Sand Peaks in Sunrise Light.
Summer in Florida calls for the beach, the sun, the cool ocean waves, and a gentle breeze. While I'm all about being immersed in our Florida waters, when at the beach my eye is often drawn to patterns in the sand. All the elements - earth (sand), air (wind), water (waves and tides), and fire (sun) collaborate to create incredibly diverse, elegant, and creative art in the grand shoreline etch-a-sketch. And like the Zen rock/sand gardens and Buddhist sand mandalas, this carefully crafted beauty is swept away by the same rhythms that drive its creation, only to be replaced by a new masterpiece. No two are ever alike. As I study these and the many gifts of nature, I am profoundly moved. And my faith is somewhat restored, that there is indeed underlying method to the madness of the world. Earth will survive despite us (and whether we do or not).
So in honor of Summer and Sand, and the Knife and Brush of Mother Artist, here are some of the moments I've captured of her work.
Calligraphy of the Elements.
And closer still.
Overflow. Tannic water escapes a brimming dune lake as it snakes a channel across the beach.
Corrugations. How does this happen?!
Three Stones. Dry sand, blowing from higher on the beach, is caught by these tiny blockades.
Textures. Wet sand at Indian Pass was whipped into a decorative stucco by stiff winds.
A Web of Beach Sands. Black minerals come to the surface in some of the tiny pools, now dry.
More black minerals and a "looser brush".
Blackwater Sand. Here, the black minerals are brought to the surface after a heavy rain on a white-sand beach of the Blackwater River.
Oysters of Sand.
Seep Trees. As the tide ebbs, water caught in the higher sands gathers into small drainage "creeks".
Juicy and sparkling. As the gentle waves recede with the tide, they leave these amazing echos in the sand.
Edges and Ridges. A whole ecosystem of lifeforms thrives here.
Sand Castles. Dried algae and other sticky organics can glue surface sand into a crust as it dries. Where the crust is toughest, castles can rise, here in the early morning light, when the looser grains tumble away in the wind.
Stormy Sand. For my sand-art photos, low raking light often plays an important role in bringing out the relief and detail.
Stone Face. OK, a little abstract, but it's there. Forces of nature and time can turn sand to sandstone. Then the erosive forces get a whole new medium to work with.
Scalloped Edge. Light plays across the ridges and gullys left by receding waters.
Mashes Sands. Here's another scalloped edge.
Misty Mountains in the Sand. This composition of sands reminded me of pictures I've seen of the mountains in Zhangjiajie, China.
Star Dust. Life finds refuge and sustenance in the sea's edges.
Wildlife Collaboration. The food chain starts with the microbial life, lending color to this image. Then the small critters crawl in to feast and draw their trails. And finally the finger-painting birds arrive to partake of the snails and crustaceans. And the masterpiece is complete.
Sand Mandala... Er, SANDmanDOLLAR?
Sand Dollar Swoosh. Here's the living version, sifting through the sand for food.
Blue Crab Art. Tucking into the sand bed in defense, soon all that will show are its stalked eyeballs.
Living Sand. Walking the Gulf beaches, look closely as the wave recedes... the sand comes alive with coquinas.
Sanderblur. Sanderlings skitter along the leading edge of the beachwash, snatching up morsels that live there. I tried to capture their speed and synchronicity and how they merge with the visuals and rhythms of the waves.
Pre-Sand. While our white (and black) beach sands come from stony mountains washed down rivers, some of Florida's shores make their sands by tumbling seashells in the shorewash.
I hope you have enjoyed my romp through one of my more abstract portfolios, that you might share the wonder and curiosity about these artsy forms in nature with me... and perhaps you too are reassured by their orderly-yet-random beauty, and how that may translate to the bigger picture.
I am always grateful for your comments here at my blog, and for your spreading the word (link) far and wide. Enjoy your summer and dip your toes in the sea, river or lake. You might see something cool at water's edge too.