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16: waves

Dear Friend,


This is a quick introduction to Waves. In fact, please enjoy this daytime visit to the beach with gentle piano in your headphones, a mostly sunny sky, a seagull, surf, sand, and a lone photographer.


Think back to the last time you swam in a pool or took a bath. (Maybe your bath was in a pool)? (That’s just a funny one). Anyway, just think of the waves. You are lying back in the tub, relaxing after a long day of volunteering at the Elephant Sanctuary and you accidentally knock the shampoo bottle into the water SO you quickly sit up to retrieve the bottle and waves of water splash out of the bathtub signaling the end of your peaceful bath because now you have to get out and find something with which to dry the floor …


your cannon-ball (hopefully into a swimming pool, not a bathtub) might have disturbed the stillness of the water causing it to splap the side of the pool and glug out onto your only dry towel.

When you are making waves, it’s obvious how they got there. It was your doing, your energy, and your body that caused the displacement of water. But what about the presence of waves in the pool when no one is swimming? And what about waves in the ocean?


We see the result of waves, beautiful crests and troughs, billowing and sparkling on the sea… but waves aren’t actually water. A wave is the energy that moves through the water.


Most of the time, waves are caused by wind, but can also be caused by earth quakes, underwater volcanic eruptions, landslides, and giant asteroids doing cannon balls.  


The truth is, a single ocean wave doesn’t actually carry a palm tree frond all the way from a desert island to smash your sand castle in Huntington Beach like my Grandpa suggested. Wind, currents, and tides are responsible for moving items across the water. So, though it may have traveled from a desert island to eventually smash my sandcastle at Huntington Beach, the palm tree frond didn’t actually ride a wave.


Waves are found in most areas of scientific study. Three of the most common are Sound waves, Light waves and Brain waves, though there are also waves of nausea, waves in labor pains, a wave performed by an enthusiastic audience, and a friendly wave from a friend.


In science, each type of wave has similar, measurable, characteristics.


When Frank was a kid, he used to love go see The Bay Model, a Wave Machine constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Read more about the Physics of all kinds of Waves in ScienceNewsExplores.


And watch this short physics video from Bozeman Science about Wave Interference. Please let me know if you find it interesting or not.


Have you ever been body surfing? Taken a ride in the belly of a crashing wave? Found yourself upon the beach rolling about, completely helpless in two inches of sandy sea foam and receding water with barely a morsel of salvageable modesty? Me too.


If you would like to share your story, please do! Write to us, whether or not you’ve ever been body surfing, we’d love to hear from you!


Thank you SO MUCH for being here to read Tracks by the Post. It is such a gift to know that you are there!


We wish you a Happy Week Ahead!


Gently Be,

Leslie and Frank

To see more of Frank's photography, visit: FBPHOTO.COM

To learn more about Lee Hoffman, visit: Voice.Musicality


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