The author shows us, rather than tells us, what the afternoon on a beach is like.
Rather than saying, 'I heard the waves as the tide came in,' the author says, 'As the waves leisurely collided with the shore, I could hear the delicate lapping of the water as it met the sand.' The extra detail really helps us visualize the scene that the author is trying to create.
A metaphor has the same function as a simile, but the comparison between objects is implicit, meaning there is no 'like' or 'as' used to signal the comparison.
Here's an example of a metaphor from good old Shakespeare: 'All the world's a stage and the men and women merely players.' Rather than saying life is just like a play, he compares the world to where a play is acted out.
The smell of salt air and a warm afternoon wafted through the sky.
Slowly, I awoke from my slumber, cuddled in a hammock that surrounded me like a cocoon.
After that, you describe the details: his new crisp, white, pearl snap shirt, his blue jeans tucked into cowboy boots, adorned up top with his signature belt buckle, and so on.
By organizing your essay in this order, your reader not only understands what Big Tex looks like, but they are able to visualize the entire scene as well.
A descriptive essay allows a reader to understand the essay's subject using illustrative language.
Descriptive essays are great because, in a sense (pun intended), they can help us see places we might not be able to go ourselves, hear new things, taste different flavors, smell foreign smells, or touch different textures.