Searching for Sea Glass, by Wendy DeRaud


"The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea."

Anne Morrow Lindbergh








I went to visit my friend, and as soon as I walked in the door, she began talking to me about sea glass. I could see that she was obsessed. She had jars and bowls filled with pieces she had been collecting, divided into all the varieties: brown, green, clear white, Aqua, and the rare blue. And she still hadn’t decided what to do with them. The joy was in the collecting.

She and her husband had visited Glass Beach near Mendocino, California, that was famous for its sea glass.

There are three Glass Beach sites in Fort Bragg where trash was dumped into the ocean between 1906 and 1967. Over the years, the powerful work of the tides and the pounding waves along the shore broke down the glass and pottery and tumbled those pieces into the small, smooth, colorful pieces scattered over the sand. Over the years, tourists have come to collect this sea glass, depleting the supply, but still, much more remains.

So all along the California coastline where beach communities have been most populated, sea glass can still be found. What once was discarded garbage has since been worn down by the tides: dishes, pottery, medicine, beer, wine, and cosmetic bottles, have been transformed into something beautiful.




I found it relaxing to walk along the shoreline, bare feet in the sand, sun beating down on my back, as I searched to see where the light revealed a small piece of sea glass on the surface of the sand. Wherever a trail of pebbles appeared, that's where they were more commonly discovered. My pockets began filling up with tiny morsels of smooth glass, and I too became obsessed with my searching and finding.






We humans are so attracted to beauty.



The steady tides of our lives come and work in us, smoothing out the rough edges of our broken parts, the storms that come at our shores can frighten us with their powerful influence as they crash into our fragile psyches, yet we withstand their stresses, and we can be energized as they transform us. What was once broken and jagged from pain, sorrow and abuse, what were once discarded and considered as refuse has now become one with nature, taken in by the massive ocean's loving arms. This furious loving embrace takes years of work to become a smooth stone.



I hold one in my hand as I walk and search, and the smoothness consoles me. I grow more familiar with how glass looks as compared with a rock or a shell fragment, the glass begins to cry out for me to pick it up.



Whenever my friend began to be discouraged that there were none to be found in this stretch of the beach, suddenly a beautiful piece would appear. She prayed and asked God to give her a sign of His love, then spotted the rarest blue piece, shining like a jewel in the glistening sand. Speaking through the common objects we deem as treasures, our God is revealed to us by the redemption of what was once trashed and has now been washed, smoothed, and reformed.