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Mississippi Gulf Coast: A Tour of the Beach Ecosystem for the Senses

sea oat ms gulf coast may 9

The ecosystem of the beach is a beautiful array of sand, sea oats, birds, and other wildlife. There is a symbiotic relationship with each segment of this small society. Walking the beaches the sand and sea oats appear to blend together to form a safe haven from the wind, waves, and storms that come into the ecosystem each day.

It is nurturing to the soul to walk the beach and become a part of this ecosystem. With the senses of sight, touch, and smell it is easy to become a part of this beautiful world.

This small ecosystem along with the small islands along the coastline act as a barrier to impending danger for the residents of coastal towns. Without this protection many coastal areas would be enveloped in the hurricanes and other natural occurrences of our living Mother Earth.

We begin our tour of this ecosystem by using our sense of sight. Walking along the beach it is easy to observe the sand on the beach and the sea oats that grow within it. Sea oats are a type of grass that keeps the sand from being taken back into the sea. It is calming to watch to grains sway back and forth in the wind.

The sand sparkles as the sun beams down on the shells and fine white particles that make up the beach. There are coastal birds scurrying along the beach searching for food. A few of these birds are landing on the beach and taking a moment to appreciate the moment.

The water from the Gulf of Mexico is slowly lapping onto the beach after turning from the small waves. The water is bringing in small treasures from the gulf. There are shells from marine life that are no longer in use. The shells come in many shapes and sizes and can be picked up to be used in art or just to be admired. Others are left to return to the gulf so that they may be used by other marine life.

Our next sense to be used on this tour is smell. The Gulf of Mexico has a salty smell that immediately captures your attention. In the early mornings this smell is fresh as the coastal winds cool the early morning air.

When we pause for a moment and focus there is also the smell of the morning meals being prepared around us. In this particular area there are several restaurants open for breakfast. The aroma of a variety of foods combines and presents the most pleasant smell.

The next sense used on our tour is touch. Reaching into the sand and letting the grains filter through our fingers. It has a combination of a course and soft feel. There is a residue left when the sand has filtered through that is a bit sticky. The sand makes you a part of the ecosystem as you walk on it and feel the soft and rough texture. A wonderful sensation for the feet.

We can also pick up and touch the sea shells that are washing to the shore with each wave. Many have rough sharp ends from being tossed and turned in the water. Others are smooth as they have floated through the waters. Each sea shell once served a form of marine life. By touching and feeling these shells we have a sense of how another form of life survives in this beautiful ecosystem.

As we continue our journey into this ecosystem it is now time to turn our attention to the barrier islands. The Mississippi Gulf Coast has several barrier islands that are close enough to observe from the beaches. In the distance we can observe the ships navigating the waters carrying their cargo in and out of the coastal areas.

ms gulf coast barrier island may 9

The barrier islands act as a protector to the beaches and coastal towns from the hurricanes and dangerous waves that could destroy the coastal ecosystem. The islands are composed of large trees, brush, and a beach area. These islands have been a bottle of protection for the shorelines. Some of the islands have served as military forts in times of war.

The barrier islands also act to reduce the amount of salt coming into the gulf. This makes the water fresh as it is fed into the rivers that meet the Gulf of Mexico.

It is time for our tour to end as we return to our daily life. Our journey through this life is enhanced by experiencing the ecosystems of Mother Earth. My soul is nourished and at peace as I leave this place and continue with my journey through life.

Copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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Skipper’s Tall Tales: Beach Vacation


The sun is shining brightly on the beach this morning. I notice the sparkling on the sand as Piper takes me for a walk down the beach. We are on vacation and Piper is humming as the waves splash across our feet.

I take notice of some dolphins swimming in the surf not far from us. They are so close with their fins dancing on top of the waves as we pass by. I decide to go and join in the fun with them. Quickly catching the wind my ears begin to flap and I fly to the spot where the dolphins are swimming.

Taking a dive into the water I was able to spring onto the back of the dolphin as he was coming out of the water. The dolphin was shocked when he saw me and began to go faster in the water. Jumping up out of the water trying to shake me off it felt like I was riding a bull in a rodeo.

Faster we went through the waves until the other dolphins decided to join in the fun. I used my leash to maneuver the dolphin until the other dolphins jumped over us and caused me to fall. My ears quickly caught the wind and I flew through the air back to the beach where Piper was waiting. She was laughing at my antics and sat down on the sand as I landed near her.

Our walk continued until it was time for lunch. We stopped at a beach side café and found a spot in the shade. The band was playing fun beach music as I listened contently by the picnic table. Piper bought me a snack. I ate the food and was almost asleep when suddenly the aroma of apple pie caught my attention.

Apple pie is my favorite dish. From times past this pie has gotten me into trouble. This time the apple pie was sitting next to the drummer in the band. Piper was talking to some people around us and did not notice me slowly inching up to the stage next to the apple pie.

I jumped for the pie and did a somersault over the bass player . It was time for the drum solo as I pounced on the drums and kept the beat of the music. The apple pie was in site as the solo ended. I quickly jumped again and grabbed the pie before hitting the ground. The drummer was amazed at how well I did his solo and was not angry that his pie was now gone. I love summer vacations.

Piper said it was time to go and rest. We left the beach side café and headed toward the beach house. The sun was hot and muggy with an afternoon thunderstorm approaching. Piper took a nap as I listened to the rumbling thunder and watched the lightening strikes in the distance. It was a pleasant time to sleep with the lullaby of the falling rain. I tapered down to a wonderful dream.

Late in the afternoon after the thunderstorm Piper took me back to the beach for some surfing. My bright yellow surf board was easy to ride in the waves that were still high. Piper took her blue board and headed out to the spot where it was easy to catch the waves.

I decided to go a little farther out to wait on a few larger waves. Sitting on the board the current slowly brought me inland. All of the sudden a huge wave caught the board and I was flying high in the sky. Going in and out of the wave I decided to do a few tricks on the way in. Letting the wind from the water capture my ears I flew up into the air and did a double back flip.

The water from the wave splashed in my face as I safely landed on the surf board. The surf was faster now as I approached the beach. It was time for one more somersault before I reached land.

There were many people on the beach watching this site. When I got back to shore several people wanted to take pictures of me with the board. I posed for several and acquired a few treats before returning to Piper.

We returned to the beach house to watch the sun set. It had been a glorious day on the beach. The bright red and orange colors in the clouds were beautiful and fun to observe. I quickly took a few photographs before falling asleep. Tomorrow is a new day and more adventure awaits us on this summer vacation.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

<a href=””>Taper</a&gt;