains of sand.

I look down at the sand in case my eyes catch a striking shape of a shell. I see so many shell shapes. These bilateral domes fit together to form a home. Shells of scallops have smooth, arced edges with prominent ridges radiating to the edge like shining rays. Many shells are relatively smooth but have a swirling pattern. However, they are biological relatives to the less common cones and spirals – let alone the spiral interior of the elusive chambered nautilus.

Roundness appears in some smaller shells, but thatโ€™s nothing like the roundness of a sand dollar. The arms of a starfish radiate from a circular center, but I also see each arm as a rounded triangle. I pass the circle of a jellyfish washed ashore, but looking around, circular windows on the buildings are rare.

My eyes shift to the rectangular buildings along the beach. Some are taller than wide – others wider than tall. Some buildings display curves resembling the curves of the waves. All have rectangular windows and perfectly aligned balconies.

I notice the lines of balcony railings and the fences protecting swimming pools and sand dunes – plus the lines of flagpoles, fishing poles, and walkways.

The wind causes rectangular and square flags to flutter – a time when the flags seemingly lose their shape. Yet, the wind itself has no shape.

As I pass a row of houses, I notice sloping roofs forming a triangle on the side of the house. The house itself displays a variety of shapes and proportions.

I notice my concentration on the shapes that I see, but I remind myself that we can shape with our hands as we mold, cast, model, frame, carve, cut, and whittle to make many things – including shaping the tools that to the work of shaping.

I think about shapes and the arts, such as skilled ballroom dancers making shapes to display their interpretation of the music that musicians shaped to tell a story or express an emotion. Artists carefully use many shapes to deliver images in their paintings, but I do not know what to say beyond that sentence.

Shapes are more than concave, convex, and contours because many factors shape mine and your life. Genetics, experiences, and influencers shape our identity by molding our conscience – yet others say a fully-shaped life requires the arts.

People come in many shapes and sizes. I find it interesting that the human nose has many shapes, but the nose is in the same place on each face. Now toss in the many shapes of human faces. I chuckle at the thought that our eyes catch different shapes of human beauty. After all, what pleases one person may not please another.

While shapes are much more than geometry, I look across the sea, then up to the sky, and I wonder: What is the shape of the universe? After all, we know the night sky dances to the beat of time.

A passing military airplane stimulates my thoughts of shapes from the air when I travel – seeing squares, circles, rectangles, irregular sections of land, rolling hills, jagged peaks, meandering streams and rivers, and much more from my seat high above.

As I stand looking at the water, I mentally see an image of tossing a small rock into the still water of a pond; then noticing the concentric rings radiating out from the splash point. I like that shape.

The feeling of getting a bit philosophical may be a sign to end this walk. I have enjoyed pondering shapes on this day. However, I enjoy thinking as I walk 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 Shapes

Next Post: Tension – ??? @ 1 AM (Eastern US)


92 thoughts on “144 – Shapes”

  1. “Shapes” .. what a fancsinating subject Frank , and along with your wonderfully descriptive words and superb images you’ve present a totally intriguing article … ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿค—

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I arrived at Amanda’s post before yours this morning, Frank. You are pretty much on opposite sides of the world so that seems fitting to me. I love your statement that the wind has no shape. Funny how a phrase or thought will ‘stick’, isn’t it? And I love that mellow cello sound. How hard to maintain concentration as the lead player. Thank you for your speculations and my morning entertainment.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Jo,
      Glad you enjoyed the collaboration. I must say that it took multiple emails to figure out just the timing to make it work! Glad you enjoyed the music. Although I didn’t mention it, I actually picked this one with you in mind. Thanks for sharing the phrase that stuck with you. Yes, it is interesting how different phrases stick with different people …. and s the author, I enjoy getting the news.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think my first recollection of noticing shapes was as a little girl lying in the grass looking at the clouds passing overhead….finding “animals” in each cloud shape. The only other time I’ve really NOTICED shapes is watching my own shape change with each passing year – things shifting around and reminding me that I am like a cloud with a morphing shape as I pass through the sky of my life. Your thoughts were very stimulating as were Amanda’s.


