Wednesday, May 26, 2010

finding joy in the bedrock, day 3: between a rock and a


For more information about extracting joy - read here.



I have a lot of rocks. I found a bunch of them recently sitting in a box underneath my studio work table, and I spent a good long while reminiscing about the events they mark.


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Capital Hill was my first Seattle neighborhood. It was outlandish. It was bustling. It was colorful. It was loud. And it was weird.

Even at 9pm on Friday night in the Safeway grocery store. Maybe especially at 9pm on Friday night in the Safeway grocery store.

It was in the early weeks of living and working here, when I had only a few friends and even less to do on a Friday night. So I went grocery shopping.

While I was busy strolling through the produce an older man came up to me. He asked me if I'd ever seen a fossil. This is when an informed and city-wise girl would not pass Go and would not collect $200 - and would proceed directly to security. But what did I do? I backed up a little, looked around to see if anyone else was around (a few others)-- and I mumbled something like, "Um, yes. I'm really not interested. Thanks." But the guy walked over to my cart and put a large black rock inside. A rock about the size of a grapefruit. "No worries. I'm giving it to you. There's a fossil inside."

And there was. The imprint of a large fern frond, sandwiched between the two pieces of rock.

I've kept it ever since.


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I have rocks from beaches I've visited, the mountains, Oban castle in Scotland, my honeymoon. I've picked them up because of their shape--- round, oblong, flat. Or sometimes their color would catch my eye--- deep maroon, blue-gray, stark white, a lovely sea glass green. Rocks with deep pock marks, smooth rocks, one with a thick white stripe running through it.


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Bean has recently started collecting rocks. When she says the word, it comes out ROKXXX, lots of spittle, lots of emphasis on the X.

She gathers them in her dimpled hands, rolls their rough surfaces over her cheek. I stop myself from telling her they're dirty. I understand the harvest is a tactile experience.

Her small collection lives on our front walkway, piled together by our planters. I've tried to move some of the less desireable ones (read: items covered in mysterious substances) out of her reach, but she catches me every time. Wants to keep each one. After she grabs them from my hand, she'll hold each one individually, like she's memorizing their shape and texture. She can't tell me yet why these little stones are so important, but I'll hazard a guess: each one stands for an effort she's made--- a long teetering venture into our neighbor's yard, or the arduous trek back from the mailbox. They stand as sentinals for time spent and a trophy gained. Very much like the rocks I've kept. Who am I to tell her an adventure into the backyard, a grunting reach under the neighbor's fence, isn't as important as a trip to Scotland or an eccentric guy at a supermarket?

There is joy to be found in rocks and stones, the things we keep from our adventures in the great beyond, no matter the shape or size.




What kinds of things do you gather on your adventures? Postcards or bits of earth or pictures taken on a fancy camera? I collect cat whiskers, so nothing you say is going to surprise or shock me.



If you're playing along today, let me know and I'll link you up - or if you're not blogging, but you'd like to share anyway, tell us what's giving you some joy.
For their part, these lovely bloggers are digging digging digging, and finding it...



7 comments:

Rose said...

Isn't it great how little ones find joy in the simplest things? Rocks, sticks, smelling flowers... we could all learn a lesson from that

Bethsix said...

I used to collect rocks. My kids collect rocks now, and my whole family thinks it's so cute, like they've inherited my love of rocks. Maybe they did. Maybe there's a rocklove gene. In the summer of 1988, I collected bear fur and sap from trees in Yellowstone. I don't collect anything systematically now. Sometimes postcards, sometimes pictures on a fancy camera. At home, I collect the antique cameras themselves.


Day 3

Midnight Rambler said...

I am finally on the joy bandwagon, though it may be a one-post-a-week thing for me. Thanks for doing this. I need a little digging this week :-)

Amy said...

I love finding nice, smooth sea shells. I rub and rub and rub them and it just makes me feel happy.

Swistle said...

I collect postcards. The glossier the better.

Miss Sarah in Georgia said...

I collect postcards-with-guilt. On nearly every vacation, I buy a stack of postcards to send to a list of specific people (the people change, but the number of postcards seems to stay about 10.) And then ... I get home and I never send the postcards. This has been going on for over 10 years, so you can imagine the postcard stack is quite high. I'm now thinking of using them in a guest room; I've found some mini paper clips and I envision hanging them from a wire (like Ikea!) or from a red ribbon. We'll see if it ever comes together ...

tearese said...

I totally had a rock collection. The last time I visited home, I had to bring some of the best ones home with me, even though I have nowhere to put them, but I didn't want them lost. I was always looking for fossils too; I have several fossilized seashells, but I was always looking for something really cool like a trilobite.
Oh, and I had several snake skins and some cow teeth...I just kept them with my rocks.