Archive for March 5th, 2023

It’s not always bad news…

Reason #28- The Ocean

I remember going to the beach as a kid growing up in Southern California.  I have very fair skin and usually sunburned before I was enjoying the sand and waves for very long.  After a few summers, I became proficient at building sand castles, skim surfing and surf Frisbee, and as a teen I would head to the piers as often as I could to fish for bonito.  That wasn’t very often.

The last time I visited Long Beach while I still lived in the Los Angeles area, it clouded up and a curtain of lightning bolts appeared on the sea’s horizon.  That storm closed in pretty quickly and I shot to my car and raced the thunderstorm home.  The lightning and I arrived at the same time, with bolts striking towers and trees all around me.  It was terrifying, but I did get to see ball lightning for the first and only time in my life.

The oceans were created, according to current scientific thinking, millions of years ago by the escape of water vapor and other gases from volcanoes and the molten rocks of the Earth into the atmosphere, surrounding the cooling planet.  Adding to this condensation was water and ice delivered by asteroids and comets over centuries or millennia.  Without these phenomena, it is unlikely life would have formed on earth, and we wouldn’t be here to explore its origins.

According to NOAA, the ocean produces over half of the world’s oxygen and absorbs 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere.  It transports heat from the equator to the poles, regulating our climate and weather patterns.  From fishing to boating to kayaking and whale watching, the ocean provides us with many unique recreational activities.  The world’s oceans provide more than just seafood, with ingredients from the sea found in foods such as peanut butter and soymilk.  Many medicinal products come from the ocean, including ingredients that help fight cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease.

Oh, but the waves!  Waves are most commonly caused by wind.  We have all seen cresting waves during a wind storm over a large lake or ocean, and this happens continuously somewhere in whatever vicinity you are located.  Waves can also be caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun (tides), by a weather or land disturbance off shore, such as during a hurricane or after an earthquake (tsunamis), or with large ships or land masses pushing the ocean ahead of them.

Research shows that those who live in homes by the coast experience better physical and mental health than those who do not.  Homes with ocean views had even more positive results, with those residents feeling calmer than others.  So, it’s no wonder Hawaii ranked first by several Gallup polls as the happiest state in the U.S.  The color blue is calming, and the constant ebb and flow you can both see and hear tends to be de-stimulating to your brain.

There is a long, detailed explanation as to why we have crashing waves at our shoreline, including orbital motion of the ocean’s kinetic energy, but I find the mystery and wonder more appealing than the minutia.  One need only stand on the beach or a cliff’s edge for a few seconds watching nature’s magic to get lost in it.  The combination of the rhythmic pounding of the waves on the shore and the cadence of its crashing sounds, along with a continual rumble of all of the shoreline waves together, can sooth one’s soul.


Here is an interesting quote from 17th-century mathematician, Sir Isaac Newton:  “I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

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