Rock On, Punkin!


In September 2018 Charles and I were in Shenandoah National Park reveling in the spectacular fall foliage. At that time we lived in the California Sierras and our fall colors were relatively non-existent compared to the Virginia show. We stayed at Skyland Lodge on August 21, and had just unpacked the car when the heavens opened and we were hit with a torrential downpour. I started to settle in for the night, when I realized that I left my phone charge in the car, so I bundled up and trekked back out to retrieve it.

As I went to open my car door I noticed something on the hood near the windshield. It looked like a rock but it was colorful, so I picked it up and put it in my pocket. When I got inside I discovered it was a flat rock that had been artistically adorned with a pumpkin on one side. On the back it read, “Sammy Jean’s Rocks FB — post pic. please. Reva, VA. 9-18”. I smiled and put the rock in a little velvet bag that formerly held my charger and turned in for the night.

The next morning I searched on Facebook but I couldn’t find Sammy Jean’s Rocks. So Charles and I decided that since we couldn’t find the group, we would take “Punkin” on a photo tour on our way home, and then post the results on my Facebook page. We thought that maybe Punkin’s rock family would find her that way. It was a fun project, but after we returned home Punkin was pretty much forgotten, and she eventually found her way to the depths of my backpack.

A lot has happened since that 2018 road trip. In 2020 the Creek Fire roared through the Sierras and destroyed our home — actually our whole Alder Springs neighborhood. We now live in the Idaho Panhandle and are rebuilding on a beautiful five-acre parcel in Newport, WA. Life is good and we are on the path that was meant for us. We know this because of the incredible string of events (too unusual to be coincidences) and the people that we have met along the way. The truth is that we needed to find a place where we could age in place, but we loved Alder Springs so much that we would never of left voluntarily.

So fate stepped in on September 8, 2021.

Fast forward to last Sunday when I was rummaging through my backpack and found that little black velvet bag. I smiled as I took Punkin out and remembered that 2018 road trip. On a lark I searched Facebook, and this time I found Sammy Jean’s Rocks Facebook page, so I posted a photo of Punkin, along with my story. I figured the worst thing that could happen would be that these rock folks would think I was an odd duck — and believe me, that ship sailed years ago.

But it didn’t go down that way. The group’s administrator quickly replied to me. She was thrilled that her rock brought me some happiness, as that’s the whole goal of her rock group. “I’m honored that Punkin lives in a velvet bag & mostly honored because she makes you smile,” she wrote. Many other group members responded too, and the admin later wrote, “For those of you who still don’t know what the heck we’re doing with all of these rocks we hide; they’re kindness rocks for people to find and make their day. Our world always needs more kindness.”

The moral of my story? You never know how your actions or inactions will affect another person, so go out and spread a little kindness today.

And now Punkin and I are going to go and finish our coffee.