Rock Lovers Unite
Working with rocks draws in certain kinds of people. Some are geologists, some are gemologists, some are lapidaries, while others are collectors, always searching for another spectacular gem from Mother Earth. SInce I go to just about every gem show that comes to town and several that are out of town, I have come to recognize a certain something about the folks who attend. There is a light in their eyes when they look at the rocks, and the excitement is palpable. Even the vendors, who travel from show to show and can not help but get road weary, take great pride in their stones and seem to know them intimately, as though the rocks were part of their family. And then there are mineral shows, where enormous crates are packed with straw to cushion the magnificent rock specimens inside. Many of these crystal formations are the size and price of a small car. On display for only a few days during a show, the vendors must love their business, because it is both costly and lots of hard work to haul tons of rocks around the world. No doubt there are easier ways to make a living, so the obvious conclusion is that these folks belong to a segment of the population I like to call, "rock people."
The Rock Walk
- Imagine walking into a room the size of a circus tent filled with aisles and aisles of rocks. They cover every table top and hang from the walls. From uncut slabs with raw, earthy power to finished gems that dazzle as you walk past them, it is both exciting and exhausting. Most of us rock hounds stick around til the end of the show, not able to tear ourselves away from the energy of the rocks. You can see them (myself included), doing either the "rock walk" or the "rock run". The rock walk includes wandering around with a glazed look, clearly on overload and touching everything within reach. Too much rock energy can deplete your own. The rock run looks more crazed than glazed, as the people race around, slightly breathless and on a mission to get the stones before someone else does. I have experienced both states many times.
- For weeks before a gem show is set to begin, I am making plans to go. I don't need another thing, I tell myself, but the pull is too strong, and I find myself at the door to the show every time. Although I usually take a list of what I'm looking for, I pay only partial attention to it once I begin my "rock walk/run". I used to keep myself confined to certain sizes or shapes of stones, but I have gotten over that and simply allow the force to be with me. Don't laugh. I drag my heavy bag into the studio after a day at a gem show and rarely regret what I have gotten. I've learned to trust my instincts.
Some years ago, a marketing person created "Pet Rocks". While it was made to be a humorous item, there is a certain solace that comes from stones. I have a small, but decent collection of specimen rocks, and periodically I take one out of the display cabinet, rinse under clear water, then hold it for a while. My attention is instantly focused on the stone, and I let the rest of the noise in my head go away. In addition to connecting with others, rocks give me the opportunity to connect with myself, and for that, I will always be a "rocker" with my own collection of pet rocks.