Look at this glass! Can you believe it was once trash? Chipped, cracked or completely broken into a thousand shards– each smaller piece once part of something larger and useful but later discarded. Thrown into the cleansing water of the big lake, these gems spent decades I suspect being pushed forward by storms from the West and occasionally dragged back by East winds, gradually making their way across the bottom to the beaches near my home where glassers like myself hunt. I am attracted to broken things such as these that have somehow been redeemed; especially when the restorative work has been done without human intervention.
Below I have compiled a few “top 5” lists that help explain my fascination with “glassing” along Lake Michigan.
WHY I GLASS
1. It’s a great workout.
2. It gets me outside.
3. It is competitive treasure hunting.
4. It’s basically free.
5. You never know what you might find.
BEST FINDS THAT WERE NOT GLASS
1. A bottle with note offering life advice
2. A bamboo skim board
3. A $5 bill in tact
4. A small washed up sailboat (I floated it home and took it to our cottage for a party raft.)
5. The book “Jesus on Trial”
1. Glass travels with smaller rocks. Bare beaches do not produce.
2. Go early. Hit your honey hole right at dawn to beat the competition.
3. Hunting is best a day or two after a storm when the waves are back down to a foot or less.
4. Focus on certain colors. I find more browns when I’m thinking about browns.
5. Make two passes over the same area if you can. You will see new things from the opposite direction.
FAVORITE GLASS TYPES
1. Pieces with letters or words
2. Blues and pinks
3. Functional parts such as handles and decanter tops
4. Super polished pieces (like those on the left)
5. Fine china with patterns
OTHER ITEMS I REGULARLY PICK UP
1. Indian beads (a fossilized stem segment). I use them as anchors for my glass mobiles.
2. Stones with holes worn through. I use these much like the Indian beads.
3. Flat driftwood for signs and mobiles.
4. Fishing lures
5. Beach toys for future grandchildren (?)
1. Most glass picked up in a day: Over 100 pieces
2. Farthest walked in a session: 8 miles
3. Favorite piece: A diamond-shaped piece of pottery with the words “Kraft Chicago” on it.
4. Estimated amount of glass I own: Five thousand pieces?
5. Last injury: I was clocked across the bridge of my nose by the angled steel beam that supports old Dr. Brown’s house. When you are constantly looking down sometimes you run into things.
Life Lesson Learned From Glassing:
Most everyone has received a chip or crack. Some have been splintered into thousands of shards. And while damage may seem irreparable, God can make anything new and beautiful again.