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Posts Tagged ‘shore’

Nova Scotians are getting ready to welcome Hurricane Earl this morning as a tropical storm.  Hurricane Juan was far more damaging and deadly than was anticipated just hours before his visit in 2003.  It’s best to be prepared.   Even this little spider seems to have battened down the hatches…

The woods are quiet and the songbirds are nowhere to be seen.  Although it’s known that wild creatures seek safe shelters and extra food supplies in anticipation of hurricanes, scientists don’t yet know how they can sense impending stress to the natural environment.  Their ability may simply be the result of heightened sensory awareness through sight, hearing, smell and touch.

Along the shore, the surf is pounding the rocks relentlessly.  Waves are churning up seaweed from the depths.  There are likely some crabs and urchins tangled in the kelp.

Considering how quiet the woods are, I was surprised to see so many seagulls, sandpipers and cormorants hovering around the shore.  They’re probably looking for one last meal before the storm arrives.  Hopefully, they’ll all find safe shelter just in time.

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According to the Canadian Ice Service, an enormous chunk of ice, 260 sq.km. in size, separated from a glacier in Greenland last week, becoming the most spectacular event to take place in the Arctic in 50 years. The broken piece will eventually fragment and inevitably melt in warmer waters, contributing to rising sea levels worldwide.

The first 6 months of 2010 were the hottest globally on record.  [See Ice Island Breaks Off Glacier at the Weather Network].

It’s dawn and the sandpipers are gathering at low tide along the shoreline in the marsh.  They’re so intent on eating that they take no notice of humans next to them on the trail.  Their gentle piping calls to one another are a fitting accompaniment to the rising sun.

Sandpipers have always seemed to me to be among the most delicate of the shore birds.  Like the endangered plovers, their fleeting movements, whether in flight or along the edge of the water,  never give me a chance to appreciate them for long.  I wonder if they’ll be affected by the oil spill down south when they migrate this fall.  [See BP oil spill could affect Maritime plovers at CBC].

Further along the shore, growing near the strandlines, statice is beginning to bloom.  It seems odd that such a delicate flower chooses to grow here along such a rugged shoreline.   Yet it manages to survive, despite winter’s stormy waters and winds.

When I think of rising sea levels, I wonder how wildlife such as sandpipers and statice will be affected in the years to come.  Will they simply disappear?  Or will they find a way to cling to life beyond the present shoreline?

This is a beautiful planet and not at all fragile.  Earth can withstand significant volcanic eruptions, tectonic cataclysms, and ice ages.  But this canny, intelligent, prolific, and extremely self-centered human creature has proven himself capable of more destruction of life than Mother Nature herself…. We’ve got to be stopped.

~ Michael L. Fischer

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Starfish are common finds at Rainbow Haven beach this summer.  They can also be found clinging to rocks under the bridges along the Salt Marsh Trail.  Starfish rely on a constant intake of moisture for all their life systems, including mobility, and can’t survive out of water for more than a couple of hours.  

Many collectors dry starfish, pinning them while still wet in order to preserve their symmetry.  I shudder to think that the dried starfish I purchased years ago in Florida met with such a grisly end.  These days, I choose to fling the starfish I find on the beach back into the water.  Recently, I found a dried starfish flattened on a cement barricade near the parking lot.  It looked like it had been pounded flat while wet.  I know it’s just a starfish, but it seemed like such a waste of life. 

Over the years, I’ve seen children take buckets full of starfish and living molluscs away from the beach.  Unless they had a salt water tank at home ready to receive these wild creatures, why would parents allow this?   When and where do we acquire or lose our reverence for living things? 

 Awe is a big part of reverence.  Though often present in childhood, sometimes, as we grow older, it becomes difficult to keep that sense of awe alive.  Familiarity with a natural environment can also make us take it for granted.   In its practice,  reverence reveals to the world that we humbly acknowledge the presence and needs of other human beings and living creatures besides ourselves.

Litter at the beach is another sign that reverence is lacking.  People come to the beach to be refreshed by nature but don’t realize their role in maintaining this setting for others to enjoy.  Even worse, they don’t care about the living creatures that make their permanent home at the beach.  Homeowners living nearby also get extremely frustrated by the excess of litter.

