Walking the beach between thunderstorms, I found a pair of glasses. Not just any glasses. Prescription Pradas.
I picked them up and shook the sand from them. I thought they might be reading glasses until I turned them and saw the Prada imprint on the inside.
“Honey, look at these!” I exclaimed to my husband. “They’re Prada!”
Our streak continued. Every summer we find sunglasses washed in by the waves—usually inexpensive lenses, often scratched up—but occasionally an expensive pair that I would never buy for myself. This pair had not been in the water long—no scratches, no rust on the hinges.
I held the glasses in front of my eyes and gazed through them to look at the family in the distance. The lenses were photogray, but because the day was overcast, they had only the slightest tinge of green. The prescription was mild—nothing like my contact lenses, which allow me to read the big E at the top of the vision chart.
“I don’t want to just leave them here to be washed away by the waves,” I said to my husband.
“Take them up and put them on the railing of the walkway,” he advised.
I trudged through the soft sand and looped the glasses around the dune fencing, wondering whether the owner had another pair, ultimately deciding that the person who wore those glasses would not be nearly as debilitated as I would be if I lost mine.
Each time we come to the beach, I travel with a spare pair of contact lenses and my glasses, knowing that my vacation will be ruined if I have to see the world through my own imperfect eyes.
Without vision correction, I see only the blurry outlines of the world, like a hazy Impressionist painting, like a PowerPoint image with the soft edges maximized to blur out any details.
Scanning the beach, I saw no one who seemed to be searching for missing glasses. It was late afternoon, and an earlier rainstorm had driven most people indoors.
I wondered, as I always do when someone’s possession washes up in front of my feet, about the history of those glasses. What does she look like, the woman who lost them? Was she knocked down by a sudden, unexpected wave? Did the loss upset her? Had she spent a week’s salary on this one indulgence? Or was she like my colleague who has frames in a dozen different styles and colors, who tells me it’s her one vanity to be able to accessorize?
I’m struck again at how Nature is no respecter of persons. Drought and rain, storm and sun—they belong to us all. We can be obliterated by the hurricane, and we can be sustained by the gentle breeze.
But it’s good to know that we’re all in it together, even those people we never meet. So I’ll go back to the beach this morning and check to see if those glasses are still hanging on the fence. And I’ll hope that the owner, whoever she is, finds what she needs.
Tell me your stories of lost, of found.