A Bowl of Beach Glass

I have collected beach glass all my life. Every time I visit the ocean, I spend most of my time combing the rocks and tide pools for bits and pieces of jewel-like beach glass. My mom collected it all her life as well. Beach glass comes from broken bottles, head and tail lights; in fact, any kind of glass tossed into the ocean.

Mostly the colors you find are brown, amber, light and dark green, aqua and white. The real finds are blue and red; these are rare. In fact, beach glass itself is harder to find these days, now that plastics are used so much.

The glass bits are tumbled and abraded by salt water, rocks and sand, and have an appealing frosty surface. Often you’ll find a largish piece with barnacles on it (I actually have one of these), or some bit of coral that has hitchhiked along with the glass. You wonder how they came to be acquainted with each other in their travels.

There is something mysterious and appealing about beach glass. This is why you see so many artists make beautiful jewelry, wind-chimes, mosaics and window art out of them. The fact that the glass is often cloudy makes it more mysterious-looking.

It’s as if these bits of glass from other lifetimes are speaking to you, telling of their long journey through the water, rocks and sand. When they finally come to rest on a beach, they lie twinkling in the sun, waiting for someone like me to pick them up.

Over the years I’ve collected quite a lot of it, and have now combined my collection with my mother’s. All of the beach glass, including some pottery shards smoothed by time and water, and a few unpolished moonstones, now reside in my largest glass salad bowl.

It has been the work of a lifetime on Mom’s part, and a work in progress for me, collecting it all. Just seeing the sun light up all those jeweled colors is a beautiful sight.

I often wonder that, if the glass bits could speak, what stories would they tell? The beach glass may come from humble brown beer bottles, magnums of champagne, tail lights, headlights, lanterns, an aqua glass goblet thrown for spite on the rocks of a distant beach; who knows?

But their untold, unspoken stories are a mystery–which makes them all the more appealing.


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