Some of Hawaii’s scenic beauty is captured in photographs, but the best camera still cannot really capture what it’s like to be at the beach. One of the missing elements is the sensation of the waves rolling to shore.

I was struck once again by the soothing the sound of the waves on my Sunday afternoon walk along Kailua Beach. I can see why such sounds are included in recordings of relaxing or sleep-inducing sounds. No matter how clearly the audio signal of waves is recorded, however, it does not really capture their vibration. The sound and motion of waves is like the pulse of the body — it makes a noise on instruments but you can also feel the throb of blood through veins. Waves are the pulse of the beach. In some places, waves crash ashore, smashing against rocks or cliffs. That has a different sound and vibration than the constant, rolling splash on the beach sand.

The ocean at Kailua has many uses: kite boarding, wind surfing, kayaking, boogie boarding, swimming, floating. On the beach, there is sand castle building, sunning, reading, talking, cooking and (in the evening) fishing. Beneath the Hawaii activities is the constant sound of the waves. It provides a backdrop for conversations, laughter, occasional dogs barking and childish voices pleading to stay just a little longer.

When we are sailing, I feel the roll of waves beneath my feet and hear the occasional splash of water as the boat skims through. That silence is relaxing in its own way; broken by the slap of canvas as the wind hits the sail. But the rhythmic roar of waves as they meet the shore is missing. I feel restored after a walk on the beach, as though the pulse of my body is reset in harmony with the pulse of nature — measured by the waves.

When you go on a Hawaii vacation, allow yourself time to experience its rhythm. Take back a sensation for your soul, as well as photographs and memories.


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