By Lucia Scavotto
Since I could walk, beachcombing has been a favorite pastime and over time my fascination only grew. From attending my first sea glass festival, making new friends, and experimenting with sea glass jewelry, it was like a whole new world had opened up, complete with a vast community of talented, fun people. These generous beachcombers eagerly shared their knowledge with me and proudly exhibited incredibly cool treasures.
One of the most striking things about beachcombing for me is that each piece has a history. No matter what size, shape or color, each has its own story, forever mysterious. That is what draws many of us to the shorelines, rain or shine.
I believe that while the sea creates a sense of calm for all who are near it, kids especially can find a sense of freedom and independence. The ocean and the treasures it tumbles nurture your inner child. Mystery and imagination blend in perfect harmony.
While to the typical adult a simple piece of frosty clear may be worthless, a kid might imagine it to be a piece of cloud that fell from the sky. A rare red may be a dragon scale, pirate’s blood, or a rose petal charmed by a fairy and banished to the sea. Full bottles are what sailors on the rough sea drank out of before an exciting battle. Multis are fragments of rainbows that are good luck from mermaids or narwhals. A child could dream their stopper belonged to a French princess’s perfume. So you see, lovely keepsakes become unraveling stories of beautiful treasures lost in time. The beach becomes a kid’s playground where anything and everything can happen.
The magnetic pull of the waves, sun, and sand along with the never-ending hunt for sea glass is common for the communities of beachcombers all over the world. When children find their happy place at the beach the tradition of beachcombing is given a future and a legacy. We are the next generation of people who sigh and say for the seventh time, “Okay, okay, we can leave now,” only to spot a colorful bauble and beg, “Just a little longer! One more minute!” And, end up staying another hour.
We are the people who will pay others’ kindness forward, from gifts of a green marble and other lovely sea glass, to tip offs to good hunting spots, to other acts of camaraderie between beachcombers that happen every day.
When kids like me comb the beach...oh, the mystery, history, magic, and thrill. At the end of a long search, fruitful or not, every generation of beachcombers and beachgoers finds peace on the shore and in the sea.
So…enough small talk. Give me that yellow marble I’ve been eyeing from your collection! Just kidding!
This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine January/February 2020 issue.