Saturday, December 24, 2011


I really like rocks.
They’re one of my favorite things.
They might even be my very favorite thing on earth.
It’s hard to explain why that is, it’s difficult for me to understand even. Something about them having been here for a long time, I think.
You don’t ever find a new rock. I don’t even know if there’s any such thing as a new rock. It seems like there’s new everything else, but rocks are always old.

New things don’t excite me that much anyway, but rocks do.
Rocks were not planned, designed, made, manufactured, or crafted.
They’ve just kind of always been here, in one form or another.
Some of them fell out of the sky, and some of them shot up out of the earth. Some of them even formed themselves right where they lay, out of minerals, stardust, and other such properties; but none of them were ever created by some clever marketer. They were not patented, and they are not advertised on late-night television. I like that about them too.

You look up ‘rock’ in the dictionary and it just says stuff about music and describes swaying back and forth in a chair, and stuff like that.

There are hard rocks, I think everybody knows that. There’s even a Hard Rock Café. But there are soft rocks as well. I’ll bet not nearly as many people know that. ‘Soft rock’ is kind of a contradiction of terms, but it is not a contradiction to a rock.

I used to bring a rock home whenever I went on a hike, or to a lake or river, to remind me of the beautiful place I’d been. Kind of like how some people buy a snow globe in every city, or country, they visit. Or some other kind of kitsch. But I eventually realized that I could never remember which rock was gathered from which place. And I never thought to date and label the rocks with a sharpie, so I stopped gathering them for that purpose. Besides, writing on a rock tends to invalidate its very character. Oh, I still gather them, but I no longer worry about where they came from.

I collect rocks on, and from around, my property, in the mountains, by the side of roads, and near rugged creeks and rivers. I know some environmentalists would have a fit over that, but the way I look at it is that those rocks were somewhere else before they were where I found them. And they’ll be somewhere else again. I’m a part of the natural cycle, and the natural re-cycle of nature, and nature tends to move things around a bit. I don’t steal from nature, I just relocate bits and pieces of it. You could say I do some landscaping, some design work, if you will.

On my own property I’ve found some giant boulders in the forest and dragged them with truck and chain up to the house because I like to look at them there. Some weigh hundreds, and even thousands of pounds. I like to walk out into my yard and see a two-ton rock that I moved by myself. It gives me great satisfaction, and it adds a pleasurable ambience to the area around the house.

I like to pick up rocks, all sizes of rock, really. I like to move them from here to there. I always have. I like to pick them up off the ground and put them into the truck, and I like to pull them out of the truck and put them back on the ground in a different place. I like the way rocks feel, and I like how they make me feel when I interact with them. I like to hold them, I like to throw them, sit on them, lean up against them, and even roll them down hills. I like to pry rocks loose from the earth. I like to climb rocks, and I like to build a campfire up against a big granite rock wall at night in the wilderness. Don’t ask me why. I couldn’t really tell you. It’s just that rocks tend to make everything right with my world.
It’s an ancient presence.

I also like to make things out of rocks. Fire pits, yard borders, sculptures, garden areas. I’ve always wanted to build a rock house by a river, and planned to collect all the rocks from the river as I built it. I probably won’t be doing that now because I’m getting pretty old, but I want to.
I’m sure I’ll always want to.

With the arrival of the Christmas season I often find myself thinking about the Rock of Ages. I even catch myself singing the old song sometimes.

Rock on.