Sea Glass


Sea glass is what happens when people leave broken glass garbage on beaches or toss it into the ocean. The shards are moved about by waves, scoured by sand, and eaten by salt until all the sharp edges are worn away. The entire surface of the glass gains a frosted appearance as a result of this treatment. The process is slow, taking twenty to fifty years to render dangerous trash into something that is beautiful and sought after. The glass pictured in the above photo is artificial, made in a tumbler for people like me who want the allure without paying the prices associated with true sea glass.

I bought my little bag of glass last week. I’m not certain why the memory of sea glass popped into my mind, but I remember being much younger and finding tiny pieces of it on a beach trip. Those pieces are long lost, but the memory lingered and it was strong enough for me to look up and purchase a bag. For years I’ve been quite happy without sea glass in my life, this week I needed it. Since its arrival, I’ve been trying to figure out why. What piece of my soul responds to the idea of sea glass right now? I hold the pieces in my hand, listen to the way they clink against each other, watch how they refract the light. I don’t know that I’ll ever find a definitive answer to my question, but the following things are part of it:

Glass of all kinds has been more beautiful to me since last June when I helped to clean out my Grandmother’s house. She was a collector of beautiful glass. Some of that glass came home with me.

Beaches and oceans are deeply peaceful for me. Most recently I experienced them in conjunction with the Writing Excuses cruise. That trip was difficult and wonderful. It was the source of insights I don’t want to lose and memories I’d like to keep close.

I’ve felt tumbled about and at the mercy of large forces outside my control. I’ve felt this for years as I wore myself out trying to help my children. I like the idea that being tumbled about can make a damaged thing into a beautiful one.

Ive done this before, collected images and objects without being sure why they interest me. I have a file on my desktop where I collect images that speak to me. Sometimes examining these things helps me to understand myself, particularly the parts of myself that I’ve tucked away because they are painful or vulnerable. So I’ll be getting a little bowl to put my sea glass on display, and I’ll keep looking at it and waiting to find out what it means to me.