Monday, January 12, 2009

A Sea Glasser's Passion

Okay, I admit, I have a bit of an obsession. Sea glass, to me, is more beautiful than any precious gem in the world. I see the stunning photographs taken by other collectors and artists and I drool. The rainbow of colors, the way the frostiness sparkles when the sunlight hits it... the amazing discoveries people make- from bottle stoppers to children's marbles, hand painted pottery shards and old electrical insulators, what might this have been at one point in history- what will I turn it into now that I've found it?

The winter months are difficult for me, I am perpetually cold and suffer from seasonal affect disorder. I need the warmth of the sun and the smell of the ocean; when I don't get it, I see myself start to shut down. I hibernate and my work is less inspired and less frequent. This weekend, as yet another winter storm approached, I decided it had been long enough. I was in extreme withdrawal and had to get a fix. So, I bundled up the kiddos and headed for the beach.

The sun was surprisingly strong and the wind was mild- the tide was -3 and the beach was scattered with rocks and glass- perfect! We walked and searched for about 20 minutes, covering maybe 200 yards until their little noses were frozen, their cheeks bright red. We called it a day and went home with only a few shiny treasures in our pockets to show for our efforts.

Back at home, rinsing off our finds, the smell of the ocean hits me and I can't stop thinking about it- tomorrow is Saturday, Ed will be home to watch the kids, I'm going to see if I can get some "me time"! Fortunately, I have a wonderful husband who understands my passion and shares the feeling of tranquility that hours of wandering on the beach in search of hidden jewels can provide. "Go, honey. Have fun." he tells me. God, I love that man!

The tide is not so low this day but the rock piles are plentiful and the few combers who are out braving the snow flurries are armed with metal detectors or dogs on leashes. I am optimistic! Within a few feet I find a starfish, frozen in the sand- I grab my baggie out of my coat pocket and toss it in, another few feet and I find a frosty green bottle neck! I wander around with my head down, glancing up only periodically to check my position in relation to my starting point and to other people.

My mind lets go of all it's stressors- there are no bills here, no fighting kids, no dirty dishes. I don't feel the cold because the sun is shining down despite the tiny swirling snowflakes that are surrounding me. In my head I design pendants and fantasize about decorating the new home we'll soon buy with all of my finds. My bag is filling up quickly with frosted goodies, sea life and driftwood.

As the afternoon light starts to fade and the beach becomes empty I glance at my phone to check the time and decide to hit one more section of stones before I turn back towards the car. I pop my phone back into my pocket and resume scanning the ground in front of me. It's getting colder, I can feel my joints aching and I repeat to myself "one more good piece, not until I find one more good piece".

I am approaching the end of the stones, the sand is smooth and untouched in front of me. I start to turn around and as I do, I spot a tiny speck of blue peeking out- oh my gosh, oh my gosh, my heart is pounding, bend over, grab it quick! (As though there were someone else racing to beat me to it.) A flawless piece of cobalt blue! I am ecstatic! Blue is not found very often in southern RI, I myself have probably only come across a handful of pieces in all my years of hunting.

I take off my gloves and inspect it- totally smooth, frosty and round, it feels like heaven in my hands. Okay, I am satisfied now, I can head home. I clench the glass tightly in my fist and begin my long trek back to the parking lot; daydreaming about what this gem in my hand will become now that it's mine and wondering when next I'll be able to escape for another day at the beach.


V said...

I have always loved picking up stones at the beach. I still have jars full from when I was a kid. I used to get green, turquoise and clear glass stones on the Lake Michigan beach.

Walking along the beach and picking up stones or shells can be very relaxing and cathartic. Thanks for cutting through the winter snowy grayness with these images of water and sand and precious gems. :)


Laura said...

We don't find much sea glass here at the beach. Maybe due to the tides or something. But we DO find shark's teeth. I have hundreds of them. It's an OCD thing when I go to the beach. I always look for it. South of here you can scuba dive and find LARGE prehistoric teeth just off of Vilano beach.

I've only done one neklace set with sea glass so far. It's listed on my Etsy site ( I've purchased some from Scotland, and I have more to play with in my bead boxes, so I'll work with it when the mood strikes again.