Heart Rocks

I used to take my dad’s hammer out to the backyard to look for good rocks to crack open. Scratching through the leafy detritus in the woods behind our house or in the azalea bushes which held promising specimens among their gnarly roots, I would heft a few hopefuls onto the driveway and strike them repeatedly with the hammer, the vibrations coursing up the wooden handle into my arm, sharp metallic strikes splitting the air, assaulting my ears. Eventually, a crack would fall open to reveal the core. Some offerings would be just what one would expect, much the same inside as on the outside, rusty brown gray with flecks of earthy color here and there. Others revealed the surprise I was hoping for. Nondescript smudged buff exterior belied a spectacle within, as if someone had taken a snow globe and poured its glittery crystals inside an ordinary rock, hidden from all but the most curious excavators.

I recently surmised that rocks might be my favorite non-living thing, and memories of driveway geological forays gives me reason to note that my fascination is not new. Along those lines, my family was recently persuaded to accompany me to a rock and fossil show at a local convention center. There I settled on two specimens out of thousands to take home: a swirling, speckled orb of Ocean Jaspar – reminiscent of a dappled planet, and an egg of butterscotch-burgundy Carnalite – both harvested from Madagascar.

Returning to the show the following day I roamed the banquet, this time choosing 14 polished hearts – one for each of my students.

That Friday, the day before spring break, I invited my students to choose a heart rock at the end of class. They oooh-ed and aaah-ed, looked, touched, and each closed fingers around a small, dense parcel of earth tucked in the hollow of their palm. Perhaps unnoticed by most, it was a brief encounter with Mother Nature, offering herself to anyone who cares to notice beauty in an ordinary rock and the comfort of a smooth stone in hand.

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The March I Never Hated

I am a different person than when I started.

For blogging for the entire month of March without missing a day, and for co-leading a “Spirituality of Knitting” retreat to close it out, I am changed.

Through my weekend retreat, I learned how women are changing the world one stitch, one blanket, one shawl at a time. Needle crafts are meditation in motion with a gift of warmth for someone in need at the project’s end, and hours of mindful focus for the crafter in the process.

Through my month of blog posts, I learned how to notice more and to think differently. I learned that I have stories in me that had never been told – that I knew not were there.

I dream at night now.

I crochet now.

I have a friend in Cambodia, now.

All for the gray, gusty, teaser month of March.

For the first time – ever, I don’t want it to end.

Thank you fellow crafters, for all you have taught me and shared with me.

Thank you fellow slicers, for all you have taught me and shared with me.

Some of you inspire with what was once a blank page, and others with what was once a skein of yarn.

I experienced humanity at its best, and I had the good fortune to be a part of it – twice.

My best March ever ends today.

Go ahead and ask me about today,

but don’t ask me about yesterday because I was a different person then.