Susan Cosentino, a Malibu Realtor friend with six kids, is one of those crazy busy working moms who is legitimately crazy busy and not the "must-catch-my-pilates-class-after-lunch-or-I'll-die" kind of busy.
I like being around Susan for a couple of reasons, chief among them is that she's one of those people who manages a boatload of bananas without ever tipping over. She's as calm as they come and with the exception of the time Bibi Netanyahu tied up traffic in Malibu for five hours and not even the school buses could get through, I've never heard so much as a mild profanity pass from her lips in frustration.
I'm fascinated by calm, centered people and she's one of them. I pushed her for her secret and while I didn't expect the answer to come from a bottle -- pill or otherwise -- her answer technically did.
Beach glass. Every morning when she doesn't have a house showing, she runs or walks along the ocean and collects beach glass. I happen to love beach glass myself and totally got it.
Beach glass -- for those of you not blessed to live near an ocean -- is actually sea glass. "Sea glass" is the physically weathered glass found on the beach along bodies of salt water. It becomes naturally frosted and some people make jewelry out of it. "Beach glass" technically is what is found near fresh water lakes and because of its PH balance is less frosted. But for those who hunt for the treasures along the ocean, we just know it all generically as beach glass.
What matters isn't what we call it but rather the joy that comes from collecting a pocket full of it while you walk along the beach. I am convinced that it has mystical powers and that if you find even just a few pieces on a single outing, your crappy day just turns itself around and all becomes good with the world again. Beach glass is good karma, ocean-style.
Last week, Cosentino emailed to tell me that on a particularly fertile collection day that I apparently missed, she spotted a Mama whale and her calf playing just off-shore. "And then there were three Mamas and their calves in a row... When I say amazing.... Complete understatement," she wrote.
For those interested, the whales were likely passing through on their migration back north. It's a spot shallow enough for them to roll and get the barnacles off their backs, stretch, and "spy" -- you know, when they put their whole heads out of the water and look around to see who's hunting for beach glass.
"These are the things I love most about my time in the morning," Cosentino said. "No phone, no music, just 'stopping to smell the roses' time." And of course there is the beach glass she finds.
Being a little protective of one of her main glass-mining spots, she did caution me, "You aren't going to write where this is, are you?" Nah, besides, I know the whales would sooner tell me than she would.
Beach glass is one of those very few by-products of man that improves our lives even though it is born from our carelessness. We discard bottles, jars and broken windows that get slowly worn and polished by the ocean, knocked around by the currents and smashed through sand and seashells. Years ago people buried and burned their bottles and trash directly on the beach or hauled garbage off-shore and dumped it there. It's all coming back now, having been reborn in a way.
Trash to treasure; I kind of like that too. The planet forgives us our transgressions and gives us back our garbage in the form of something made beautiful by Nature. How is there not a lesson or six here?