Beachglass collecting is--for those who love it--an obsession.
Lately, I've been giving a lot of thought to the collectors themselves. I've noticed that
after a few years or so, a person gets "picky". Their collection gets "fine tuned". They make the transition from gatherer to curator, applying rules that didn't exist when their hobby was new, and eliminating objects that would've made the cut a few years earlier. And here's where I find it really starts to get interesting!
What are the Collector's favorites? How do they categorize their finds? Which pieces do they leave at the beach? and...WHY?
Right now with my own beachglass collecting, my very very favorite find is anything from the "darkest" category--those pieces of glass which, at first glance, look like ordinary black rocks.
When you first spy a "Dark", it's impossible to know if it is glass without holding it up to the sun, and even then there is sometimes only the faintest hint of color around the edge.
Darks for me provide the biggest thrill. I love the suspense between first sighting and the moment of truth--is it, or isn't it?-- and theres nothing quite like the satisfaction when It "Is"!
The very best type of "aha!" is when I have someone close by insisting it's just a rock, it's not glass. "Hold it to the light", I will tell them, practically bursting in anticipation of that "oh yeah, look at that" thing their face is about to do. So good.
But all of this sounds ridiculously daft to the non-collector. Why all the fuss over what is, essentially, garbage?
A woman once told me that whenever she found beachglass she would throw it in the nearest garbage, because it was just litter to her.
And there you have it.
It is the *perception* of value that is the key to what we treasure.
We can be told all our lives what is beautiful, what is precious, what is worthy, but the cool part is deciding for ourselves what we believe. I believe in beachglass!