I can’t wait to do more rock hunting with my boys.
To be honest, I haven’t always felt this way. Since he could walk, Bodhi has been a habitual rock picker-upper, the pint-sized urban klepto-geologist of our neighborhood. “Come on, Bo,” we would say as he reached for more rocks, us thinking about everything else we could be doing – like dishes and laundry and, I don’t know, personal hygiene? – instead of chaperoning a toddler obsessing over asphalt-laced cigarette-butt-strewn street gutter gravel with the focused intensity of Cousteau on the Great Barrier Reef.
But on our summer trip to Benzie County, Michigan – almost exactly halfway between the equator and the North Pole, on the shores of Lake Michigan – we were reminded of just how important rocks can be.
Our fourth day there, we decided to visit the historic Point Betsie lighthouse. Perched above a postcard-ready beach of small, uniformly smooth stones, this picturesque lighthouse was built in 1858 and operated as a manned lighthouse for 125 years. It wasn’t open the day we were there, so instead of touring the building, we spent the afternoon on that perfect, rocky beach below.
Bo – you guessed it – was in paradise: picking up rocks, throwing rocks in the water, throwing rocks into an old drainage pipe, looking at the different rock colors, sizes, stacking them, finding rocks that were good shovels to dig a hole into more rocks, putting rocks in a bag. His imagination was running amok, and it reminded us how much joy children can get from the simplest things. I’m pretty sure we could have given him a hug, a jugful of water, a box of Lara bars and then left him quite contentedly to his own devices for a week minimum on that beach.
When we got home, we were reminiscing about our trip. We held a couple of the rocks that we brought back from Michigan and read Everybody Needs a Rock (affiliate) by Byrd Baylor and Peter Parnall. I absolutely ADORE this book right now, obsession (it runs in the family, as you can tell) isn’t too strong a word for it. The main character, in frank, almost precocious, never infantile, terms, lays out the 10 steps of how to pick out a special rock. Bodhi finds the steps applicable to his life in very tactical, rock-finding ways, while, for me the words have their own, important meaning.
If you can, go to a mountain made out of nothing but a hundred million small shiny beautiful roundish rocks.
But if you can’t, any place will do.
Even an alley.
Even a sandy road.
Because that’s what I learned from Bodhi this vacation. As much as he loved going on a trip, he already knew that you didn’t have to be on a the perfect Instagram-able beach to find great rocks, to find nuggets of joy. You can do it half a block from home, on the road we live on.
Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor and Peter Parnall (affiliate link)
A Rock Is Lively by Dianna Hutts Aston (affiliate link)
SOME ROCK ACTIVITIES
(These are both from my sister’s blog, Buggy and Buddy. She’s amazing.)
Painted Rock Photo Holder: http://buggyandbuddy.com/painted-rock-photo-holder-craft-kids/
Sorting Seasons with Stones and Rocks: http://buggyandbuddy.com/season-sorting-activity-rocks/