In desperation for more beach glass to fill my wedding favors, I convinced one of my bridesmaids to take a trip with me and Gretel out to Glass Beach. No one had accompanied us out to the beach for well over a year. We always made the trek alone.
I grew up in this area and have been to this beach many times over the last 20 years. This time we saw some things that I had never seen before.
Soon after we left the parking lot a new sign appeared. This sign, in any fashion, has never been on this beach before. I have never seen any naked people here either so the sign implies a new thing.
As we were walking down the beach we heard a muffled sound like people talking. There was no one on the beach with us though so we looked out into the water. We spotted a canoe.
When we looked closer we could tell that it was a Native American dugout canoe. Although we could not hear them clearly at this point, we assumed that the sound we heard was chanting.
The local Jamestown S’Klallam tribe has some authentic dugout canoes that the use for ceremonial purposes. I had not heard anything about them using them (if they do it is often mentioned on the news) and have no idea where this canoe was headed. I had never seen one of these canoes in person – not at any ceremony and especially not randomly while walking the beach. THIS was very special indeed.
We kept walking and suddenly another canoe appeared……then another and another and another. There was a steady stream of them. At our final count there were somewhere about 15. As their numbers increased, some of them came closer to shore and were easier to hear. We could then clearly hear them singing a Native American chant and beating drums.
They were still going by when we stopped in one area to hunt for glass. We were out there for about an hour and the whole time we were “meditating” on beach glass to Native American chants. It was so surreal.
The add to my list of “first times”, we sadly didn’t find much blue glass that day. What we did find was more yellow and red pieces than I had ever found before. Unfortunately, those are not my wedding colors and I will have to return to the beach at least one more time before the wedding.
Gretel and I enjoyed having someone else to walk with. I know at least for me the walk felt like it was faster. It was certainly more enjoyable. It was nice to have a witness for all of these first too so people didn’t think I was crazy
I was still curious about the Native American canoes when I got back to so I did some research. The best I can tell, we saw part of the 2012 paddle to Squaxin Island. The website says “many nations and people are participating in this event”. As it turns out, we may have had the privilege of seeing a tribe from further north on their journey…which would make our sighting extra, extra special.