Thursday, September 15, 2016

Why do I love rocks

The first time I lost my luggage was  when I was 15 years old in 1972 coming home from Knoxville, Tennessee. Lost luggage guy asked me what was in my bags. I said, "rocks." Because even as a skinny teenager I had discovered them. They were my preferred souvenir when I went on trips; or they found themselves in my coat pockets on chilly winter nights. Gritty groups of them began to be placed in oddly organized piles around my house as mementos of great days outside in strange places.

 Growing up in the Hill Country of Texas, limestone and flint were the main finds, so when I started traveling I was fascinated to discovered granite, tumbled smooth and uniform like exquisite creations....never had seen anyone like these beauties. Completely sculpted by icy-cold rivers coming out of the Smokey mountains. Easter egg colors and shapes. 

A river will not tolerate angles on a rock. Round is what she wants.

I got older. I went further. I began the odd habit of packing lighter to make room for my rocks. Dirty socks and fuzzy pajama pants were the nest of my treasures. Unfortunate baggage handlers probably wondered why the weight of my bags slid from side to side. Seattle, Alaska, Florida, Wyoming, and Montana. 

Sometimes the heart-stopping beauty of some new place would prompt me to look down at the ground and pick up a reminder of what I was so lucky to see. Like a love note, like a little kiss from God. I don't remember so much of life from day to day, but when I look at these rocks, I remember exactly where they came from. I remember the temperature, the time of day, and the feeling I had in my own heart.

Life is so noisy and cluttered. I get busy and forget to pay attention to the thumping heart of God that is everywhere to be heard.

I forget. I wish I didn't, but I do.

Still, when I am on a trip, and I am being more attentive, I am back in church and the rocks that I gather are my hymnal, my cross, my little Holy icon. They always cause me to remember exactly how crazy and wonderful this Earth is; how timeless and impossibly intricate is each creation. Calcite veins running through granite orbs; bits of gneiss floating in volcanic ash; flint pearls within limestone....all of them more beautiful than I can ever describe and all completely unique.

So this is my thought. The world is an  ancient old girl, breathing slowly and imperceptibly for ages untold; her back arching into mountains and stretching into planes; worn smooth by water and ice and time, then pulling apart as the center of her rumbles and shakes. Maybe the rocks that litter beaches, rivers, trails and valleys are the little offerings from Her. 

Offerings, for the giving of humble ole me.

Thanks, Mother Earth, for my rocks.