I love sea glass. You might not expect that I would, coming from sea-less Wisconsin as I do, or maybe that is exactly why. I never saw an ocean until I was 19. I think growing up near an ocean, having that in your back pocket, gives you something, this mysterious, weird world. You can feel it, swim in it, breathe the mist that rises from it, but you can never be of it. It’s sort of like visiting Jupiter, or Wal-Mart: it’s huge, awesome, and cannot sustain normal human existence.

I think I first saw sea glass when I visited a friend in Massachusetts whose family has a home in Cape Cod. I was just fascinated by this jar of pretty frosty clear, tan, blue, deep gold, and green stones – I didn’t realize what it was until my friend laughingly explained to me that these were not stones, but remnants of old bottles or other glass tossed into the water as garbage. Over the years the glass had been tossed and tumbled and smoothed into these irregular pieces, unique and lovely, that you might find as you walked along a beach. My little Wisconsin lakes that I frequented had no such treasures, unless you counted the unique and lovely silver pull rings from old cans of Pabst.

I took some of the stones out of the jar to hold in my hand. I don’t know if this will make any sense to anyone else, but there was something to that action that felt so peaceful and beautiful to me, like all the qualities of a perfect day at the beach were radiating right from the glass to me. I do not feel this way about diamonds, or gold, or rubies, or any other thing I can think of, other than music, perhaps. Sea glass actually makes me smile and feel better. I don’t argue with such things; I go with them.

You would think, then, that my house would be filled with sea glass, that I would have jars and jars of filled with pieces sitting everywhere. You would think, but you would be wrong. I own not one single piece of sea glass. Not one. Everyone close to me knows I love it, but no one has ever found any for me, and I have never found any either. I could buy some, but something stops me. I guess am waiting to find that one piece, or to have it find me. I want it to be seafoam green, with the sun and the surf inside it. I want it to be mine.

It occurs to me that perhaps I love sea glass because it is something beautiful made from something ordinary, used up, tossed away. It is made into something else through some kind of random tumultuous journey, and comes out very different, but wonderful.

I left this afternoon to pick up the kids from summer day camp, and I took them to a nice Italian place for dinner. The restaurant had opened its patio doors and the late-day apricot-colored sun was filtering inside, making the light warm and glowing and soft. I was almost moved to tears as I sat there when both children lifted their faces at the same time, in that light, and looked up at me. Their eyes were that very exact seafoam green.