Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Earth laughs in flowers.    ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nature is by nature playful.  She invites us in to enjoy and to renew.  Taking walks in nature slow us down, connect us to something bigger than ourselves and allow us to be more centered.  Having eyes to vision the world at its finest, we see the playful side of nature and find our place in that play.

One way my family found our place in that play was creating a family tradition of collecting rocks.  This tradition actually started with my son, Ben.  He was an avid rock collector.  I would sort through clothes as I prepared to wash them and carefully scoured Ben’s pants pockets because there always was a collection of rocks that he discovered as he explored the creek bed, played in the woods or waited for the school bus.  He wanted to take a bit of nature and keep it for himself.  Ben was given the book, Everybody Needs a Rock, by Bird Baylor one Christmas.  It became a treasure equal in status with his rocks. 

a rock.

I am sorry for kids
who don’t have
a rock for a friend.

I am sorry for kids
who have
if they don’t have
a rock
for a friend.
                           ~Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor (page 1)
Ben intuitively knew that in nature we have friendship, and through collecting rocks, he brought that friendship into his home.

Ben’s rock collecting became a family tradition.  We started to keep our eyes out for the one rock we could bring home from a trip to make that trip stay alive in our home.  We looked for heart-shaped rocks, which adorn various parts of the house.  Collecting rocks became a past-time that brought our family together in nature and in fun.  The rocks have become a part of our home landscape and have become, as the flowers were for Emerson, our fun.  “The earth laughs in rocks” could be a motto of our family.

Two years ago we were celebrating Marjorie, my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday.  Relatives and friends came to help us celebrate—one of whom was Marjorie’s great, great granddaughter, Katie.  Katie hit it off with my daughter, Rachel that day.  They went on a treasure hunt for the rocks and pieces of nature (shells, sea glass, driftwood and other nature finds) scattered throughout our house.  Katie took to rearranging the nature objects and for months to come I discovered little Katie treasures left in new spots throughout the house.  Each time one was discovered, I smiled, grateful for the fun that nature brought not only to my family, but to my extended family as well.

Nature is the best playground.  Play with her.  Responsibly collect pieces of her. Rejuvenate through her.  Create in her and let her recreate you.  Nature is fun.  How do you play in and with nature?

PLAY-TITUDE #17:  Find a rock and make a friend.
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for dedicating space and time for writers and teachers of writing to come together to share ideas, practice and life experience.


  1. This post is both entertaining and engaging. It invite the reader to react, respond and reflect. Thanks for that!

    1. You are welcome, Jodi. I try to mix story with my focus of play and when possible ask the reader to reflect.

  2. I love this directive that is full of personal connections. I can imagine your collection and the finding of treasures placed in new places.

    1. Thanks, Margaret. My collection is all over my house, but after Katie, it was all over in different places. Fun!

  3. I have a friend that collects rocks, so when I travel internationally, I find a rock from the areas to bring back to her. Nature is so generous with her gifts, it's hard not to play with her.

    1. I love this--nature is generous with her gifts. Lovely that you do something similar to me.

  4. I collect rocks and treasures, too, Deb, and love the memories they bring. My one wonderful find with a grandson is a rock that looks just like a baked potato. It sits in the kitchen now, bringing back that little boy & the fun we had. Byrd Baylor's books are treasures too, aren't they? Love your "Katie" story, another treasure.

    1. Love this, Linda. Yes, I love Byrd Baylor's books. The one Ben has is autographed for Ben making it even more of a treasure. I read the blog to Ben yesterday. I find that my children love hearing stories about them when they were small. It brings back memories not thought about for a long time.

  5. I am late in reading this, but I just want to share that Ben read this book about rocks to Katie when we last visited, and it struck a chord with us, because we are also (especially Katie!) avid rock collectors as well. We can rarely go anywhere in nature without bringing home some kind of treasures!