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Midday Matinee – Rocks!

June 11, 2012

Midday Matinee

Midday Matinee – Rocks!

Rocks are my new obsession, or maybe an obsession revisited. (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Most of northeastern Minnesota is rocky. Huge granite outcroppings and glacial rubble are all over the place. When I lived outside of the Twin Cities and had my first bout of rock mania I was digging them out of the lakeshore and eventually paying to have them delivered. I terraced about 100 feet of lake shore building rock walls and carrying dirt so I could have a garden. It was the only sunny place in my yard for flowers. The bank was 10 to 12 feet high so this “project took 10 years and the help of my sons. For Mother’s Day for years all I asked for was a day of help building rock walls. It is easier to visit with teenagers if you are sharing a task.

This current round started with a visit to a fellow camp host who had lined the edges of his driveway with rocks. Still thinking like a city girl, I asked if he’d had the rocks delivered. Duh! He said that there were rocks everywhere and I should open my eyes. Well duh again! I have been carefully mowing around them for 4 years. What was I thinking?

I have a wood wagon which I pull along the road and stop for rock picking. It looks a bit like the 60′s because it was painted with flowers, rainbows and a peace sign by my 5 year old granddaughter. I must look like a refugee from that era with my long gray pony-tail and bug netting. I have met campers out for a stroll and they ask about the wagon and what I am doing. When I say I am picking rocks to line my camp site, they stare. Young kids are my favorite. They don’t ask why they ask if they can help.

There are others with my obsession. There are artful stacks of rocks, called cairns, along most of the trails. Some are markers and some are just there. People are building rock sculptures that look like people. Others see a big granite slab and carefully place some small stones on top of it. I assume they feel like the big rock might be lonely and need some company. At some future date an archeologist may see my meandering rock outline and guess that perhaps it was a snake and part of nature worship. I have found the perfect rock to be the shell of a turtle. It is too heavy for me to move but when the camp ground is full I am hoping for some bored teenagers looking for something to do.

Odd that I shun “the gym” but totally enjoy picking up rocks.

Photo from Jun 10, 2012

Photo from Jun 10, 2012

Photo from Jun 10, 2012

Reader Comments Welcome.

14 Responses to “Midday Matinee – Rocks!”

  1. addisnana Says:

    The sculptures that look like people are the work of a friend who lives down the road who chooses to remain nameless. There are rock people all over her yard and along her driveway. She says that the rocks tell her if they should be the next one and if they will balance well on the rock underneath them.

  2. winterbanyan Says:

    I, too, love rocks. They’ve been a passion of mine since early childhood, and the bigger the better. I love boulders, I love craggy rocks, not so fond of well-weathered round pebbles for some reason, unless they’re wet and their colors gleam.

    I think you’re making a wonderful project and who cares what archaeologists think in 10,000 years. :) You like the rocks.

    And I agree, they speak to me, too. Rocks aren’t inanimate. They tell all kinds of stories if you just listen. I’m in agreement with your friend. The rocks will tell you how they want to be arranged.

    Thanks so much. And I loved the pix.

    • addisnana Says:

      Ancient and modern people alike seem to have an affinity for stacking rocks. I think that aside from the practicality of farming in the NE raised by Crissie, that there were rocks long before their were legos or wooden blocks. People need to create stuff.

  3. NCrissieB Says:

    Thank you for raising this … hard … topic, addisnana.

    I grew up in upstate New York and Massachusetts, and it seemed every farmer’s field was surrounded and divided by stone walls. The reason, of course, is that rocks are the most bountiful crop in that area. You can diligently gather and haul away all of the rocks in your field or garden one year and – without even having to plant or fertilize any pebbles – you’ll have a brand new crop of big rocks the next year.

    Alas, humans have trouble chewing and digesting rocks, so farmers could not content themselves with growing new rocks. Instead they carried the rocks to the edges of each field and, over a few decades, the stone walls grew. It’s rumored that on very dark nights, if it’s very quiet, you can still hear the farmers cursing. But I never did.

  4. Norbrook Says:

    Here in the Adirondacks, rocks are one of the most reliable crops. One of the more … interesting things … I saw was a couple of wilderness sites, where a group had very carefully edged the trail between the sites with fairly decent sized rocks. We’re talking about almost 75 yards. The forest ranger who was with me said “I wish I’d known they had that sort of energy …. I have a few projects near here.” :lol:

    • NCrissieB Says:

      I think there’s a difference between:

      – “I’ll haul all of these lovely rocks to make this little part of the world more beautiful!”

      – “Why would I want to haul all of those stupid rocks for you?”

      Had he asked them, your forest ranger friend might have discovered that difference…. ;-)

      • winterbanyan Says:

        :lol to both of you

      • addisnana Says:

        Ah motivation! :lol: :lol: :lol:

        No one’s gone for the rock and the hard place yet but I’ve been mowing all day and I’m too pooped to think of a pun.

  5. Gardener Says:

    Well, plainly, YOU ROCK!!

    Wonderful piece, I have recently constructed my first rock flowerbed. Thought mebbe I was the only one bitten with the bug. Always happy for kindred spirits,. I’d very much like to meet you and your friend down the road! :smile:

    Peace, G

    • addisnana Says:

      I googled rock structures and spent hours reading about ancient cultures, the signs on Hawaiian beaches that say, “Please don’t stack the rocks” and all sorts of interesting tidbits. This Old House had an article on how to drill holes through rocks and place them on rebar to make a totem pole. Eek. I don’t want to drill in my rocks but then people are different.

      Photos of your rock flowerbed would be fun to see. Hint, hint.

      • Gardener Says:

        I get it……

        Let’s wait until the plants fill out a bit. Right now, my rock flowerbed is as spare of foliage as Willard is of new ideas! ;-)