The Most Precious Stone

Peti Rock II love rocks. Stones, earth, dirt, sand, gravel – it doesn’t matter.  I love rocks in every form. Walking along a gravel road, a pretty pebble  protrudes and catches my eye, and I crouch down to pick it up and examine it further…sometimes I keep it, sometimes I put it back when I’m done. I just like to hold it and momentarily absorb its energy, listen to what it has to say.

Rocks from my husband
Rocks from my husband

One of my earliest experiences with rocks was getting a pre-compiled rock collection as a child. I was fascinated by all the different colors, shapes, names, the way the rocks felt in my hand.  Even though I didn’t get to choose which rocks were in my collection, I appreciated each and every one for its own special attributes.

In those days, a favorite pastime was visiting a construction area near the apartments where I  lived and crunching around on the gravel piles. I would fantasize that I was  somewhere else, in a dusty and dangerous desert environment; I remember the sun  beating down on my back as I pretended I had a purpose there, I was on a mission!

Jutting schist of Squaw Peak
Jutting schist of Squaw Peak

Even though it was hot and, well, rocky, I got some strange comfort in being there.  It is funny  because looking back, it really reminds me of a lot of places I’ve been in Arizona. Somehow even back then, before I had an inkling of the places my future self would visit, something within me was was already identifying with their landscapes.

Here in Arizona, especially in the desert-y Phoenix area, I love to hike.  The “rock piles” in the Valley are significantly larger than those of my childhood, but it’s still all about the rock under my feet.  The construction piles of my past were mini Camelback Mountains, rife with loose granite gravel.  But the mountain I feel a real affinity for is Squaw (Piestewa) Peak.  I love that mountain.  It has a life of its own – its own personality.  I get a strange satisfaction each time I crunch my way up it and back down again, no matter how many times I climb it.  I feel like I’m connecting to the earth and chipping away at something substantial – sinking my proverbial teeth in – with each solid step.  It is extremely fullfilling.

Squaw Peak Rocks
Rocks from Squaw Peak

Sometimes I just stand against an outcrop and feel the rock against me, and I feel so connected to it.  It’s as if by standing there long enough in contact with the rock (the more surface area the better), I might start to absorb some ancient wisdom from the depths of the mountain.  Recently, I began picking up a rock from the top every time I hike up, because the whole  process represents something to me that’s so much more than just hiking a mountain.

Sedona is an especially good place for lying on rocks (or rock formations) and for picking up cool and exceptionally charismatic rocks.  There’s a different feel to those rocks (unrelated – at least I think – to the supposed vortices in the vicinity) but Sedona’s stones are just as precious to me as the rocks I pick up in other locales.

Rocks around our house
Rocks lying around our house

I pick up rocks wherever I go.  In Alaska, you can find smooth and shiny rocks of  every color on the shores, and there are dark mossy rocks in the woods.  In New Mexico I’ve seen huge mounds of pock-marked, black volcanic rock that feel like loofah or sandpaper.  Smooth, white and cream-colored oval rocks, almost egg-like, mixed with polished glassy, translucent pebbles on the California shore.  In Utah, rough, scratchy sandstone  in ochres and yellows.  A river shore full of every color, texture, type and size of rock I have ever seen, all mixed together.  (I was mesmerized and sat there for hours!)

I pick up rocks because I like their look, but also their messages, their stories. The only problem is that once I bring them home I don’t exactly know what to do with them, and often forget what’s what…I have piles of  rocks in drawers, in containers, on display.  Unfortunately, when it comes right down to it, you can only have so many rocks lying around your house.

But then again, maybe there’s always room for one more…

A few years ago, my husband and I added the most precious little stone of all to our collection. Our daughter Petra (which means ‘rock’ or ‘stone’) was born on June 8th, 2013.

Rocks for Petra
Rocks for Petra

Related Posts:
Adventure in the Sierra Ancha
Quick Jaunt to Cooper Forks

 

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