Philisophical Musings

of an agnostic polyamorous heterosexual artistic soul

Bubbles in the surf

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This morning, koggala beach, 6:30 AM after a half hour run, I made an attempt to meditate. I guess the sand fleas put an end to that. I think they must have been attracted to the sweat still on my body. Concentration with my eyes closed was not to be an option. As I stared out at the surf, I lost myself in thought as the waves crested, broke and rolled, expending their short lived bravado until the next wave came to suck them up.

As I was watching, I saw how the crashing of the wave produced an immense amount of foam. What seemed like a white mass of churning water was actually millions of small bubbles of air, ranging in size from the mostly imperceptible to fist size. Millions of invisible air molecules, struggling to break free from a thin film keeping them prisoner, if only momentarily. From so many levels, it is fascinating to think about what is going on here. Where did those molecules of air come from? Were they plucked from the air as the wave crashed in on itself? Or maybe they were released from the water after passing through any number of sea creatures. And where does the power of the waves come from, why does it never stop? How small can a grain of sand become? Is there a limit, or does it simply continue eroding until it is no longer visible to the naked eye?

As I watched the foam being beat out of the water and making its way towards shore, i noticed that although many millions of bubbles began the journey, only a few managed to reach the shore, and of those, even less managed to last long enough to be carried back towards the next crashing wave. And i thought, what if each of those bubbles represented one of us and the journey from crest to shore stood for our lives.

If we mark the shoreline, the farthest point to which a bubble might reach, as the “ideal life”, we will see that most never even reach that point. Of all the millions of bubbles created when the wave first crashes, only a small select group will make it to the shoreline. A few, very few, will actually last long enough to be pulled back out towards sea, only to be met by the next wave arriving at shore.

How much is this just like our lives? Every person has some sort of “ideal life” they hope to fulfill. This could be long life. Or wealth. A large family, lots of grandchildren. I would say that most people the world over see as part of an “ideal life” the ability to get old while staying healthy, and if wealth goes along with that, all the better. But how many ever achieve such results? Probably about the same minority as bubbles which reach the shoreline. There are still many countries in the world where the average age at death remains around 40-60, not exactly a ripe old age in the modern world. Alternatively, in our country, where many do in fact reach a respectable age before dying, they are often not particularly healthy, and more often not terribly happy. And in this sense, their bubble has also burst before reaching the shoreline.

And who is to say which bubble i am, or you are? Fortunately we have little say in that. It is a combination of awareness, hard work and, in the end, luck, to be able to count yourself among those lucky few.


Written by Philoman

December 3, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Posted in Just words

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