I saw “Old Rock Day” listed on a calendar for today and was rather dubious. I had not heard of such a holiday before, and I really love rocks so would have willingly celebrated. When I checked online, I found several sites that agreed the holiday existed, but no one knew anything about its origin and history. Basically, it is a day set aside by geologists to celebrate rocks and fossils. I especially like the one site that suggests that it was started by Fred Flintstone, but that he has not gotten back to their requests for more information.
Whatever its origins, Old Rock Day is a great holiday! Rocks—boulders, stones, pebbles, mountains and peaks as well as fossils of all kinds—are the bedrock of our great natural world. They are constant, varied, beautiful, useful. They teach lessons of perseverance and patience, of rolling with whatever forces surface in your world and staying strong.
Garden of the Gods, Colorado
Rocks are everywhere! And they deserve our attention and admiration. Of course, there are the giant iconic rock formations such as the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park and Zion National Park. Really, you can just travel to any of the impressive mountain ranges with their spires and canyons and caves as well as to all the coastlines, shores, and mighty rivers that traverse the land. But you can also find rocks, stones, pebbles just about anywhere you can walk: city parks, rolling hills, back alleys, country roads, river banks, even major highways. But you have to stop and notice these great souvenirs of our wonderful natural world.
Bryd Baylor wrote a great little book called EVERYBODY NEEDS A ROCK. The illustrations by Peter Parnall complement the ten rules Baylor gives on how to select your own very special, personal rock to carry with you always. As Baylor explains, “There aren’t many things that feel as good as a rock—if the rock is perfect.” Of course, all rocks are perfect, once found by the right person. She also stresses that she is “sorry for kids who don’t have a rock for a friend” and that everyone can find that “special rock that you find yourself and keep as long as you can—maybe forever.”
I follow her advice all the time. No matter where I am, I constantly keep an eye out for a special little rocks to add to my collection. Each rock is unique. Marveling at the unique size, color, texture of each rock just seems like the right thing to do. I carry mine with me in the car, in my purse, in my pockets. I also place many rocks and fossils around the house. Whether it is a fossilized snail or a butterfly captured inside a geode, some lava, tufa or petrified wood from various vacations, or just bowls of special little rocks and gems, it just feels right to have them close by. I even have a couple cat rocks created by a great artist who sees the cats hiding in the various shapes evident in the river rocks she collects.
5 x 5 Petrified Wood
Petrified Wood Close-Up
Smooth Round River Rock, Size of a Baseball
If you do not yet have your own special rock or two, get busy. If you know kids who do not have a treasure trove of rocks, help them get busy. The rocks are there waiting to be found! You can always start your search in your own lawn or garden or maybe a local park or country road. Or seek out other locales where the permanence, beauty and grandeur of the rocks are harder to overlook. You cannot always collect rocks from national or state parks, but you can see the wondrous rocks that dot the landscape, buy some souvenirs, or collect your own on the public roads near the parks themselves.
Here are some ideas of great places where you can visit and enjoy some wonderful rocks:
Kings River National Park, California
Mono Lake, California
Red Rock Canyon State Park, California
Tioga Pass into Yosemite National Park, California
Capital Reef National Park, Utah
Valley of Fire State Park, near Las Vegas Nevada
Monument Valley, Arizona
The Cube Is Bigger Than My Car!
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
Petrified Tree Trunk
WHERE DO YOU GO TO PLAY AMONG THE ROCKS? ANY FAVORITE PLACES?
DID YOU KNOW ALL BUT NINE OF THE UNITED STATES HAVE AN OFFICIAL STATE FOSSIL ON RECORD? California’s is the Sabre Tooth Cat. Alaska’s is the Wooly Mammoth. Arizona’s is Petrified Wood. Ohio’s is the Trilobite.
There is a website that gives a full list!
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QUOTES ABOUT ROCKS
“Vision connects you. But is also separates you. In my work, and my life, I feel a desire to merge. Not in terms of losing my own identity. . . but there’s a feeling that life is interconnected, that there’s life in stones and rocks and trees and dirt, like there is in us.” Bill Viola
“Life has evolved to thrive in environments that are extreme only by our limited human standards: in the boiling battery acid of Yellowstone hot springs, in the cracks of permanent ice sheets, in the cooling waters of nuclear reactors, miles beneath the Earth’s crust, in pure salt crystals, and inside the rocks of the dry valleys of Antarctica.” Jill Tarter
“Geologists have a saying—rocks remember.” Neil Armstrong
“The problem is not scientifically illiterate kids; it is scientifically illiterate adults. Kids are born curious about the natural world. They are always turning over rocks, jumping with two feet into mud puddles and playing with the tablecloth and fine china.” Neil deGrasse Tyson
“If it weren’t for the rocks in its bed, the stream would have no song.” Carl Perkins
“The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.” Tennessee Williams
“TV’s like whitewater rafting: Without rocks, there wouldn’t be rapids, and it wouldn’t be as much fun.” Joss Whedon
“Leave part of the yard rough. Don’t manicure everything. Small children in particular love to turn over rocks and find bugs, and give them some space to do that. Take your child fishing. Take your child on hikes.” Richard Louv
“What are men to rocks and mountains?” Jane Austen
“And yet we couldn’t leave—it was as if the rocks were holding us there. I mean, they were only rocks. But for some reason, those rocks made lonely feel good.” Cynthia Kadohata
“A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“For a tree to become tall it must grow tough roots among the rocks.” Friedrich Nietzsche
“Teachers who inspire realize there will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stone. It all depends on how we use them.” Anonymous