RBC | For hundreds of thousands of years, humans have been driven to create. From practical necessities like shelter and warmth to items that seemingly serve no purpose (Rubix Cubes, anyone?), we are a creative species by design.
Survival certainly isn’t the struggle it used to be, but one thing that continues to grow from our roots is the need to add beauty to our surroundings. One of the earliest known forms of human expression? Cave paintings, the earliest of which date back to 30,000 BCE.
It’s no wonder then, that in this day and age, we are still decorating rocks.
You’ve probably seen them around your town, brightly colored and quick to bring a smile–and maybe even an excited squeal (this reporter is guilty of doing just that)–to passers-by. They come in many sizes and designs, and varying levels of artistic ability, from the finger paintings of toddlers to intricate designs created by professional artists. The colorful displays authenticate the idea that art is for everyone and anyone.
Rock painting went “mainstream” in 2015, when a Massachusetts woman scrawled a few inspiring words on a rock and left it on a beach. Her spur-of-the-moment decision turned into a worldwide movement known as the Kindness Rocks Project, with thousands of people in multiple countries taking part.
On a local level, rock-finding groups for Meeker and Rangely have popped up on Facebook in the past year. Members post photos of their treasures before re-hiding them in a new spot to bring a bit of happiness to someone else. Meeker resident Marissa Nichols greatly enjoys the pastime with her family. “It’s a simple wholesome kind of joy that’s hard to come by these days,” she stated. Meeker resident Michelle Pollock equates finding a painted rock to “finding a treasure.”
But why rocks? As Rangely Hide A Rock group founder Teresa Cady shares, “I started painting rocks years ago because I could not afford canvases! Loved it so much and love giving them away.” Rocks are abundant, and paint is very affordable. Other perks include the inclusivity–all ages and all skill levels can participate–as well as the shared sense of community that is fostered. Meeker resident Jeff Braaten said he feels “it brings this community a little closer together!”
Another perk? It’s a great way to get outdoors. Rangely’s Roy Gilbert commented rock-finding “gives a little incentive for people to get their kiddos out of the house … and not spend so much time on TV or video games.”
It’s also an excellent family activity, especially due to its inclusiveness. Meeker’s Whitney Healy commented, “Being a working parent is tough. This gives me the opportunity to do something with the kids that they love to do. It’s very good quality time together.”
Perhaps the best part of all, however, is the irresistible idea that you might be able to make someone else’s day just a bit brighter. Amanda Jessop of Meeker states, “A simple painted rock can change someone’s entire day, may it be a smiling face, a kitty, words of encouragement. It improves our moods! Knowing I can be a part of that is awesome!”
In a world where negativity prevails, rock finding provides a simple and enjoyable respite for anyone and everyone who would like to participate.
So, how do you get started?
– First, you’ll need rocks. Grab a few from around your home, or pick some up on a walk around town. Acrylic paint works best (if you’re painting with littles, be sure your surface is protected and they’re wearing clothes that can get messy!)
– Start with a primer coat. Rocks are porous, so it’s a good idea to paint them a solid color first.
– The next, and probably most enjoyable step, is decorating. Go old school with acrylic paint and paintbrushes, or get a set of paint pens, which are excellent for detail work and text. Let your imagination run wild.
– Next, hashtag it! You can let people know where to post a photo by adding the name of your local Facebook groups to the underside, or let us know you read this article with the hashtag #htrocks!
– Hide it around your community. Remember, don’t trespass on private property, and make sure your rock is findable!
– If you have a Facebook account, your treasure just might pop up in a Facebook group. If not, know your rock will likely bring someone joy within the next few days.
Meeker’s Brent Keyes greatly enjoys seeing his creations move around. “Most of mine seem to disappear after one find,” he says, but that’s the beauty of it all.
There’s always another rock just waiting to be created, hidden and found. And whether you’re old or young, a local or a visitor from another state, this pastime has plenty of room for you, too.
By Caitlin Walker | firstname.lastname@example.org