Beach Glass Hunting

Jennifer - Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Entered on March 7, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: nature
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

This I Believe

Beach Glass Hunting

I believe that beach glass hunting is a metaphor for life—you can find what you’re looking for if you just open your eyes.

Whenever I take a novice hunter with me, their biggest challenge is to look—and just see. Often, there is glass all around and they simply cannot separate the glass from the rocks or the seaweed or the sand. The glass is there—like life’s opportunities–if you simply open your eyes and see.

Sometimes, the glass is resting on its side or against the rocks and cannot initially be seen. Or maybe the light is wrong and the glass is hidden in the shadows. And I pass by it. But when I turn around and change my perspective, the glass is clearly right there. Or the glass may be hidden underneath the rocks and all I have to do is make the effort to scratch the surface and the prize will appear.

I often find glass that is too new, not quite “aged,” and needs to be tossed back in the churning waters until it “ripens”–like some of my ideas. However, as in life, there are those exceptions (deep blue glass for one) that when found, no matter what stage it’s in, must be held onto and cherished.

There are days, when in spite of my best efforts, the glass just isn’t there. Yet, with a slightly different focus, other treasures will always appear. While it might not be what I was originally seeking, those treasures, whether heart rocks or shards of pottery or lovely shells, always come into sight when I alter my expectations.

And as every seasoned beachcomber knows, just like in life, the best finds are always found after a storm.