Hearing the Waves Crack

Coast Watches: Twelve Meditations

Prior: Living on Lava

December 26

Yes, they do CRACK! Like a gunshot. That must be why they’re called breakers. The waves also rush, crumble, roar, pound, thunder, roll, and even drum-roll.

Spray from two waves hitting each other sideways sends spray 30 feet in the air, coating the grey oceanfront house below. There’s foam for 50 yards out to sea, some white, some creamy, and some scummy yellow, the surf is so whipped by the relentless swells.

The breakers must crack from air caught in the curl of the wave as it crests over and pounds on itself. The air itself must be compressed, because those liquid waves cannot split open and crack like china.

To me all this gunshot crack-cracking is reassuring, not terrifying. The sound of the surf is so steady, so sure. Unlike our ephemeral lives, politics, friendships, marriage, the time of our dying.

Next: Sneaker Waves

Comments are closed.