I’m on vacation this week, and I’m trying to disconnect as much as possible. (Which is basically impossible in 2013, BTW. Every time anyone asks, “When’s the tide come in?” or “What’s the best place to buy fish around here?” at least 3 people whip out their iPhones before you can blink.) We spent the morning at the beach today, where I collected these treasures. That long shell’s a razor clam and the pointy thing’s a horseshoe crab tail, in case you’re wondering.
It reminded me of this post from my archives. (Which I know that maybe 70% of you will read.) Enjoy!
Rocks in My Pocket
On the beach that day, low tide, the sun slanting low in the sky, so bright you had to shade your eyes even with sunglasses on, the stones glistened on the sand like multicolored jewels. I couldn’t believe all those different colors could exist in nature, let alone on the same beach. Emerald green, deep rust, onyx, pearly white, every gray from dove to charcoal. All spread out before me like an upended treasure chest.
I spent a good half hour picking through them, choosing the exact right mix of colors and sizes, the smoothest, flattest rocks, a selection that looked good together. Then, since we’d come on our bikes with no backpacks or bags, I stuffed them into my pockets, as many as I could carry.
Back home, I forgot about my rocks for a while, too caught up in the unpacking and the laundry and the readjustment to post-vacation life. When I remembered them, I was disappointed to discover that my rocks were much less vibrant once they were no longer bathed in sunlight and sea water. No matter.
I’m not sure why I decided to stack them, but I have them displayed on the shelf above my desk, where I can see them daily. In one of those funny coincidences, I happened to come across an article about stacked rocks soon after. Here’s an excerpt:
Called “cairns” or “herma,” piles of stones have been used by cultures around the globe as travel signs, religious monuments, ceremonial objects, and burial markers. Despite its simplicity, a herma is a powerful talisman, a monument to a primal human existence that extends beyond the basics of food and shelter. Cairns serve as reminders of people who have come before, as well as humankind’s complicated relationship with nature.
Apparently, there’s also the art/discipline/hobby of “rock balancing,” practiced around the world. I remember when we visited Yosemite national park a few years ago, we came across a wide expanse of these balanced-rock formations.
I like my little pile of rocks. It reminds me of that beautiful, peaceful beach. And it connects me to something larger than myself.
Do you bring home any “souvenirs” from your travels? What do you collect and why?