The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
August 31, 2019
If you are of a certain age, you might remember Pet Rocks. They were marketed in the 1970’s, packaged in designer cardboard boxes with a bed of straw inside to cushion googly eyed rocks. Air holes were cut into the sides of the boxes to make the rocks appear alive. This was one of many fads that marched through the 70s, along with bell bottom trousers, great music and love beads.
Rocks are all the rage again in 2019, but this time they come with purpose. Stones that fit in the hand, painted with a pleasing design or written message, are being propped at the side of a building or on a restaurant table, deep in a forest on a hiking path or left on the lid of an industrial trash can. The choices of placement are unlimited and these rocks are being purposefully placed all across the world.
Online you can find the Kindness Rock Project that describes the phenomena. But I suspect spontaneous combustion, where the idea exploded within multiple minds at once! All you need to participate is a rock, some paint and a brush with a message you want to gift to another human being. A heartfelt message of love, a word of encouragement, a quote, a rainbow, a colorful bird or butterfly ... even musical notes with the title of a song. Ideas are unlimited. Paint, let dry, then simply place the rock where it can eventually be found!
These rocks have been popping up in our town and, if you find a rock yourself, either enjoy the discovery and keep it or leave it for the next person to find and enjoy. If you decide to keep the rock, you can in turn paint and leave one of your own. That person will most likely come back to check to see if his rock was taken.
Such a simple idea, right? But one that works, bringing joy and fun and a meaningful message, sometimes at the very moment when needed most. Such a small action can bring about healing and change in a world that can use a positive boost. There can never be too much kindness in this world. If you need inspiration and examples to get started, look for the “Kindness Rocks Journal” by Megan Murphy.
I had the opportunity this week to get an early edition of the novel “The Secrets of Lost Stones” by Melissa Payne, officially available Sept. 1. Be prepared. This is a heart wrenching story of a young mother who lost her child, a teen who lost everything and is now living on the streets, an old woman who has an unexplained gift to help people “tie up loose strings in their lives” and an elusive child who leaves all of them heart shaped stones. This book is emotionally intricate, written in a way that touches the heart of the characters as well as the reader, and tugs on any personal loose strings that reader may be carrying too. It is worth it. Be brave.
But if secrets of lost stones and loose strings unnerve you, among the many other stresses in life, read “The Worry Stone” by Marianna Dengler. Published 33 years earlier than the lost stones book above, on Sept. 1, 1996, this is an enduring and endearing story. Actually a story written within a story as an elderly lady on a park bench observes and befriends a sad little boy. Reminiscing about a story her grandfather had told her many years before, she shares with the child how to find a worry stone and use it to get through difficult times.
A worry stone will most likely speak to you before you seek it. It will be in normal places like the side of a path, in a garden, even kicked into a parking lot sitting by the side of your car. It finds its way into your hand, both comforting and soothing, to be caressed over and over, smoothed by your thumbs. When held tightly in the palm of your hand during intense trials, the worries seem to absorb right into the stone itself, leaving you in peace. In that peace, answers come ... along with strength, hope and if you are lucky, pure joy.
“The Worry Stone” is an extended picture book with added text and beautiful illustrations by Sibyl Graber Gerig. Both delightful and meaningful, it speaks to the hearts of all ages.
Whether you have stones come to you or you bring the stones to others, humans are touched by the dichotomy of a meager rock becoming a harbinger of good news. Living stones are the ones that touch and grace us with their gifts.
*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.