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 water’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 that’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
- Shapes and Shadows (a photo essay)
- Spotlight Art: Adventures in Geometry I – a painting by Goff James
- Shape of Life (a poem)
- Sacred Geometry – a pattern of life (an essay)
- Amazing Nature …. Sacred Geometry (a short essay and a collection of images)
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