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  • Writer's picturePaul Cotter

Shifting Sands



Sand dunes are more than an elegant, graceful display of nature. If we take a deeper look at their undulating crests, we can learn an important truth about the world around us.


The simple but enlightening truth is this: Sand dunes are never the same from one instant to the next.


Every grain of sand is constantly shifting, blown by winds to create new configurations – even if the subtle differences are imperceptible to our eyes. The dunes that existed one minute ago will never exist again.


It’s that way with sand dunes. It’s that way with our bodies. According to physicists and Eastern spiritual traditions, it’s that way with everything in the universe: a continual swirl of energy and matter that is dancing, dissolving and reassembling every instant.


I was grateful to photograph these dunes in California shortly after sunrise, knowing this view would never be exactly the same ever again.





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12 Comments


slig249
Jun 03, 2023

beautiful

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Paul Cotter
Paul Cotter
Jun 04, 2023
Replying to

Thank you :)

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Unknown member
Jun 03, 2023

beautiful shadows. The dunes look like they are actually moving- like waves in the ocean.

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Paul Cotter
Paul Cotter
Jun 04, 2023
Replying to

Good observation. They do look like waves.

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marylettieri07
Jun 03, 2023

Yes my body is like the sand dune. It shifts and changes every day with pain or freedom. I know we will never be the same again

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Paul Cotter
Paul Cotter
Jun 03, 2023
Replying to

"Shifts and changes every day with pain or freedom" ... that's a great perspective. Thank you for sharing that.

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Andrew Ilachinski
Andrew Ilachinski
Jun 03, 2023

I could look at - and get lost in - "abstract dunes" all day ... there is something magical about them - and I think you've captured a key part of the "magic" - their ephemerality; a form of "frozen energy" or - better - as Heinz Pagels (a physicist) once put it, "Science shows us that the visible world is neither matter nor spirit; the visible world is the invisible organization of energy." Your wonderful dunes are like pixie dust sprinkled on an otherwise invisible froth of movement. Great shot.

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Paul Cotter
Paul Cotter
Jun 03, 2023
Replying to

Pixie dust ... yes, that's a wonderful way to put it. Thanks for sharing your keen insights on the ephemeral nature of things, Andy.

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dawnastromsoe
Jun 03, 2023

The impermanence of sand dunes…our bodies…our environment…our lives…


Paul, this photo gives much to ponder ☀️

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Paul Cotter
Paul Cotter
Jun 03, 2023
Replying to

Thank you, Dawna. I'm glad the image inspired some personal reflection. Nature is such a profound teacher.

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