Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Lake Blessing

Beach glass has always fascinated me – my grandma and I used to collect it when I was little – Grimsby Beach, Lowbanks, wherever we could find it.  I still have a precious few bits of this glass as well as pretty stones and bits of shells that she and I gathered on our trips to the shoreline.

Grandma couldn’t swim, and my Mom wouldn’t go near the water, so despite my Grandfather’s occasional dips and my Dad’s love of swimming, I never learned to swim.  My fascination with the lakes came from the treasures on the shoreline.  I still remember battling with my poor dear Grandma over which one of us had first seen the tiny perfect bonsai-shaped piece of driftwood (and I am ashamed to admit that I won the battle!).

For over 40 years I have lived a half mile from the lake and other than crossing over the river each day, I have been quite lax in giving the waters my due attention.  It seems, however, that the lake has been trying to gain my attention of late – first by sending an awe-inspiring man named Magilla into my shop with the many dramatic photos of his global community of friends - the agile and graceful surfers of the Great Lakes.  Magilla clearly loved the waters of the Great Lakes and spoke glowingly of his life as both a surfer and a photographer.  He also told me that he was dying of a terrible rare form of cancer and did not have much longer to walk the earth.

Then last week the lake nudged me for a second time when old friends presented me with a shoe box full of beach glass. They said they had been picking up pieces for me for years in their travels around the Great Lakes.

What a treasure trove! I have been playing with and sorting these wondrous pieces for days now.  The cache has been sorted into three piles – the first pile of course contains my favorites which I will greedily keep forever (and I must admit I continue adding to this pile every day). The second pile holds the beach glass that I am sharing with others - artists, friends, and customers.  One man (in his mid-forties) was so amazed by it – he had never even heard of beach glass!

The third pile contains about three dozen pieces which I am entering into my newly devised “Beach Glass Catch and Release” program.  These pieces are still too clear, too sharp on the edges - they need the action of the water and the stones to grind them down a bit more, soften the colors, round out the shapes.

I plan to find the perfect location of rock and wave, create a suitable ceremony, and re-gift the lake this small bit of treasure-that-will-be.  Perhaps by next Spring or Summer, Mother Nature will have finished her portion of the artistry and another Grandma or artist child will find them and be thrilled all over again.

This re-gifting ceremony will be dedicated to the memory of Magilla, the Great Lakes surfer, photographer and philosopher who left this world on November 10, 2009.