A few years ago my family purchased an antique apothecary jar. It’s lovely, tall and delicate with a curving shape, the type of jar once used to store cotton balls or candy. We display it on a high shelf and fill it with beach glass.
There are two beaches near us where locals go to hunt for glass. The first, closest to our house, is the best. It’s rocky and not suitable for sun bathing, but walk there at low tide and you are likely to find fistfuls of sea glass, in colors ranging from brown to green to the coveted and rare blue.
At first, that’s where we went. My husband and I would stroll there after dinner and fill our pockets, or the kids would walk with friends and return to spread their plunder on the table, proudly showing off their haul. And little by little the apothecary jar, which one seemed so enormous, began to fill up. The more glass it contained, the more striking it appeared, the more I couldn’t wait to see what it would look like when it was full.
And then last summer, I was admiring the jar, the way the light played off the colors within and turned them into rich jewels, when it hit me. The layers of glass represented more than just a decoration. They stood for time with my family, for summers that were quickly passing by, for time that wouldn’t come again. Why was I rushing to fill it?
The realization hit just when, due to a myriad of reasons, I was struggling to find happiness in my writing and elsewhere. I was trying to force the outcomes I wanted, slogging through with my head down, sad and missing the beauty around me. [Read more…]