On Living Near The Ocean

Although I do not live near the ocean now, I grew up in a small town that was close to it.  The spirit of place enters imperceptibly into one’s bloodstream; and one gets used to the tang of rotting seaweed, the early morning salt mist, the relentlessly shifting dunes, and the omnipresent screams of the gulls.  I have found that being near the ocean is restorative of health.

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Coming Full Circle

As a man hopefully grows in experience and knowledge, he will begin to notice a curious thing.  The knowledge that he continues to acquire, and the sights that he continues to see here and there, subtly redirect him back to where he first departed.  It is almost as if some grand cosmic joke is at work.  Now when I say we return to where we first started, I do not mean that we return as ignorant as when we first left.  We have grown, matured, and become more complete; there is no going back to the old ways and old days.  And yet, as knowledge grows, we begin to long for the places of our youth:  the sights and sounds of our younger days, and the pleasant connections to eras past.  Wisdom reduces all things to their essentials.

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Whether A Man Can Change, And How He May Change

Can a man change, or are his personality traits so fixed that external circumstances are incapable of adjusting them in any significant way?  This is a question that finds enthusiastic advocates for both answers.  The cynics–or as they prefer to be called, the “realists”–tell us that personality does not change.  Our knowledge contracts and expands, but the core of our being remains immutable.  We may become more polished in our presentations, or more adept at concealing our intentions, but in the end it is still the same old “us.”  We are here, and we have not changed.

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