NINE LESSONS I LEARNED FROM GATHERING SEAGLASS

seaglass

What you are looking for is often just lying around.

Opportunity is everywhere, just like the glass on the beach. Prime specimens of seaglass can fetch over $50 each, so there is real value here. And it’s just lying on the beach. In the same way, there is often opportunity lying around if you are willing to look for it.

You will be rewarded according to your level of commitment. Perseverance pays off big.

There are some people who are down on the beach all the time. They scoop rocks out of the pounding surf, get taken down by waves, get chilled, overheated, hungry. But they are down there every day, and many of them have drawers of glass in their stash. And often, they will be the beachcomber to gets the super rare huge piece of seaglass. These people are committed to the search, and they have the reward to show for it.

Suit up!

When searching for seaglass in the cold shore pound of Northern California you need a wetsuit with booties to keep you warm. If you aren’t suited up, you’ll lose opportunity. You just won’t be able to stay in the surf very long. In life, this translates into being prepared for the situations you might face. The first time out, you might not know what you need to suit up, but after that, come prepared.

A closer look at something results in unexpected discoveries.

Often when I lean down to pick up a piece of tumbled glass, I’ll see three other pieces. Without the new perspective, I wouldn’t have seen these new beauties.

There is enough for everybody.

The glass on this beach will eventually run out, and it’s certainly true that it’s harder to find than it was 10 years ago, but everyone who is looking eventually gets glass. No one benefits from a greedy beachcomber trying to stake a claim on the beach, and it doesn’t work anyway.

What you are looking for is not the only thing you’ll find.

When you get too focused on the glass only, then you will miss the shells, the beautiful stones, and the odd bits of beach metal and plastic that deserve to be admired as well. I always come back with more than glass. That’s true in life, too.

Sometimes you have to sort through a lot of s*** to get the prize.

Some days, there’s a lot of aggregate and little glass. We aren’t sure why, but that’s the way it is. The glass is still there, so don’t give up. You might just have to work harder to find it. Even if you don’t find anything, press on. I’ve actually had someone hand over a huge, beautiful piece of seaglass for no other reason than kindness.

You can do good while getting what you want.

Often, when looking for glass, I pick up trash from the beach. I’m there for the glass, and with very little effort, I can pick up a few pieces of trash. Picking up trash, rescuing someone in rough surf, or even giving a piece of glass to someone who hasn’t found any yet can all be done with little effort, and great impact. Social responsibility starts small and close to home, and is often much easier than we think.

Go to where and when the treasure is found.

If you want the special art glass that comes from our beach, you need to come to our beach. If you come to our beach and want glass, you need to come when the stone aggregate that holds the glass is uncovered. Sometimes this layer is buried underneath 12 feet of sand—and the surf is fickle. You can dig through 12 feet of sand on another beach, and you’ll never get any of our seaglass. You have to come to the right beach at the right time.

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