I picked up my first piece of beach glass in Prince Edward Island several years ago and instantly was hooked. For the remainder of that trip I scoured the beaches, enlisting my husband for a team effort, maximum glass and never tiring. Happily, I could do this all day long, stark contrast to my usual self of flitting from one activity to another. Beach glass collecting is my zen. The feel of the glass is soft, its sharp edges tumbled by the power of the ocean.
Prince Edward Island is not a mecca for beach glass, still we collected a handful, during our stay, travelling to many beaches to add to our collection. I would close my eyes at night and see the glass, all the colours available.
In Curacao, John bent down to pick up a piece of glass to throw away and save someone certain pain. In his hand he discovered it was beach glass. He beckoned me over and my face broke into a grin as I immediately began to look for more. How interesting to see it literally everywhere once we looked. How much do we miss when we look and don’t see? In PEI we picked up a piece about once per hour. In Curacao one per second.
Curacao beaches have an abundance of green and brown, likely from Heineken and Amstel bottles, though we find white, yellow, blue, black and even the elusive red. Each beach has a predominant colour. We get picky as we ignore the green to search for the rarer finds. We are rewarded at every turn.
I amass a collection, our bounty covering the dining table in our townhouse and I wonder what it is about beach glass that I love. I decide it’s the story that I create in my mind about its origin, transformation and eventual arrival on the shore. It is stranded before I reach down and pick it up. I think about how we covet rare gems and make them such by the value we place. The glass I hold in my hand has a harsher journey, a most uncertain future and yet to most its garbage until transformed. Beach glass does not warrant a second look for most people who eye me suspiciously as I put another piece in my pocket.
Here in Curacao there is no formal recycling. We struggle with this as it feels wrong to throw away bottles. We have spent a good portion of our lives recycling bottles and receiving a small amount for our effort. It feels wrong to throw them away. Likely the bottles will eventually find their way from the garbage to a beach where it will be transformed into something beautiful. Someday someone will walk a beach, reach down and pick up a small part of that bottle, love the feel of it in their hand and touch the power of the ocean, if only for a moment