On a COVID Beach Walk

So Frank has decided to commandeer my blog for a beach walk, like in those cop shows when the dude waves his badge in the middle of the street and rides off with some poor schlep’s Mid-size?

Okay maybe not. Instead Imma call this a friendly visit from Frank “Beaches” Angle, who is going to try his damndest to class up the joint for a spell with one of his beach walks. I warned him that I’m beyond help, but he’s just not having it, so there’s that.

Anyways, enjoy the walk!

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.

Today, I walk with a heavy heart. I think about one year ago – late February 2020 –  a time when we were entering our final week as snowbirds at the beach – doing things for the last time before returning to our northern home. COVID had entered the USA, but life for my relatives in Italy had already ground to a halt.

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A year ago was a time when some proclaimed the virus contained in the USA; passing through like the wind, therefore limiting cases to a handful of 20-25. A year ago was a time when some dismissed COVID cases compared to the flu.

A year ago, we saw reports of overwhelmed Italian hospitals and the beginning of the assault on New York City. We were preparing for our two-day journey home where my wife would have a few days to reorganize before departing on her annual cruise with her friends – leaving the husbands behind to fend for themselves.

During her week away when Ohio and other states went into lockdown – a time when people ravaged grocery stores and stocked up on paper and cleaning products. After seeing televised reports, my wife would call from a port to ask what was going on. Her ship made it back and hasn’t had passengers since she disembarked. She told me of the ship’s precautions and the crazed behaviors she observed at the airport.

As I draft this one year later, the death toll in the USA just passed 500,000. Yes, the USA – a country that is 4% of the world’s population having over 20% of the world’s pandemic deaths. 

I think about my time here at the beach one year later – fewer snowbird renters, restaurants are not busy, and fewer people in stores. The great music venue only 300 steps away is a regular place for us, but a place we never entered this year.

I think about my cousins in Italy who spent months in their apartment; and only allowed to leave for necessities. Only one of them going to a market where they may have to wait in line to enter; and then have a limited time to shop.

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I think about how a democracy can be messy. Too many Americans declaring a violation of rights based on Constitutional principles they misinterpret. People with countless reasons to justify a position – reasons that may be valid or invalid. Elected officials politicizing human health and general welfare – something that is still difficult for me to grasp.

I think about those who said they are living in a Communistic state. I wonder if the Czechs in the 1940s would agree when the Allies handled their democracy to the Nazis on a silver platter. What would the same Czechs say after the Soviet occupation took hold after the war – a control lasting over 40 years. 

I think about those who provided simple solutions as, “We have to learn to live with this virus.” Isn’t that what masking does? Is that the role of social distancing? Isn’t that getting a vaccine to everyone as quickly as possible? Isn’t that choosing to take the vaccine?

Over 500,000 Americans, gone in a year. Yes, a small percentage of our total population – but still, a half a million with tens of thousands more on the near horizon – and so many died alone.

I think about how the past year has ripped away something for everyone – yet, I laughed when American late-night host Jimmy Kimmel said at the beginning of Lent – (I paraphrase) – What is left to give up for Lent?

Over 500,000 people – gone – family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers to someone. Advocates, givers, and jokesters – the athletic, the artistic, the organizers, and the doers – the rich and the poor – the famous and the ordinary – the empathetic and the selfish – the nice and the mean – the positive and the negative – the young and the old – the humble and the egotistic – gone.

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Over 500,000 people –  more than the cumulative USA battlefield casualties of major wars. People with quiet integrity and huge hearts. People whom we’ve never met. People that we would be proud to know.  Gone – and most with a limited funeral at best. 

I think about a higher number – those losing their job during the pandemic – some of those jobs never to return. Food banks, present to help the needy, but with new demands stressing their supply. Cheers to the many who stepped forward to help the supply – but the demand continues. 

In a conversation last summer, I asked this question: What have we learned? But, I wonder if people can answer that question beyond their political bias. One year later, after turning life in the world upside down – after a year of many losses – I occasionally still ask that one question, but seldom get a thoughtful answer.  

On the plus side, it’s been a year of celebrating health care workers, although we may not understand their stress. We celebrate that science works – although many still don’t understand it. We celebrate that kindness still works – even something as simple as checking on someone. 

I think about how every one of us lost numerous opportunities and precious time. Some of us have handled it better than others. Then again, the selfish are seldom happy.

Yes, my heart is heavy today. Like many others, I reminisce of better times and hope for better days ahead. On the other hand, I’m still standing on the upward side of the grass; healthy and walking on the beach – which is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Frankly Speaking, Life’s A Beach

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Imma be preempting our regularly scheduled “Heroes” episode in order to dish up some breaking news that is actually worth its weight in bold. Because my punctilious pen pal, the golden gloved gallivanter, the kid I call Cincy . . A Frank Angle . . . yeah. He’s back. 

