|A saga of sea glass|
It’s impossible not to wax metaphorical when writing about sea glass. (Page B1, July 23, 2008.)
Think about it. You start with shards of broken glass, garbage if ever there was, often from broken bottles just thrown away on the beach. It winds up in the ocean where it’s tossed around, scraped by salt and currents and sand and rocks and sharks and who knows what, maybe for years. Eventually the tide spits it out, back up on the beach.
But by now it’s changed, smoothed and softened, yet somehow harder to break than when it was a skinny little shard. It’s got a lovely soft patina that invitesthe viewer to touch, gaze or wonder – in other words, get involved. If you want to think of it in this way, it also hints alluringly at wisdom and untold stories.
But back to facts: under the patina it’s the same, still made of glass. In its very beginning it was liquid, and along the way it acquired a sharp edge. But now it bears silent testimony to the effects of time, transformation, evolution.
Of course it’s nearly irresistible to make a metaphorical jump to sapient (human?) life: From buffeting to transformation, rough edges softening (blossoming, if you will) into a stage of maturation and completion. Inside it, nothing is changed or compromised. There’s just a graceful new patina that complements what was there originally … See what I mean? Sorry.
But still …
Of course it’s a condescending insult to anyone going through rough times, drugs or poverty or illness or fill-in-the-blank as you will, to blithely assure them that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The last thing they (or you) want to hear at such times is that you can evolve like sea glass after being tossed around by circumstance. Tougher and improved, polished and glowing and beautiful. Yeah, fine. Enough already. Still, it might just turn out to be true.
Sea glass pieces are sometimes oddly shaped, bumpy. Some may see that as a minus, a limitation, but maybe they can perceive a gentle reminder that strengths have not disappeared and potentials exist. People aren’t chunks of glass, of course, but they can be diamonds in the rough, with edges, resources, grit – and options.
You may not control the outcomes – pieces of sea glass often wind up as mere decorations. I own some sea glass jewelry myself, and enjoy it. Those pieces were found on a beach and placed in lovely silver settings by a skilled artisan.
People may not feel attractive or useful, like sea glass jewelry, after a trip through the wringer. Winding up as an earring is just another stage on the journey of the original piece, and it doesn't change a thing about the original:
It’s still a jewel, a survivor. Same difference. With stories to pass along.