Hidden Gem: Lucky I Saw It

The author discovered this glass ball at Kealia Beach | Jane Esaki photo

The author discovered this glass ball at Kealia Beach | Jane Esaki photo

Editor’s note: Kauai Midweek is pleased to introduce a new column in this issue by Jane Esaki, a veteran journalist, publisher and entrepreneur. An Anahola resident and Kapaa High alum, she was born and raised on Kauai, and will be writing about the simple joys of life here.

I found an authentic hand-blown blue glass ball at the beach the other day.

Sure, finding a glass ball isn’t such a big deal – all kinds of people find all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors of glass balls all the time on Kauai.

It’s just that I have lived on this island most of my life; lived a five-minute walk from the beach when I was growing up in Anahola, and spent almost every day during the last five years in retirement scouring the beaches for riches. But I have never, ever before found a single glass ball asking for me and only me to pick it up off the sand at the water’s edge.

Yes, on this day, there was no one else to be asked. I was the lone walker at the river-end of Kealia Beach late that afternoon, heading back to the other end. At first, I thought the small, round object was an old rubber ball, the size of a large plum, covered in sand, algae and barnacles. I walked toward it, thinking that there’s just too much trash left by partiers as well as the high tides lately, and this would be my first piece of trash to pick up on my way back.

As I got closer, the turquoise glass peeked through the sea-aged shroud, and I knew I had hit the jackpot.

But the biggest deal here is more than the shock and excitement of finding a glass ball after 50-plus years of being surrounded by the Pacific. This happenstance signals a change of life for me – and I am not talking menopause here.

You see, when I was younger, my sister and I would search for four-leaf clovers to press between the pages of our books. I would spend an hour looking through a field and never find a single one. My sister, though, would find a half-dozen.

I had to face the hard truth: I was just unlucky.

It’s not that I haven’t had bouts of minor successes. As my friends will attest, I am good at spotting an interesting sculpture in a pile of driftwood. But really, let’s face it: Finding a dry old stick that remotely looks like something is a desperate attempt at faking discovery. It’s nothing compared to finding a four-leaf clover.

Or a glass ball.

This glass ball discovery means that my luck is changing. I have a new perspective on life – I have been reading a lot of spiritual books lately, you know. Maybe if I looked in a field of clover now, I just might find a four-leaf one.

But maybe this whole thing is not so philosophical after all. A skeptic would say that I had simply decided to pick up trash and in the process found a glass ball. How’s that so meaningful?

It would be meaningful if, in the process, I had developed a sense of gratitude and I continued to pick up trash, which I did. By the time I had reached my destination at the other end of the beach, my arms were dusted with sand, misted by a light passing rain and loaded with large and small plastic bottles, a Styrofoam cup and marine debris. It was exhilarating. I had a chance to give back to the ocean.

Now that’s what I call lucky!