“Sea Glass” is the general term for pieces of weathered and eroded glass formed from glass used on ships, bottles, and tableware that has found its way into bodies of water. As these items reach the shoreline, wave action pounds them into other rocks, breaks them into smaller pieces, and wears away the brittle, sharp edges. It takes decades of nature’s such erosion to create the smooth, frosted treasures that are waiting for eager hands to uncover them. Here, in the Great Lakes, where wave action is not as intense, such glass in known as “Beach Glass”.
It was 3:30pm on a welcoming June day. The wind blew deceptively cool from the west, another day of home based learning had ended, and the children were eager to escape the confines of the bricks and mortar. I suggested to them that we head to the local beach, to wade in the brisk, early summer fresh water, and to skip stones. They looked at me, caught each other’s sparkly gaze, nodded, and turned back beaming.
“Can we go and look for beach glass?”
I didn’t know this term that they used, though I did know that glass pieces and bottles could be found sprinkled along the shore. I had no idea of what they were actually referring to.
“OK, that sound like a wonderful idea,” I replied without a moment’s hesitation.
“Umm..we can’t go to the local beach, we have to go to the point down the road.”
I caught myself wondering why we couldn’t scavenge in our beach, and I noticed that I was smiling internally. They knew something I didn’t; it was time to explore and learn.
After a bubbly, joyful, ten-minute drive we rolled into the crunchy, gravel parking lot of the point. All I could see from the vantage of the driver’s seat was sand, lots of sand. Where could we possibly find glass here? I pondered. A few moments is all it took, three doors closed, the lock clicked, and they took charge.
“This way!” came the excited cry. I followed.
A few hundred meters treading the soft sand to the south brought us to a part of the beach where the action of the lake had deposited a strip of myriads of polished, fluid pebbles and grains. This is where we stopped.
Feeling the caress of the pebbles in the palm of my hand, listened to them rustle, the gentle crash of the spilling waves, the warmth of the sun on my neck and arms were delights. At that time little else existed, save for the gleeful cry when one of us found what we had come to find.
Yet another simple thing to do, and yet another way to smile.