People on the beach: 1880’s and Today

by DRM

In the great scheme of things, how much do things really change?

Life was meaner and the time and space of human emotion more narrow 130 years ago. But the essential components of the human condition were much like they were today.

I’m reminded of these things when I look at the photos below. People cluster by water, at the edges of continents, and their energy shifts, the internal flow of blood synchronizing to the steady pulse of the ocean, the temperate heat of the body adjusting to the fertile soup of the sea. From whence we came, we return: some pattern of cells driven by our genetic code, at the very core of what our being is, goes back those millions of years that we were just crawling out of the water.

So in 130 years, there’s not much that changes in the relationship between man and nature.


The antique photos from the 1880’s are of Easton Beach in Newport, RI; they can be found in a great collection of old photos maintained online by the Providence Public Library. The recent photos are of the beach in Greenwich, CT this March on the first warm day of Spring.