When I told my husband that I was going to paint rocks and hide them all over town, he said, “That doesn’t sound like anything you would do.”
He’s right; it really doesn’t.
All over the country, people are participating in the game. It is pretty simple. You paint a rock and hide it. On the back, you write the name of the group you are participating with and then leave it in a public place. When you find a rock, you take a picture, post it to the group’s Facebook page and then rehide the rock — or keep it. Some rocks are painted simply; some are miniworks of art.
There are several groups around here — Warner Robins Rocks, Byron Rocks, Houston County Rocks. The hiding is more figurative than literal — rocks are placed in public places such as parks, outside of restaurants and businesses, libraries and ball fields. Going by posts on Facebook, a lot of families are participating, turning the painting of and the searching of rocks into a family activity.
In other communities, businesses are even participating. There are “coupon rocks” that if you return the rock to the business, get you a discount or a free Coke. I haven’t seen that around here yet.
I first heard about it several weeks ago — I saw a post by a friend on Facebook. After checking it out, I went and bought paint, brushes, and rocks — rule No. 1 is “Don’t take rocks from other people’s landscaping.” I am not artistic, but there are plenty of simple designs that I have been able to reproduce on a rock. While some people post before pictures — “here’s a picture of my rock and I am hiding it at Peavy Park” — I don’t do that. I prefer — as another rocker described it — to be in ninja mode when I both hide and hunt.
And while my husband’s first comments were correct — it doesn’t sound like something I would do — it has been a great source of pleasure for me. This summer has been tough on me — filled with many painful first and last memories in connection to my only sibling’s and my father’s deaths last summer.
The rock game has been therapeutic for me. The rocks have served as a distraction from the hurt in my life. It is hard to be sad when you are walking through a park and run across a rock painted by a child with the word “love” on it.
It is the perfect activity for me — I still prefer to be alone and I still haven’t recovered my faith or my focus. But through my own desire to participate in the rock hunting game, I have pushed myself. I leave the house a little more; I smile at people passing me on their own walks, I have had conversations with strangers about paint choices. On a particularly bad day last week, I made myself take a walk to hunt rocks where I ran into a group of young people from Shirley Hills Baptist at the park as part of a week of community outreach they had gathered at a park to paint rocks. There is nothing like being around happy young people to shake the blues out of you.
Whether you think it would be therapeutic or just fun, I highly recommend the rock hiding game. For suggestions on kinds of paint, sealants, and any other information join a rock group on Facebook from your community. Paint a sun or a boat, write a message of hope or love, send it out into the world and make the day of whoever finds it.
If I find it, I guarantee it will make my day.
Alline Kent can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.