For me, the beach has always given me an intimate feeling of oneness with the earth and the universe. That literal sensation of being warmed by the sun as one lies on their back is difficult to convey, even for the most gifted wordsmiths and champions of the English language. After recently returning from the beach, that feeling of solidarity and closeness to the Earth is fresh in my mind, and I believe that this image successfully captures this sensation. Let’s take a look, slowly moving outwards on a cosmological scale.
As humans lie on the beach, they are physically connected to the warmth of the Earth that they usually do not feel on a typical day. The sand acts as a heated mattress, as it blankets and supports the body. Looking up into the clear blue sky, an enormous ball of fire that’s millions of miles away shines its powerful rays downwards. So, one lies trapped in between the warmth of the sand at their back, and the sun’s rays at their front. That feeling of warmth, as we have most likely all experienced, massages and caresses the body in a seemingly magical way. The heat penetrates deeply into the skin, which eventually toasts the entire body. The feeling is sublime because of its naturalness. No socks or shoes or t-shirts or dresses are there to criminally impede the sun’s mighty warmth. Thus, a feeling of oneness with the earth and sun is felt.
Moving on, past the physical sensation of heat provided by the sun, there are feelings of solidarity elsewhere, too. Looking left and right, other earthlings are taking part in the same natural, wonderful process. They lie on their backs, basking in the heat that the sun generously provides. Thus, an intimate connection to humanity is immediately felt — a feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood. A feeling of humanity. The shackles of society have been lifted — at least temporarily — which empowers humans to relax and accept the natural beauty and harmony of the earth and sun.
Moreover, taking a large step backwards on a cosmological scale, our place in the universe becomes clearer from the vantage point of this picture. Looking carefully, the curvature of the earth — although subtle — is seen. Not only does this debunk the flat-earth society, it reminds us of where we stand: on a giant rocking, hurdling through the darkness that is space, around a giant fireball which gives us life, but is also ticking down to explode and exterminate us all. Lying on the shore sparks these whispers of the cosmos because we are forced to look up.
When the three aforementioned solidarities are combined, a profound feeling of oneness with the earth and the universe results. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, one of the leading astrophysicists, beautifully explains: “We are all connected. To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. And the rest of the universe, atomically.” This quotation has been inspirational as it profoundly affected how I perceive humanity’s place in the cosmos. And the shores of the beach really bring out that feeling of oneness that’s so difficult to capture with words.
My outreached hand is a symbol of connectivity to the earth, humanity, and the unthinkably enormous and mysterious universe, which engulfs us all day every day. I reach outwards to show that I feel the solidarity with the land and my fellow earthlings. And because we are all connected, at least atomically, to the universe, I can’t help but feel large knowing that my atoms were once the crucibles of high-mass stars that exploded.
In conclusion, the beach’s natural beauty places one not only on the shores of the ocean, but on the shores of the enveloping cosmos, in which we are intimately connected. The beach sets the stage for a beautifully natural, brilliantly harmonious tapestry of oneness with the universe. And I am very grateful for its service.