Despite the presence of park signs advising owners to keep a rein on pets, dogs are frequently seen off leash.  It’s not just people who are intimidated by dogs running wild.  Piping plovers, ground nesting birds, no longer make their home on this beach due to loss of undisturbed habitat. 

As our beaches become more crowded during the summer season, it’s even more important for everyone to practice reverence towards one another and the natural environment.  We’re not alone.  Let’s not act as if we were. 

If a man loses his reverence for any part of life, he will lose his reverence for all of life.
~ Albert Schweitzer

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The sun is rising.  Quick!  Come down to the sea to witness the dawn of day.  Birds are already calling out to one another and singing their wake-up songs.

A male pheasant crows from beyond the alder bushes.  Sparrows are already in flight across the path to the shore.

The view of the sky and ocean open up just beyond the spruce trees.  It’s not far now to the rocks and stones below.

From the shore, the view is clear across the water.  The sun is being coy and staying out of sight behind the clouds.  The tide is neither high nor low, half revealing the wave smoothed rock where mermaids arrange their hair in warmer weather.

Waves pound the beach as the sky begins to darken.  Rain is on its way.  The sunrise show is coming to an end.

There’s time for just one last glance at the dawn from behind the mermaid rock.  The mermaids will soon be migrating back to our northern waters for the summer months.  Perhaps we’ll spot one this year as she sits on the rock, looking out to sea at dawn.  You never know what you’ll find along Nova Scotia’s Atlantic shore.

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You’re alone, walking along the shoreline and enjoying the sunshine and the warm sand between your toes, when suddenly you see it:  a bottle with a piece of paper in it, lying on the sparkling beach.  You open the cork and read the contents and there it is… a message for the ages… words of wisdom that promise to give your mundane world new meaning and passion…  or perhaps a connection to another kindred soul on the planet.  Ah… if only it would happen like this. 

If such life-changing messages are to be found, they’re not lying there on a sunny shore, waiting to be chanced upon.  There’s a price to be paid for their discovery.  More likely, they’re to be found on a rainy day among plastic bottles and broken lobster traps in a heap of storm debris.

They may be enmeshed in a mass of wet seaweed, recently thrown up on the shore by crashing waves.  It may be winter when the sky is grey and oppressive, and you’d much rather be indoors than outside with the cold wind biting at your face and fingers.

If the message carried within the bottle is truly magnificent, you can bet the glass vessel is  lying close to the edge of the water, destined to be pulled out to sea again if you don’t act quickly enough to pick it up.

Anyone who has ever valued wisdom or soulful connections with others knows that these are treasures you have to find for yourself.  Neither can be passed from one person to the next.  Likewise, the person who finds the bottle on the shore is the one destined to acquire its contents. 

‘I always believed the sea could bring surprises and joy.’  So said Hsiao Wei-chen of Taiwan, who recently found a message in a bottle thrown into the sea 3,000 nautical miles away by container ship seaman Oliver Hickman.  His note wished the finder health and happiness and also said the world is full of fun, love and beauty.  Apparently, Hickman makes it a regular practice to throw bottled messages into the sea.  For more on the story, see Times Live.

The world is indeed full of fun, love and beauty.  It’s also full of wonder.  You just have to get out there and discover it for yourself.

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It’s always a good time to go down to the ocean and see what you can find.  Ice and wind only make the rocks look more interesting.

Even if it’s raining, the walk down to the sea is always worthwhile because you never know what treasures are waiting to be discovered on the shore.  You don’t have to pick them up to enjoy them.  Just leave them where you find them for others to discover too.

Unless you find a stranded starfish of course.  It’s always good to pick them up and throw them back in the water.

There are so many stones, worn down and rounded by years of pounding surf.  Do we humans inevitably become like this too?  Worn down and rounded by years of worldly concerns pounding on our fragile bodies?  Look at that white stone among all the grey ones.  I wonder how it got in with the others…

The best trips to the shore are often ones when I can come ‘home with a smooth round stone as small as a world and as large as alone.’  What do you find when you visit the shore?

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea
~ ee cummings

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