"The eyes in the trees open onto my dreams. In daylight they watch my crooked hands while I scratch the soil in my little damp garden. What do you want from me? When I raise up my crazy old eyes and talk to myself, what do you want me to tell you?"
The other day I was browsing the used book store as I sometimes do, in search of a few "gems". There are always great books to be found there and the space is filled with books, all categorized in terms of their topic. In the children's book room I found two or three great little books for my granddaughters but also one for me. It is titled "Everybody Needs a Rock" by Byrd Baylor with pictures by Peter Parnall. What a great book. Simple. Very few pages (less than 20 I would say) and not much to the pictures that are hand-drawn in terms of color but the content is superb!
I have been a "rock hound" since I was a young girl. I used to have a great rock collection with each rock in its own compartment, categorized by type, when I started my collection. Over the years I would add to it but when I left home at 18 it was one of those things that got left behind in my locker in the garage. I always knew it would be there waiting for me if and when I wanted to pick it up but then one year my parents decided to move and it, along with many other items that I felt were valuable, got tossed in the garbage during the move. I was devastated, to say the least. It takes YEARS to put together a good rock collection!
I have "collected" rocks ever since but not rocks that are semi-precious stones or valued. I have collected rocks that "speak" to me along the way. The criteria is always the same: they have to be a special shape or color or come from a place that I want to remember. You know...SPECIAL!
Byrd Baylor says in her book: "If somebody says, 'what's so special about that rock?' don't even tell them...Nobody is supposed to know what's special about another person's rock."
She has ten rules she uses for finding a rock. Rule Number 9 I really like.
RULE NUMBER 9
"Always sniff a rock. Rocks have their own smells. Some kids can tell by sniffing whether a rock came from the middle of the earth or from an ocean or from a mountain where wind and sun touched it every day for a million years.
You'll find out that grown-ups can't tell these things. Too bad for them. They just can't smell as well as kids can."
I guess I am still a kid-at-heart since I still sniff my rocks. I hold my rocks, rub my rocks, sometimes dip them in water to see the color and if I don't have any water to dip them into...well then...I have been known to even LICK a rock on occasion. Or spit on it!
I love to collect heart-shaped rocks and I know many people who do too. They don't have to be perfectly-shaped hearts either. They can be a little bit wonky, abstract hearts. Just as long as they remind me of a heart, that is all that is important really. But heart-shaped rocks are not my only criteria either.
I also like to collect perfectly round rocks that look like balls. And then I like to collect elongated rocks of all different sizes. I have a collection of rocks that look like faces, rocks that sparkle, rocks that look like skulls. And it's funny how these rocks find me. I might just be carrying the garbage out one day and happen to look down to see a face staring back at me in a rock. I have to pick it up, examine it, and if it is "special" it finds a place in my collection here at home. I actually think that I have rocks in almost every room (inside and outside) in my home. It's just something that has to be.
"I've seen a lizard pick one rock out of a desert full of rocks and go sit there alone. I've seen a snail pass up twenty rocks and spend all day getting to the one it wanted.
You have to make up your own mind. You'll know." Byrd Baylor