The piece of beach glass was not like any color I’d ever seen. It was thalo blue, one of those deep blues that really only exist on an artist’s pallet, a color that exudes richness, a velvet color, a royal color. And there it was the lone piece of glass lying in the sand. At first I thought it was a bit of paper or plastic trash, but when I picked it up I realized it was a rare and lovely piece of glass. I put it in my pocket with the other treasures I’d collected. The clear, the amber and the green chunks, the edges worn round by the sand and waves. But I was worried about it, that lovely bit of hard color floating around in my pocket, I was afraid it might fall out and get lost, so I took it out of my pocket and held it in my hand. I rolled it between my fingers and admired how the light was trapped inside it. Not a totally opaque piece of glass, but a dark translucence. And I walked, picking up other odd bits of glass, nothing spectacular.
And I admired the sea and the sun and I watched my dog chasing smells and seagulls and life was good and then I realized it was no longer in my hand. Somehow I had become distracted and dropped it. And then I felt a real physical sense of loss, an emptiness that something I had was now gone. I’d had it for maybe 5 minutes but it had got hold of me, I’d had something unique and special, I imagined showing it off, the little bit of beach glass. I turned around and retraced my steps. And now I was running inside but as I walked carefully over the beach trying to find my treasure. I was as frantic as my dog looking for a tennis ball that had been carried out to sea. My precious was buried or maybe sitting in plain sight, but not my sight.
It was the emptiness from the loss of a bauble that had no value whatsoever that surprised me. And in that moment I understood greed, I understood avarice and I understood the overwhelming need to possess the unique and the precious. I turned and looked back at my path, tempted once more to retrace my steps and find the missing treasure. But instead I embraced my loss and my desire. I took a deep breath and looked out to sea. The early sunlight cut the fog in places allowing an almost unnatural brightness to reflect off the surface, a light as deep as the glass I had lost. A light that stays with me always.