    Liked by 3 people

    1. Pam,
      Interesting how we go to the childhood memories about the shapes we see in clouds. Heck, I still spot them! I also think about the way toymakers use shapes – especially with toddler toys – and how playing with shapes enhances brain development. Thanks for sharing your personal insight. ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. This is an interesting subject, Frank. I’ve often wondered what people were thinking when I see a building that seems so out of place in its environment. Maybe they weren’t paying attention to shapes in nature.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dan,
      Thanks for the kind words. Knowing you have an eye for architecture, some buildings seem out of place. Well, at least to me. Then again, some of them are unique marvels that have a way of standing out in a good way. La Sagrada in Barcelona is a great example. BTW – Amanda has some interesting photos in her post.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Hi Dan, I notice that not only do some buildings appear out of place, some builders do not take into account aspect of the site on which the building is to be situated, meaning much more energy needs to be consumed to maintain it.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Eilene,
      I’m always happy to know that I stimulate some thought. Interesting philosophical questions about human shape. I’ll go with primarily solid …. but we sure have our share of contained liquids. Meanwhile, the changing shape of the water at the beach is mesmerizing. PS: I invite you to see Amanda’s wonderful photos on her post!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Laughed at myself when I read about noses being in the same place. Mine was broken playing basketball as a teen and they straightened it back as best they could. So, my nose isn’t in the EXACT same place, but it’s still where it should be. It’s still in good “shape.” Enjoyed the walk, Frank.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Interesting, Frank. You have me thinking how everything is a shape, and can be broken down into infinite shapes. . ..
    As for the sentence about artists, I would add that some strive to replicate the shapes they see, and others create shapes from their minds, but either way, it’s their own vision.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Shapes of all sorts are all around us.
    Sowe we are drawn to, others, for whatever reason, push us away. I think, especially of those on the spectrum – these can but them more than others. For example, my nephew would eat cucumbers at my mother’s house but never at home. Why? It took my sister a while to figure out that my mother cuts them into spears whereas she cut them into rounds. Shane does not do rounds.
    That video always brings a smile to my face.
    Happy Friday!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dale,
      So many shapes around us …. so many! Thank you so much for sharing the cucumber story about your nephew. Amazing …. and interesting that someone solved the riddle! Then again, I also smile as I think about characters as Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man – so true! Glad you enjoyed the video … and I invite you to visit Amanda to see her photos if you get a chance.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I liked this post! As an artist I play with shapes. I can attempt to mold my clay into the shape of things as I perceive them. But there are some things that defy any definition of shape – the human soul, love, kindness, curiosity, and valor. How can you define those things that are beyond the physical manifestation and how can you represent them with a shape??

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My oh my what a fasinating musical video! Very cool! And with all your talk about shapes, my mind just keeps wandering back to all the shapes I see while walking on the beach. My favorite thought was, indeed, what shapes are all the tiny pieces of sand that we give so little attention to. Great post, Frank!! ๐Ÿš๐Ÿš๐Ÿš

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa,
      I’m with you about the shapes on the beach – including the grains of sand – and mixed in with the grains are all those tiny pieces of shells, bits of coral, and countless other stuff. Oh what a world it must be. On the other hand, no matter where we are, their are many shapes to observe. ๐Ÿ™‚ After all, it’s a wonderful world! Glad you enjoyed the video …. definitely well done and fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. In recent years I’ve found the cliffs that tower above the shoreline mesmerizing. They have developed such interesting shapes after being pummeled by wind, sand and water over millennia. I’m not particularly good at noticing shapes in ordinary objects, but in the natural world I do pay a lot of attention. The designs found in nature are often intricate and complex, or the opposite, simple beauty. And the nose is indeed a funny ornament. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debra,
      Knowing your love for the nature world, I’m not surprised you notice the many shapes it offers. From the cliffs to the beach to the forest to your garden sanctuary, nature is flooded with glorious shapes! Thanks for sharing and walking along.


