My mom is a rock hound. Much to my grief.
My childhood years often contained many walks during which we lugged rocks back from 160 acres of pastureland to the in-progress flower garden. I often whined about having to carry them.
As the project took shape, I thought I would someday see the end of needing to lug hands, jackets and pocketsful of rocks back to the home place. I sighed with relief when the project was pronounced ‘Done’.
But we were not done…much to my sorrow.
Apparently, rock gardens and such require a periodic cleaning. Every rock must be removed, fill dirt from our Colorado winds brushed and washed away, new weed guard laid down and the rocks, sparkling from their fresh bath and dried to a lustrous sheen by the sun, placed ever so gently back into their allotted space.
Who knew rocks required baths?
During the moving, cleaning and replacing, much hilarity occurs when enthusiastic rock movers accidentally smash the fingers of less than thrilled co-workers. These stories make rich family lore fodder and are repeated for decades…
My senior year, we took a class trip to the mountains. And visited a pre-historic lake bed. Filled with really pretty, and big, rocks. Apparently, the chaperones and sponsors did not know about the severity of stealing rocks and I, in my desire to be a good daughter, lugged a stone the size of a small cooler onto the bus to bring home as a souvenir of my trip. The Rock Hound is happiest receiving special rocks from special places – these have long replaced postcards, t-shirts, shot glasses, spoons or plates. Bring a rock and she is happy.
All the way home that bus trip, people yelled and lifted their feet as we wound up and down mountain grades – the huge souvenir slid from one end of the bus to another – too big to fit in an overhead, it happily moved from the back end of the bus to the front and back again.
It became dubbed, “Tamrah’s Damn Rock” for the remainder of our trip and not even the adult chaperones objected to the cursing…
In the early days of my marriage to an introverted officer of the law, the Rock Hound’s sister visited us in our new mountain home. Built on a rocky hillside. Rock collecting runs in the family and she promptly oohed and ahhed over some red rock sitting in the back yard. Picked it up to take it home. Hubby, with a sufficiently serious frown, informed her he would have to cite her for removing it if she insisted on taking it.
Shocked, she set it down and apologized.
He grinned and explained he wouldn’t write the ticket if she picked it back up.
We may be exes now, but he still inquires about the itinerary each year she visits. He still dreams of intercepting the Rock Hound and her sister during one of their site-seeing trips – for the day to be slow enough at work to stop them, with lights and siren, because he has nothing better to do.
He can’t wait to ask, with stern face and serious tone, to search their car for contraband rocks.
There are many reasons why I still love that man – this is one of them.
Over the years, I’ve read about the energy power of crystals and various other rocks. I’ve participated often in the “love stone” joke (just another f**king rock).
But at some point, I came to realize the importance of rocks. I was in grief and walking. Walking in the vain attempt to leave my grief behind.
A glittering stone on the path catches my attention just at the time I’m thinking of my loved one and the good times shared.
The rock is picked up, dutifully carted home and placed in a treasured spot about the home.
It’s my connection to those I no longer get to see everyday.
Last year, I went for a long walk. And came back to the Rock Hound’s home with a pocket full of sparkly and unusual rocks.
I showed them to her and she started to relieve me of my burden.
“What are you doing?” I huffily asked.
“Putting them on the rock pile.” She replied, amazed at my irritation.
“No! These are MY Rocks!”
Took her over 40 years, but I’m finally converted…