Searching for Sea Glass

by Joan Houghton

One morning while vacationing on the shores and beaches of Lake Michigan, my son approached the family group and said this would be a good day for searching for sea- glass.  What in the world is sea- glass? 

Well, it is old pieces of glass which have been broken, sloshed, slashed, and bandied about in the water for months or years so that the edges are smooth and misshapen and delightful to fondle.  Their colors can vary, and it is a challenge to deduce from whence they came.  For instance, green ones may have come from Coca Cola bottles, brown from beer bottles, pink perhaps from a dainty perfume bottle, green might make you think of Seven-Up.  Some might be colorless and that could lead to no end of surmising.

Part of the fun is to use your imagination as to how old they might be. Could they have come from any of the other Great Lakes (Ontario maybe or Huron); or better yet, perhaps from a shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean and then found their way down the St. Lawrence Seaway to Lake Michigan.   There could be no end of possibilities.

Off we went to “especially ripe for success” areas of water carrying our plastic bags to receive the treasures.  Early morning is best before others find the new deposits. It wasn’t long before we realized that certain people had their favorite places which, like mushroom hunters, they were not quick to divulge.

It was slow-going for some who found nothing except reflections in the water which glistened like glass.  Every so often you would hear a “WHOOP”, and we all would gather around to see the latest acquisition and give our take on its glamorous history.

After  several days of trying for a couple of hours and still having an empty bag,  and even beginning to get a sore back from all that bending over, I felt a certain  dismay.  It was then, that all of a sudden, there appeared something bright blue shining in the water right by my feet.  I reached down, let out my “WHOOP” at such success.   Really, this appeared to be the best find of the entire vacation.  Oh, it was surely worth the wait.  The color was brilliant sapphire blue; its shape was triangular with sort of notches on its sides.  It was about the size of a small plum and smooth as silk. It seemed truly exotic!    From where had it come???  Possibly the Far East?   But, it WAS in pretty good condition.  Oh-Oh—could it possibly be too good to be true?  Somehow, it WAS TOO PERFECT.  Oh, RATS, do you think it was a “plant”?   Oh, yes, of course it was.  SOMEONE felt sorry for my non-production and supplied this beautiful little substitute.

Saddest of all, we have learned that sea-glass will become rare.  Guess why…Now most bottles are made of plastic instead of glass.  But my special blue gem has a spot on my kitchen counter as a reminder of delightful days with family on Lake Michigan beaches.

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