  11. Wow, I do believe youโ€™ve covered just about all there is to do about shapes!! A fascinating subject!
    Ears are another human feature that while on th e sides of each person;โ€™s face, they vary widely in size, shape and placement. Sometimes the shape and placement is not quite right and it points to health abnormality, even defects.
    Lips also while in the same spot for everyone can vary in shapeโ€ฆand humans can even change the shape at their whim! To make a little hole to whistle, or to turn then into a grin, or a smile, a frown, or sadly a smirk.

    When I play solitaire card games, sometimes I have to laugh at the shapes of the various lineups I have madeโ€ฆ
    Even soundwaves have their own shapes!

    I heard Bolero on the radio the other dayโ€ฆI used to not enjoy it, but nowadays I like to hear all the layers as they are addedโ€ฆand it seems to make a reverse pyramid, starting small and pianissimo, and eventually building up into full orchestra and a huge sound! Fortissimo!

    Thanks for another great post, Mr Frank!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ingrid,
      Especially because of the people you encounter at work, I’m not surprised you focused on human-related shapes. Great point about the ears, but your thoughts about the lips is something I wished I would have considered. Seems like my use of Bolero was perfect timing for you. I too love the way orchestra versions just build and build!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I love this line: “the shape of the beach at the waterline is fluid”. Later you talk about how the wind can change the shape of things. Isn’t that exactly what life is? Constantly changing shape, constantly in flux. Loved this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I get very philosophical when it comes to things like shapes.

    Like, are shapes a miracle of design or are we putting too much weight on the fact that a shape HAD to be what it is in the first place? We consider the shape of a snowflake to be a testament to the mysteries of the universe and all of its infinite beauty, and it is. But what if snowflakes were hubcaps and hubcaps were snowflakes? And before you say “Nah, snow that big can’t be good”, I remember the snows off Lake Michigan and in Bar Harbor Maine in the dead of winter and yes, they are that big, LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I agree with you at the end, that you were philosophical in this post. It’s a good thing, and it sounded like you had many thoughts on the beach walk. Fascinating how there are endless shapes around us, from a speck of sand to the outline of a seashell and the countours of our noses…all shapes and there are endless shapes out there. I love Amanda’s site. She is a great blogger ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That is so true, all you have to do is take notice to notice some shapes. Anything can be a shape, and some shapes are more common than others. Always a pleasure to come over and read about your walks and your part of the world. Take care, Frank.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Enjoyed the beach walk featuring shapes – and enjoyed the art teacher and science teacher musings

    The closing video with bolero and the team approach was super creative and quite outstanding

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yvette,
      Thank you for letting me know some of the points you enjoyed. Shapes is something that fits all subjects – therefore not limited to math, art, and science The video has a lot to offer, and creativity and teamwork are two of themes. Plus – it’s enjoyable and well done!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Always love your thorough look at a subject. I love your comparison on the face and how the nose is different, and always on the same place.

    And ballroom dancing…there is so much to ponder there. Stellar post/words as always Frank. Donna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Donna,
      Thanks for the kind words and good to see you this morning. Shapes offer much to think about, and in time, I wouldn’t be surprised if a second shapes essay appears in the future. In terms of ballroom dancing, shapes is something the high-level dancers do very well.


  17. My favourite part of your reflection is “People come in many shapes and sizes. I find it interesting that the human nose has many shapes, but the nose is in the same place on each face”. We are all unique – and yet, not so different after all. I wonder why it is we don’t embrace this sameness more often …

    Walking with you on the beach is always thought-provoking … thank you for welcoming us into your space.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ju-Lyn,
      Glad you enjoyed this walk. It is so interesting that we appeared to be so different yet are much more alike. Maybe much is about the perspective we use to examine similarities and differences. Thanks for the kind words about my essays. I aim for a combination of relaxation while provoking thought. )


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