Kneeling between an energetic shoreline and the clay-colored bluffs, I held the smooth, dull pieces of glass between my fingers. The green ones, I imagined, are remnants of a 7-Up bottle that burst into hundreds of pieces as it hit the rocks at the ocean’s edge. The white stones might be fragments of a windshield from an old Chevy or Ford that was flung over the edge and discarded more than 50 years ago. The red stones, though, along with the purple, leave me wondering what mysterious objects they once were, before they were flung into “the dump.”
Once upon a time, residents in a little beach town threw their household trash, appliances and even cars over a cliff, where it simply became known as “the dump.” But then the ’60s happened, and people got some sense — or at least inspired to clean up the coast.
Decades later, the beach is now known as Glass Beach, and the only remnants of “the dump” are tiny pieces of glass that have been worn down and smoothed by years of being pounded by waves.
Glass Beach was the only thing I knew I had to see before leaving Fort Bragg this past weekend. I’d seen pictures of the beach, but never knew it existed in California. I wandered the beach for a while, searching for colored gems and pieces of “trash” that have become like fossils in the surrounding rocks and tide pools. Though the shoreline glittered with glass, it made me a little sad to know that Glass Beach probably won’t be around forever.