Yes, I said,"Rocks."
I have to preface this post with a little story...
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Katie Key, and she *loved* rocks. Yes, rocks. She would pick them up and put them in Ziploc bags, baskets, her hands, her pockets...whatever "container" she could come up with was sure to yield a rock, if not more. She would come to me, and show me all her pretty rocks, and would talk about each of them as if they were a priceless gem straight from the Smithsonian. I would find these rocks in what was their "normal" container...the infamous Ziploc, all over the house, and when I would straighten her room, there would be bags upon bags of them. I would sneak and take them out to the driveway, where I thought they should live, and then I'm sure they ended up back in the house at some point in time...and back out to the driveway, too...you see the cycle, right? I think I suffered from the "Mom's on Autopilot" syndrome, because I really didn't care about the rocks, or find them nearly as glorious as she did. I'm sure she received a lot of "Ummmhhhmmmmms" from me, rather than some form of conversation that *really* involved two people as she shared the beauty of her findings with me. As she got older, she grew out of her love for rocks, and I suppose I really haven't thought much about them or her love for them in many years. That is....until tonight.
Me, being me, tends to mean "out of the box" or "outside the lines" or "creative" or "weird". I'm sure the list could go on and on, but the bottom line is that I want to have art classes that are not the norm. I want to do fun things with my students, and I want them to be proud to show off their creations when they leave the class. I want them satisfied. (Of course.) I have said it hundreds of times, and will no doubt say it hundreds more....I do my best "thinking" in my sleep. Lately, though, I've been brainstorming, and it seems that my mind is constantly working, constantly looking, and I can't turn it off, not even if I wanted to. You see where this is heading, right? One of my ideas is to create something with...rocks. Yes, rocks! I am not going to be more specific than that right now for several reasons, but you *will* hear more about them in the future, I'm sure.
I know this is going to be a huge, long post, but....I think it's worthy of telling, so I'll keep telling! :) I have this friend...friend seems not a good enough word for her...but it's what I can think of to call her. :) One of the things I love about her the most is that she is always up for anything, with a smile on her face, tramping right along with me on the way to the outside of that proverbial box. Seeing as how I had this idea about using rocks for class, I needed to go rock hunting. Who else do I call when I want to go on an adventure? None other than Nycole. And here is why I love her so:
Abby: Hey, you wanna go rock huntin' with me?
Nycole: Go what???
Abby: Rock hunting. You know, rocks?
Nycole: I can't hear you very well.
Abby: Be ready, I'm coming to get you in 10 minutes.
Now, as if that is not reason enough to love this girl, it gets better. Once we clarified that I had indeed said I was going "rock hunting" she didn't even ask why. She didn't even act like I was weird for "hunting" for rocks. She just came along and looked for them with me, and I suspect that she had a hunch what they were destined to be: an Abby creation, and she was OK with that because she loves me inspite of my "weirdness," or maybe even because of it, for there is never a dull moment in the life and times of Abby. Ever. Never ever. Ever ever. She can vouch for that, too, in case you think I'm exagerating. Anyhoo...the perfect rocks eluded us, and when I found a snake, we decided that maybe it was time to head back towards home, and besides, it was getting dark.
Now, for the rest of the story...the today part of the story.
I bought a bag of rocks today. Yup. I know you're at least smiling, if not maybe chuckling just a tad. The irony did occur to me as I shopped for the perfect bag....all I could think of was all those bags of rocks that I snuck back to the driveway years before, and now there I was, looking through bags of rocks for *just* the right ones. And paying for them!!!
When I got home, I started sifting through the bag, looking for the "good" rocks; the ones that would work for the project that was residing in my head. This bag of rocks, or perhaps they are more like pebbles than rocks, was ha-uge. It was *heavy*! It filled a 5-gallon bucket. That's a lot of rocks, folks. I sifted through this bucket of rocky goodness for way over an hour, I know. Possibly closer to two. For real.
As I sifted, not only did I think of the irony I explained above, not only did I reminisce about days gone by with my "little girl"...who will be 20 this year...but I also thought about how even though the rocks seemed alike, they were very different. Some were smooth. Some had cracks. Others were chipped around the edges. There were some that looked like jellybeans (which made me think of my dad with a smile on my face), and others were big enough, I could see them all dolled up as Easter eggs, should I choose to give them a new look. There were many different colors...some matching closer than others...and all different sizes. There were even "fat" rocks and "skinny" rocks...big ones, and little ones. There were smooth ones, and then there were rough ones....but all of them were different from each other in some form or fashion.
Next, my mind wandered to how the rocks in my bucket are much like people. We come in all different shapes and sizes, all different colors, all walking different paths, all with both a past and a future. I wondered what made the smooth rocks smooth....how many years they withstood water running over them, slowly but surely shining them up and making them soft and "pretty"...if you could call a rock "pretty". I also wondered what happened to break the broken ones...why the rough ones were rough...how they got chipped, and why they were different colors. Each rock, as with people, I observed, had its own personality; its own story. The only part of the story that I knew was the "future" part of it. I didn't know the past, why some were scarred and others were not, just as I don't know what many of the people around me have been through or are going through...and this reminded me that no matter what, I need to remember that each person, no matter if they seem happy, sad, or indifferent, has a past, a path they are walking, and a future...all making and molding them into who they are and who they will be. This being said, I should treat each person that I come across during my days with kindness, for I have not walked their path, I do not know what they face or where they have been...but I do know that if I am kind, I can make a difference. I can help take a cracked and broken person and make them new and shiny, just by being kind...by smiling, offering help, saying a kind word, having a positive attitude....because that matters. Just like with these rocks, my actions have an effect on their future...and I want those actions to help make them beautiful, not sad or disheartened. Like another fir
Stay tuned to see the fate of these pebbles....I will be "playing" with them tomorrow!