Alki Beach in West Seattle was a favorite place of mine in the 1970’s. It was rustic, undeveloped and almost always tranquil. There was a broken down beach wall near the north end, where smooth sand gave way to barnacle covered rocks, and on summer evenings we’d climb the concrete wall to sit and watch the sunset over the Puget Sound.
This rocky expanse was my favorite part of Alki. It was always a place of discovery and for a young girl full of emotions it was also a place of solace and refuge. Beach glass was everywhere. Dark brown pieces that looked like root beer when held up to the sun, lots of greens and foggy white pieces of glass and the treasured blues which were rare even back then.
Where did all the beach glass go? Is there less glass in the world today? Or have the artists simply carted it away by the bucket full?
On New Year’s Eve I found a tiny bit of beach glass. I was walking near the boat dock at Redondo Beach and spotted it sitting in a clam shell. Green, translucent, a small bit of smooth square glass, tumbled, polished and broken down to the size of a sunflower seed.
The following poem was first published in Literary Yard magazine in 2014
Tell Me Why
You can’t find beach glass on this beach anymore
the artists have taken it
carried it away by the bucketful
hidden it in the closets of their bungalows
it can no longer be shared with the world.
And the beach combers cry for the lack of it
empty pockets at the end of a summer’s day
stories made up to pacify the children
“Giant whales are using it for missing teeth
but the artists understand suffering
behind painted windows
they blow their fears up chimneys
and toss handfuls of glass into the fire.