Few things can match the serenity of waves crashing on a beach. Both in sight and sound we are enamored by the rise, crash, and retreat of waves. Why, as oxygen breathing land mammals, do we have such an affinity for the ocean and the beach? Maybe it’s proof that mankind can conquer uninhabitable places like the ocean and outer space and nothing can hold us back as a species.
We built ships to see the world before we had maps or the ability to properly navigate the planets vast oceans. Fear has never kept mankind from exploring and the ocean is a testament to that. I feel most alive gazing out over an ocean that extends to the horizon. So strangely that which can drown us and kill us is also what gives us life and fills us with wonder.
But the waves themselves are especially calming. The sound has found it’s way to nearly every sleep noise machine. Standing on a beach has an immediate calming effect as though each ebb of a wave takes a bit of stress with it back out to sea. In part it must be the repetition. The crash is predictable but not so much so as to bore, the timing isn’t perfect.
The sound is a time machine that brings us back to vacations and time spent with loved ones. Each break contains an array of memories and feelings of tranquility.
Like an eraser for the mind it wipes away stress and conflicts, problems and doubts. To find clarity, find a beach. Because we are small, and our problems are less than insignificant to nature and the expanse of the ocean.
JFK kept a plaque on his desk in the Oval Office with the quote “O, God, thy sea is so great and my boat is so small.” The metaphor only works because the sea actually is so vast, and even our largest ships are so small in comparison. But the feeling of warm sun, an ocean breeze, and the sound of crashing waves is a strong medicine to combat our day to day troubles.
So we listen to the sound: the slight rise from nowhere, the foamy white curl, and the collision with the sand. And when we leave the sound continues, ready and waiting for our return to marvel at this awe-inspiring thing we call nature.