Thursday, February 3, 2011

Glass Beach

Today, out of the blue, I started to think about visiting this place I used to go to as a kid. I saw the whole thing so vividly in my mind- starting from the place I used to park my car - past the intersection with the feed store and the Denny's... down the path across the bluff that was either covered in yellow and purple booms or angry brown thistle, depending on the time of year...the little "hike" down onto the beach that my more athletic friends could take in a jump or two... and then, the sparkling beach that gleamed with tiny points of amber, green, brown, white, and (the rarest of them all), blue light.

The entire recall took less than a minute, and then the rest of my brain kicked in and I identified the place in my memory. It was Glass Beach, on the Mendocino coast. If memory serves me right, the story behind Glass Beach goes a little like this: Years ago, the location used to be a dumping ground for garbage, including all kinds of discarded glass.  (Of course, this kind of dumping has been prohibited for decades). Most of the garbage went out to sea, or was removed by future clean up efforts, but the glass remained. Over time, the glass was broken down, smoothed and polished by the rocks and waves. And now bits of sea glass litter and glitter across the beach. 

And it is gorgeous.  It amazes me how nature turned something as ugly as a trash heap and turned it into something beautiful. Obviously we cannot burden mother nature with the task of turning all of our violations against her into lovliness, but I am glad that's what happened at Glass Beach.

And now that it popped into my mind, I am desperate to go back for a visit. It's been well over 10 years since I trolled the beach collecting the most beautiful bits of sea glass. On my next visit I won't be taking any glass home, since it is now prohibited by the State. (Good thing, I guess, to preserve the uniqueness of this beach- if every Tom, Dick and Moonchild is allowed to take enough glass for their chunky jewelry lines the beach would disappear). So, next time I am up North, I'd like to pop over to Fort Bragg and revisit Glass Beach-  maybe take Matt and show him one of the places I used to dash off to on the weekends (or once or twice while I played hookey in high school).

I'm sure it'll be even more beautifu than I remember!

Glass Beach...

The way to the beach...


  1. Where is glass beach?

  2. Glass beach is in Mendocino Country, on the Northern coast of California.

  3. nice and lovely.... man made cruelty turns something magnificent and gorgeous...