Most of us have felt the fascination of the wave. The waves of the sea, which are the prototype of all the phenomena which we now call waves, are perhaps the most fascinating of all. Great as is the beauty of their form, the mystery of their motion is the greater charm. For while they move they live and have a being, which, like our own, is but momentarily associated with the matter of which they are formed. The wave preserves its individuality, it’s recognisable through not unchanging form, its energy, party active, partly in reserve, whilst its material substance is constantly rejected and renewed. Of all manifestations of the inorganic world it is most like a living being. Yet when we watch it to its end we find none of the sad accompaniments of the exhaustion of life. It is at its most beautiful at the last, as it culminates to its fall and breaks in seething form.
Extract from the preface of “The Waves of the Sea and Other Water – waves” by Vaughan Cornish 1910.