He’s got brand new digs (click here), that will prove refreshing to your senses and his debut is coming up next week- Tuesday, October 20th. So make sure to stop by and give him some love. And because we ain’t gonna tease when we can please, Cincy has supplied us with a very special preview of what’s to come. 

Enjoy the walk . . .

 

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

Ever think about seeds? They seem so simple at a glance – even on closer examination. We typically think of a hard, thin outer shell with a softer inside. 

On the other hand, this seemingly plain object is the beginning of something new – something beautiful – something useful – a green plant that can be as simple as grass or are grand as a large tree.

Earth’s annual regeneration of seeds for release (many in the fall) – possibly covered by winter snows – yet ready for renewal in the spring so the cycle can repeat – all this with its goal of perpetuating the species.

I think of the farmer preparing the land before planting the seeds. Whether scattering the seeds randomly or planting them in straight rows with distinct spacing, time delivers something that belongs to all of us – bountiful crops and flowers. 

As I walk, trees are sparse – only found on the grounds of some condominiums – although they are naturally found a short distance away from this beach. I think about a forest. Somewhere in that forest’s history, there was a time of one tree – the first tree. One tree that came from a seed. From that one tree came other trees – each coming from a seed.

I think about the sizes and shapes of seeds – from the tiniest orchid seed to a type of coconut containing the largest seed – shapes as squares, oblong, angular, triangles, round, egg-shaped, bean-shaped, kidney-shaped, discs, and spheres. Some seeds with lines and ridges – others perfectly smooth – plus in a variety of colors, and some even speckled.  

A seed has three components – an outer protective coat, the embryo for growing into a new plant, and the food source giving the embryo and young plant its initial food source for growth – all aspects for increasing a chance for survival.

Ever notice how leaves sprout early from a seed? Yes, leaves for producing food for the youthful, growing plant because the initial food source is small. 

Seeds hold the potential to produce something new because they contain hope and promise for something new. But not all plants use seeds for reproduction. For instance, mosses or ferns do not  – but seed plants are the ones that dominate the plant world. 

This causes me to think about our fertility – that is, the seeds within us. The promises that we hold that can produce a bountiful yield.

Interesting that the sperm of human males are called seeds, but in the plant world, seeds are something produced after the sperm fertilizes the egg.

Seeds are mobile, so they must have adaptations to move them around – a method of dispersal. Some have wings to be carried by the wind. Some have barbs, burrs, or hooks to attach to fur, feathers, or even human clothing to be dropped elsewhere. Some are buoyant so moving water can transport them. Others are surrounded by fleshy fruit that will be eaten, therefore the seeds can be exposed and deposited elsewhere for potential growth. 

I remember the large oak trees at my previous home. Each producing a bountiful supply of acorns – but not the same number each year. Each acorn with a coat, an embryo, and food supply. Each acorn is the potential for a new oak tree. However, all those acorns from one tree – a culinary feast for squirrels preparing for winter – so I wonder how many of all those acorns will yield their acorns in time. 

Seeds are that structure we plant in fertile soil and associate with terms as vigor, viability, dormancy, and germination. Seeds are also a source for food, oils, cooking ingredients, flavorings, jewelry, and even deadly poisons.

Besides a simple design yielding a complex adult, the seed is also a useful metaphor.

People are hidden seeds waiting to become viable vessels of knowledge. Because every seed has the potential for a significant result, seeds are a symbol for the potential that is in each of us for a positive future – a power of hope and possibility. Teachers hope to plant a seed in students – a seed that develops over time into something valued by others and society – their role in cultivating humanity.

Seeds are the ideas coming to us from thinking. The something that initiated a thought process that leads to personal action for improving life. The seeds of discovery lie in the knowledge of determination through the human spirit.

I think about how each of us has a bright side and a dark side – the good seeds and the bad seeds. Seeds are a symbol for laying the groundwork for future development as planting the seed – but some use planting the seed for promoting negative feelings or a downfall.

Religions rely on the seeds of faith while politics prefers manipulating the seeds for selfishness.  

A heart contains seeds of love that are waiting to sprout a new life with that special someone.

I think about how entrepreneurs use “seed money” for starting a new business. I also remember during my youth using “bird feed” or “chicken feed” as a term for a small amount of anything – something paltry or minuscule in amount.

Seeds – that simple, interesting, incredible, and successful biological design found in nature that plays a large role in human life. I don’t recall what triggered thinking about seeds on this day, but it has been an interesting mental journey and exercise as I walk. After all, I like walking on the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.