How Do You Like Your View?

Kaua’i offers basically two choices for ocean views:

Long distance views from up high and/or far away


Shore views, with breaking waves

Both are beautiful and breathtaking.

The office where I’ve been going for physical therapy has a view of the ocean out their big front windows. While the therapist works I watch waves break out on a reef in the distance, and then roll gently into the shore, which is just across the road from the office building. The color of the ocean transitions from deep blue to a lighter sea green and finally to a clear turquoise as the ocean gets near to the shore, where the waves break white.

Watching the waves the other day, I realized that I could never tire of seeing them. I love to watch them come in, whether at the beach, or crashing up against a cliff or onto a rocky shore. I marvel here at how the color changes as the ocean approaches the shore. Most of all though I enjoy the ever-changing movement, the constant reminder of the ocean’s power. The waves seem to be always sending a message: Respect me. It’s a fool who thinks they can do battle with the ocean and win.

The long distant views provide a calmer image, and gazing out at the horizon always makes me think about what lies beyond. My father, who served 24 years in the navy, greatly preferred this view. He didn’t care to see rocks or a beach, just long stretches of calm, blue water out to the horizon. While I agree the distant view is a very soothing one, I know that I would eventually grow bored with it and take the view for granted.

The ocean's different shades of blue
The ocean’s many shades of blue

I have pondered this for several days now, trying to come up with a deeper metaphor for the reason why some prefer watching the waves instead of the long distant view, something about choosing turbulence and change over calm and placid. I finally realized though there really isn’t any great metaphor. We like what we like, and for our own reasons.

The odds of us living in a house here with either a close-up or long-distant view of the ocean are extremely slim to nothing. Ocean views here typically cost a lot of money, especially the ones where you’re close enough to watch the waves. For now, I’ll stick with the gorgeous view we get every time we head down the hill into town: first a distant look out at the ocean, followed by a spectacular view of the waves breaking on the reef and then rolling into shore when we reach the bottom of the hill.

After more than two years on this island, the ocean and the waves still take my breath away every time I see them, and thrill me to the bottom of my soul. I can’t ask for more.

4 thoughts on “How Do You Like Your View?

  1. Interesting thinking about the metaphors . . . perhaps you don’t like quiet, calm sailing?! 🙂 And while I don’t mind a calm see with nothing but ocean and the horizon, the thought of no land, anywhere, makes me feel a little stressed out!


    1. That’s where I fell apart with the metaphors – I really do like calm seas, but prefer looking at waves arriving on shore. The more rugged the coastline, the better!

      I took a two-week cruise from San Francisco to Japan when I was 18 which pretty much cured me of going on a cruise. I honestly don’t know how Brett stood it all those years, although he was working below decks most the time and not out gazing at the horizon.


  2. What a gorgeous view. I was pondering something of the same yesterday driving up the Pacific coast that we have our choice of the crashing Pacific waves, or the calm and still Bay waters, and they are such a different feel. I love them both, though. (I came here by way of Hawaii Planner, so I feel like I’m on a theme today 😉 )


    1. I really do like both too, but for a day-to-day view prefer the waves crashing to shore. We had a gorgeous distant ocean view from our family beach house’s kitchen window when I was growing up (it was in San Clemente). At first I couldn’t get enough of it, but after a few days there I found I wasn’t paying attention to it any more. I wanted to be down at the beach, playing in the waves!


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