"nobody on the road, nobody on the beach, I feel it in the air, the summer's out of reach...." I always loved that song by Don Henley and it never fails to pop into my head every fall during my trips to the beach after everyone goes home for the year.
The day before my sons returned to school, we took a post-Labor Day weekend trip to the beach to enjoy a beautiful, sunny day. Out of habit, we always try to plan a beach trip around low tide and we arrived about an hour prior on this day and already found shell beds that had been left behind by the previous high tide. Shell beds are something that have been missing since Sandy tore apart the Jersey shore last fall, but there they were, several patches of shells spread out over a 4 or 5 block stroll on the empty beach.
While the boys tossed a ball around in the water, the DH and I headed off towards the closest of the shell beds...hoping. What we found was not what we were used to finding. In these shell beds we found quite a bit of what looks like washed gravel- perhaps gravel that once sat in the yards, driveways and walkways of many of the residences on LBI. These were rocks that are not normally found in the ocean. The shells that we found also seemed different, smaller somehow, almost like those that are found in the bay.
In the 2nd bed we came across, the DH found a smallish piece of Budweiser brown sea glass. Unlike most of the glass we found this year, this piece was actually sea glass. While it was a newer piece of glass, it was frosted and had spent a decent amount of time in the ocean. I was kinda excited because I began to think that maybe there would be a few "finds" among the shells and stones, but the only find for me on this day, would be my first sand dollar (believe it or not, I had never found one that wasn't damaged before) and I would go on to find several more on this day...but no beach glass.
My DH walked down to the area he refers to as "Cobalt Beach". In the past, this area had been the place for us to find rare colors of sea glass and some the most "choice" pieces we have ever found in NJ. If there was to be beach glass on the beach, it would be in this area
As my hubby got closer to the area, he found very large shell beds mixed with the same type of stones found in driveways & walkways. There were several larger sand dollars, but only one piece of sea glass- another Budweiser brown small piece.
It could be possible that these beds had contained sea glass and DH was too late. My DH did see footprints around the shells beds, but he also added that there weren't footprints in the middle of the beds, only around the exterior. So perhaps those that passed by earlier, didn't see anything worth stopping for or maybe they were just out for a walk. But these shell beds didn't contain the treasures we were looking for.
In the end, I did find my first ever sand dollar and the family spent the day together, relaxing on a quiet, beautiful day. It does seem like I may need to find a new beach hobby, because I fear that my days spent sea glass hunting on the beach could be over. It's a thought that saddens me, as every time I take a leisurely walk along the surf, I remember as a young girl, walking with my Dad, finding beautiful pieces of sea glass.
I will still walk along the beach with my sons, I will still keep looking for those shell beds and I'm sure I will continue to drift closer to them, keeping an eye alert for a shiny glimmer of green or yellow or blue, and I hope my boys have the chance to pass along this little hobby when they have children. I never thought that my hobby could end so abruptly and still have hopes that the lack of sea glass is temporary. But my gut feeling is that even white and brown pieces of sea glass will be a rare find
I am still on the hunt for that elusive piece of red sea glass, it's sad that if and when I find it, it probably will not be on a NJ beach : (
'til next time...
A thank you to Don Henley for a perfect post Labor day beach song...and for the towns that did everything they could to preserve the beaches