The Wrack Line

Here's a definition for you: "In the marine sense, the wrack line is the line of debris left on the beach by high tide. The wrack is usually made up of grass, kelp, crustacean shells, feathers, bits of plastic, and all kinds of litter."

Or, if you're like me, treasures waiting to be transformed into wearable art.

Recently here in Milwaukee, we enjoyed one of those inexplicably warm winter days - the perfect condition for heading over to the beach to see what was happening there.

All the snow and ice had melted, and the almost foot-tall wrack line was full of stones, feathers, and bits of wood pushed away from the water line. The bright sun was ideal for spotting bits of tumbled beach glass among the debris, sand, and rocks.

Brushing through the masses of stones, I found many small pieces of colorful beach glass - tiny enough to drop through the narrow necks of the bottles I fill that later become pendants. I often pick up dark blue and brown beach glass in Milwaukee - colors different than what I find on Massachusetts and Florida beaches. One friend suspects the brown tidbits originate from beer bottles thrown over the sides of boats on leisurely summer fishing expeditions on Lake Michigan. Sounds likely, right?

I'm in the habit of looking for heart-shaped stones when I'm at the beach, and my search this warm day did not disappoint. Incredibly, I also found a heart-shaped piece of beach glass - a first for me.

What a gift to slow down and go to the beach on a winter's day in Wisconsin. The simple pleasure I felt from this visit reminded me that while I am busy carrying on my life, the swells of the water, the tumbling of the stones, and the life of the lake ceaselessly carries on.

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