Monday, June 11, 2007

Rocks in My Head

Maybe. I've been known to be as stubborn as a boulder. But I definitely have rocks in my house. And my garden. Lots of them. I love rocks.

I've discovered this new show (at least new to me) on The Travel Channel called Cash and Treasures. The hostess and her camera crew travel around the country treasure hunting. A week or so ago, right after I was digging for bottles where they'd dug up the street for the new sidewalk outside my own front door, I watched their episode about digging for bottles. After the show was over I spent the next couple of hours studying and researching the old bottles we have, a collection from scavenging trips hubby took with his grandmother when he was young. I discovered that it's unlikely any of our bottles are worth more than $10 at most, but it doesn't really matter because the value is in their sentimental value for my husband.

Last night Cash and Treasures had five back-to-back shows on. Let's see if I can remember... they went hunting for geodes, meteorites, sunstones, gold, and ... a blue stone somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains appropriately enough.... tourmaline? Aquamarine? Anyway, it was a rockhound's idea of a FUN evening. Gawd, am I a nerd, or what!? Or would that be a geek?

I have a lot of rocks around my house. I couldn't possibly show you all of the bowls, baskets, rows, and piles of rocks and stones I've collected. But I can show you a few.

These are all large stones. From L to R: a brittle sandstone-ish rock, some ocean clay, California jade, and a stone fossil of a sea sponge.

I've got green rocks. They're actually a lot greener in person. Hmmm. If you click on this one, you can see the green better. I wonder why it doesn't show up well?

And white rocks. And red ones.

These are my agates. Agates are my favorite rocks. I find myself almost hypnotized by the swirls and patterns in them. They remind me of lace or music or fractals. Oil looks like that sometimes when it spreads in rainbow patterns across a puddle. Or cream in coffee makes these complex designs for just a moment before it blends and disappears. I found most, but not all, of these agates.

In the Cash and Treasures show, the hostess goes treasure hunting and then has her rocks or fossils cut, polished, or turned into gems and then they have them appraised. I'm more like the collectors they interview during the show who keep their treasures in their natural state. It's not about how much the treasure is worth, it's about the anticipation of the hunt, the thrill of discovery, the beauty and uniqueness of each individual find.

Here are my smaller agates. These are really small, some towards the bottom of the pile are almost grain-of-sand sized. There are several layers of them in this tiny jar. They may be small but they're still beautiful.

This is half a geode that I purchased. I liked how it reminded me of underwater kelp forest. You can't see but, on the other end of this same shelf are some small otter figurines.

I collect more than rocks. Anything I find walking on the beach or in the forest. Here is a basket full of beach treasures - rocks, shells, sea glass, fossils. One day while wandering a long stretch of shore, another beachcomber walked up and started up a conversation. He asked what I was searching for and I told him agates, although really, anything that caught my eye - shells, sand dollars, pretty stones of any kind. He said he was looking for fossils, he'd heard this was a good place to hunt, but he wasn't having much luck. I looked down near my feet, bent over, picked up the large shell fossil you see in the upper lefthand corner above and showed it too him. "Like this one?" The look on his face. I recognized it, having been the one looking at another person's treasure with the same awe and envy. (if you are confused, the rippled line is where the edge of a shell, probably a scallop or a large clam.)

In fact I found several of these fossils that day. I don't know if the gentleman who stopped to talk to me ever found one. For a long time I was the only one in the family who could find an agate on our beach trips. My kids and husband would show me stone after stone - "Is this one? Did I find one? Is this an agate?" They'd show me quartz and small rounded pieces of shell, even sea glass (which is getting really hard to find these days!) It's hard to explain exactly what makes them stand out, what to look for when you scan the beach or sit in a gravel bed running your hand through it. William finally got the hang of it and has found several although he loses interest after awhile, more interested in building sand castles (or destroying them), and climbing in the tide pools. Hubby was the last one to find one and it was cause for great celebration when he found his first agate. He, too, is only interested in beachcoming for a short while before flopping down on a dry spot to simply listen to and watch the waves.

I would have shared a photo of some of my shells but they were a bit dusty and I'm too lazy to clean them off tonight. As you can see, I collect driftwood too. Oh, and I just remembered, I still have a gift box of labeled minerals and rocks I was given as a child. I used to have a box of rocks I'd collected when I was young, including some beautiful Lake Superior red agates, but sadly I lost them sometime in my late twenties or early thirties. I don't know exactly when. I only know they had disappeared after a couple of household moves in as many years while going through my divorce. The box also held other childhood and teen mementos, including the poems and stories I'd written.

Here I am watching Wordplay, a movie about crossword puzzles and the people who do them, taking about rocks and poetry. Yep. Definitely a nerd.


Blogger amy said...

We can't leave the beach without rocks. The summer my oldest son was 3, he carried a humongous rock--it was huge, and heavy, even for me--all the way down the beach, back to the blanket, and to the car, because I was carrying his infant brother and told him if he wanted the rock, he'd have to carry it. And he did. We have rocks in the sandbox, lined up along the deck railings, buckets of shells. These rocks & shells are SPECIAL. The boys love them.

5:35 AM  

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