Growing up I had a nice sand pile and lots of stories to go with it, but I never had a rock pile. In fact, rocks were an abomination to my dad. Oh horrors, the idle rock that fell into the yard and dulled his mower blade! Kids will carry rocks when they go to the river or creek, but Dad made us leave them there.
So somewhere in my adulthood, I began to pick up rocks without hearing Dad’s thunder. The first rocks I remember toting home was from the Cimarron River. DH was fishing the rippling water while the boys and I picked up rocks, tossed bread to chipmunks, watched dragonflies freewheel above the water. I found small stones washed round and smooth by eons of water in the riverbed.
From then on, I brought home rocks, bigger ones when possible. DH even got into spying pretty or unusual rocks for me. He eased himself down a crevice in South Dakota because there would be some “goodies” there. Sure enough some lovely stones in shades of pink. I remember sandy-coated rocks from a trip to Leadville. I don’t remember exactly where I picked them up, but I do remember it was spring before I sucked out all the sand from the van’s carpeting!
Then there was the trip to Robert Frost’s home. I had two boys with me that did not appreciate what they were seeing. I stood at Frost’s mailbox, running my hand over his name. I looked out across the blue haze that lingered between majestic mountains and appreciated the view Frost had from his front porch…and I took rocks from his driveway. One is the granite that so marks New England.
The other is a most wonderful shape. It fits in the palm of my hand like a gray stone heart. I use both as paperweights, but the gray heart one I often pick up and hold when my mind is stumped, always hoping to channel the beautiful wordsmithing of Frost himself.
I have a couple of painted rocks, but I much prefer the plain rocks touched by the earth’s forces of wind and water. The smooth round rocks can be a perfect as a freshly laid egg or maybe jagged a bit where a corner stuck above ground being hit by maybe a wooden wagon wheel. In New Mexico, a ways from a deep ravine, DH caught me digging with anything at hand trying to get a rock loose from the earth. What was special about it? Why I wouldn’t know for sure until I could see ALL of it; the rock just called to me.
Mom is a joke with the kids because they think she has rocks in her head. They may be right. I wonder, would those rocks be quartz, limestone, or granite? Could they be turquoise, a favorite stone I often wear on my outer body anyway? Or some stone pressed in to a gem like a diamond or a ruby?
Are you a collector of rocks or other things when you travel?