Monday, March 5, 2012

Humans on the Beach

The birds line up on the beach in perfect formation every day.  I have tried to figure out a rationale for why they do this.  They all face the same way and stand stoically facing into the wind.  They seem to have predesignated spots and they all know where they belong. I wonder what they are doing and how they know when to stand and when to fly off together at the same time? 

I was walking along the beach in St. Petersburg today and I had a few insights that I would like to share.  The first one is if an alien landed on the beach what would they think all these people, who are walking the beach, were doing?They would think we were a strange species and wonder what the purpose of this mass activity was. Just like me as I observe the birds.

The second thing that strikes me is that despite the number of hotels and increasing number of people on the beach, it remains pristine, clean and indistinguishable from a beach that would be vacant.  It is a beautiful beach and the numbers of people who use it does not change that wildness and beauty. It is a great testament to the intermittent altruism of the human race.

Thirdly, I have been walking on the beach every day.  Today was cold as far as beach days here go and there were far fewer people willing to brave the beach.  The wind blew hard and cold, relatively speaking, and the beach was wild and desolate and might even be disturbing to some.  I found it to be nature at its finest and although I wore a couple of sweatshirts and pulled up the hood, I still braved the beach at it's wildest.

This was my observation while I walked the beach that morning.  The few remaining people who came out showed a distinct level of camaraderie with each of the other brave souls on the beach.  This camaraderie exists on warm calm days but not in the same way.  It passes as a head nod on warm days.  Or the odd wave.  But today people spoke and stopped like we knew each other.  We shared a thought with every passer by.  It was uniquely different than all the other days out there.  I felt like part of a group who was uniquely capable of some sort of achievement that became a point of commonality between strangers on the beach.  There was no age or gender distinction just us and them.  Funny comment on our humanness.  When things are difficult we organize and align ourselves with each other.

Small microcosm of human behavior where in the bigger picture we have survived through the ages by grouping together to defeat a common foe.  When things are most difficult in the bigger scheme of things we help each other and we make connections that we might otherwise disdain or worse, ignore.

We are a funny race, we humans aren't we?  Maybe I just need to get back to work really soon.

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