A Reader recently described one of my images as “stunning“. As a beach bum amateur, I’d be happy with a myriad of ambiguous, non-negative compliments including “that’s different”, “hmmm, interesting”, or even “well, I can tell it’s a bird!” But stunning is beyond kind. Truly great photographers craft deep images that tell rich stories. I’m not a real photographer. I’m not capable of that. I just try to share my favorite beach experiences with you as quickly as possible. And of all the treasures in the huge chest of things I love about the beach, the most prized of all is being stunned.
It does not matter if it is the mortal fear felt when paddleboarding over a Shark, the deep predatory envy triggered when we see an Osprey maul a Bluefish, the overly-sweet nurturing instinct inspired by a freshly hatched, itty-bitty Piping Plover chick, the sudden gasp of joy that uncontrollably spills out when a Humpback Whale leaps from the Sea, or the deeper presences felt watching the perfect Sunset or massive Storm… the unexpected surprises of the Wild Beach trump all other experiences for me.
I love the experience so much, I’m uncontrollably motivated to take a picture of it, every, single time. Unlike a real photographer that might spend hours of intense artistry composing and editing true masterpieces, I gravitate towards over-excitedly blowing through the thousands of photos I take haphazardly each day of the endless, stunning moments taking place in the wild world around me until I hit that the few that really make me giggle with a tiny virtual thrill. Pictures are just a cheap way for me to relive the magic of being stunned by nature. Over and over and over again. And pictures have the added benefit that they can be shared with others equally hungry for a thrill they already know well and can’t get enough of, or grant a taste of it to someone who has yet to know the intense awesomeness of the Wild Beach.
Nature is no prostitute and the thrills don’t come easy for some. It takes a little patience, and a little thoughtfulness to get yourself immersed in the real world of the Wild Beach. But once you’re there, the wonders revealed are unimaginable. Truly, immersion in nature is a precisely perfect antidote to many of our human-created woes. We tend to spend so much of our time trying to guarantee our own happiness and security, that we often wind up unbearably, overly depressed and anxious. Catching those tiny, stunning glimpses of the wild and natural dramas unfolding amongst the animals in our favorite habitat can set us straight in a jiffy… reminding us of who we really are, what our lives are really supposed to be like, and showing us clearly that the biggest weakness of our massive brains is that they have encouraged us to think we are smarter than we really are.
I wish you all to catch a little stun at the beach. An incredible number of people have had their wild imaginations captured by the explosion of Humpback Whales on the Island. I’m meeting more and more folks who have come down specifically to taste the thrill; to be stunned. Sheer size alone makes the seemingly obvious case that a Humpback Lunge is the pinnacle of stunnage at the Beach. It truly is an experience not easily forgotten. I highly recommend it.
But don’t stop there. Wiggle your toes in the sand. Keep watching. Immerse yourself. And prepare for a lifetime of endless stun at the Beach. Because once you have successfully cast off the illusion of your self-complicated human life, and can instinctively feel your place as an interesting creature among interesting creatures in a stunningly beautiful world, there is no end to the thrills, the giggles, the peace, the understanding, and the good times that await you.