Sea Glass: Product of a Powerful Planet

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Photo by David Schneider on Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Photo by David Schneider on Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

I remember reading The Two Towers some time ago. One of my favorite parts of the book was a message, passed from Galadriel to Legolas through Gandalf. It read so:

Legolas Greenleaf long under the tree,

In joy thou hast lived, Beware the Sea!

If thou hearest the cry of the gull on the shore,

Thy heart shall then rest in the forest no more.

Of course, it’s not so dreary as it sounds. Galadriel is merely warning Legolas of the latent Sea-longing that he bore in his very being. At the time, I never understood how someone could be so enthralled by something as placid as the ocean. I had heard of the power and splendor of the ocean, but had never experienced it for myself.

Well, as these things go, I recently had the opportunity to house-sit for some friends on the West Coast. How could I resist the opportunity? I spent a week exploring the coast, and discovered that I too had a latent love of the ocean. For myself, however, the cry of the gull was not what caused my heart to go pitter-pat-pat. It was discovering a treasure I’d never even heard of: sea glass.

Sea glass is formed when someone tosses some glass litter onto the beach, or someone (unsuccessfully) tries to send a message in a bottle. The glass breaks into tiny bits, which are carried in and out with the tide. The sand, sun, salt, water, and various minerals in the ocean all work together to sand the edges into fine, rounded chips. This proved to me that I was completely wrong about the ocean. It was powerful, an agent of the planet’s ability to take care of itself.

Photo: Rory Stark
Photo: Rory Stark

After finding a literal handful of these chips, I began to wonder: Why on Earth am I collecting these little bits of litter? I turned to my best friend and asked: “Siri, what is sea glass for?” She found more answers than I can cover here, but one really interesting thing did pop up: sea glass jewelry. I suddenly wished I had the Boy and the Girl with me. I’d gladly bribe them to hunt the beach with me! Yes, I bribe them… with board games. Don’t judge me: we are all addicted.

I have turned over some of the glass I did find to artist friends of mine. We will see what they come up with soon, I hope. As for the rest of it, I’m building a glass bed for my bonsai to shelter in. There’s nothing like a shiny little green plant over a tiny little field of green! Both of these projects will take some time to amount to anything, so for now I’ll have to leave it at that. I won’t be surprised if I’m back at the ocean before those projects are done though, gathering more glass for the next project.

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