Looking For A Stone

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A beautiful bowlful of pocket rocks

Everybody Needs A Rock

After last week’s musings, I was reminded by a comment to revisit a book that I read with my kids many years ago and am now re-reading with my grandkids. It’s called Everybody Needs A Rock, written in 1974 by Byrd Baylor, with dreamy, evocative illustrations by Peter Parnall. In a world where books come and go but rarely stay, I was fascinated to find that our local library system has not one but five copies (very unusual since the system managers generally get rid of older books faster than they bring in new ones). Obviously this charming book still speaks to many people, since it’s gained Classic status.

The original American Library Association starred review said, “The free verse of this original book speaks perceptively to the spiritual-sensual affinity that can spring up between a living being and an inanimate object.” While I’ve never really thought about my relationship with rocks that way, I agree with the idea that physical connection with natural objects can be soothing and healing. I’ve always found my pocket rocks to be grounding as well, helping me to remember that we humans are part of the natural world even though we don’t always act like it.

Watching For Pocket Rocks

The book offers ten rules for finding a rock that suits you just right. My dad collected beautiful rocks whenever we were at the beach, bringing them home to the incorporate into the front walkway of our house. I remember watching him carefully place each stone before embedding each one in fresh concrete, alternating dark and light, striped and mottled, plain and sparkly. Growing up, I thought minerals were as beautiful and intriguing as plants. Though I never learned much geology, I’ve never lost my pleasure in handling and admiring lovely stones. While I always enjoyed reading the Everybody Needs A Rock book with kids, I’ve never had any trouble finding rocks that wanted to come home with me.

My grandkids also love stones and we rarely return home from walks without a pocketful of rocks, whether curious and interesting looking or simply stones that feel wonderful in the hand or to the touch. It can take some time to decide whether a given stone is right but the good news is, you can always put them back for someone else to find if they don’t work out. Some of my favorite stones have a slight depression that makes them especially strokable by a fidgeting thumb. When I first started doing a lot of public speaking, fiddling with my pocket rocks kept my hands from shaking with nerves. To this day, a good rock in each pocket can keep me calm and attentive during a loooooong meeting (or at least give me the appearance of being calm and attentive).

Gifting Stones

Yesterday my grandkids and I walked through our little town, looking at lights and decorations and admiring sparkly holiday displays. We ended up as we often do at a delightful little store called Hidden Gem, full of minerals and semi-precious stones in all shapes and sizes. After a great deal of looking and handling, they decided to buy some gifts for my daughter, who has had a long, painful and difficult year and is still not out of the woods. They finally settled on the idea of sewing two tiny silk bags and buying a very special stone to put in each one.

The older child chose Moonstone, partly because it’s one of the birthstones for June, but also because the description called it a stone for “new beginnings”, which would certainly be welcome(!). Moonstone is said to support inner growth and strength, soothe emotional and physical stress, and provide stable calmness. What’s not to love? The younger child chose a polished piece of Rose Quartz, partly because it’s so pretty and feels comforting, and partly because the description said that Rose Quartz opens the heart to self-love, friendship, deep inner healing and feelings of peace. Calming and reassuring, it also helps to comfort in times of grief. Not coincidentally, I happen to have several pieces of Rose Quartz in my own collection, as I find it very attractive to look at and to hold. As for those attributes, whether real or imaginary, I find the very idea of peaceful calmness comforting, and aspire to achieve that every day. Onward, right?


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One Response to Looking For A Stone

  1. Deborah Cheadle says:

    Great piece, Ann. I’m off to look for some rose quartz, and maybe a moonstone!!

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