There is something about being on a beach that entices and draws people. Images of shorelines and seasides are among the most popular subjects for artists and photographers. Billions of people worldwide flock to the beach every year, even if they are packed with crowds. It's to be expected since 40% of the world's population lives in proximity to the coast, and over 70% of the globe's surface is covered in water. It is not a modern occurrence either. People have been drawn to the sea since the rise of man. So what is it about the beach that calls to us?
Asking people how they feel about the ocean and beach brings responses ranging from excitement to emotional tears. Some love the beach to experience the raw force of nature experienced there, wading into the ocean to feel the sheer power of the surfs' push and pull on them. Others speak of a spiritual experience, a grounding with the earth as the sand massages their feet and the tides swirl gently around their ankles. Still, others speak to the calming influence and stress relief of gazing to the distant curve of the earth or sitting by a beach bonfire , listening to the night waves sing against the shore. It goes without saying that beaches are just a great place for people to meet and have fun.
There is science behind these experiences too. Waves breaking on the shore releases negative ions in abundance; in turn, these ions create positive endorphins and energy in people. Additionally, the waves' rhythmic frequency creates auditory white noise at the right Hz levels to induce a calming influence on the mind. The simplicity of the horizontal lines of shore, sea, and sky creates a deprivation zone free of harsh vertical, interrupted, and broken lines that can cause stress on our eyes. Putting feet in the sand provides a warm earthy grounding which is taken to another level when stepping into the water gives a sense of wholeness as eddies swirl around ankles. The smell of the ocean is another aspect that reinforces a positive olfactory experience in association with the other beach experiences.
I don't need the studies to tell me about loving the beach. From the moment I arrive near a beach and smell the ocean, my senses heighten. The anticipation increases when my toes sink in the sand, and I move to the water's edge. Usually, I catch myself in a trance-like stare out at the edge of the earth, in awe. As an electrical being in an electric universe, stepping into the ocean immediately regulates and balances my energy. It is as if the abundance of life, past, and present, in the ocean and earth's heartbeat in the waves put me in sync with its timelessness. The thought that the same water in me has been shared by other living things as well as the rivers and oceans of this living planet gives me a sense of timelessness and oneness with my world. At the water's edge, I feel as if I am at earth's border with the universe and one with eternity. It doesn't matter if I am alone with a stretching sunrise, in a crowd during the day, or sharing a lingering sunset; the beach speaks to me.
Looking at the number of Eric's beach paintings, he obviously has the beach bug too. We are happy to share the Dowdle beaches from around the world with all of you. Find your beach and celebrate it. If there is a magic beach or coastline we should add, please let us know.