What the world needs now
Is Love, sweet Love.
It’s the only thing
that there’s just too little of…
By Burt Bacharach
On Saturday I joined 200,000 other people of all genders, ages, races, and religions at the Women’s March in Seattle. Actually, the word ‘march’ is a bit of a misnomer. It was more like a shuffle due to the enormous crowds; 4 times more people than expected. Like many, I’ve been pretty worried and sad lately about our nation and how we’re going to move forward from the most divisive presidential campaign and political time in my history on earth. Everyone I know is stressed out and worried, some more than others. Darkness and fear pervade conversations. Heads shake in disbelief and dismay. My Facebook news feed is one depressing article after another. Going to the national news, and even the international news, isn’t much better.
In spite of the many reasons we were marching, the energy of the Seattle Women’s March was uplifting and positive, sometimes even joyous. I believe it says a lot that of all the many Women’s March protests all over the world, all were peaceful. That’s about 3,000,000 people all coming together, living in the world in peace. If that momentum continues, our country is going to be fine. Seeing all these hundreds of thousands of people who, like me, believe in our country and what it stands for filled me with hope.
So I came home uplifted, filled with love for my fellow human and wondering how I can possibly keep this groove going when the firehose force of troubling news just keeps coming each and every day. I know a little something about mental health, and let me tell you it’s unhealthy to be focused constantly on the turmoil in our country. We need a little levity. We need a little fun to get our minds off these heavy things. I don’t know about you, but my mental outlook depends on it. When you are laughing and joyous, fear disappears. And that is a very good thing.
Little did I know that one solution to my ennui actually started way back in 1974. That was the year our family went camping by the Bear River up in Maine. I was in the middle of my teen years. My sisters and I were a creative bunch, always up to making something or other. On that trip, we sat around the picnic table and painted rocks. We painted rocks before painting rocks was cool. Here’s a rock I painted way back then, worn by time, but still fun in a funky, latter-day hippie kind of way. My sister, Amy, keeps it safe in her garden. Next to my gnomes. (Let’s not go there.)
Recently Amy posted photos of rocks she and her son found at a park in Port Orchard. Apparently there are organized groups of people who paint rocks and then hide them for people to stumble upon when they are out and about living their lives. WHATTT??? What is this fabulous thing of painting rocks and leaving them in strategic places to bring other people joy? I have lived too sheltered a life and need to get out more! I had no idea such a thing existed. In fact, I have held off painting because, I mean, what will I do with all of the things I make? My friends can only accommodate so many of my amateur artistic endeavors. I’ve been downsizing so hard I left my creative me behind. And that is terrible for my mental well being. It seems like a small thing, but in fact, it’s HUGE.
Anyway, you know how it is when a great idea comes zinging into your heart, lands on fertile soil, and starts exploding all over your cells! You know that feeling! Things just become set in motion. When I learned of this rock hiding that was happening without including me, I suddenly NEEDED to start painting rocks. I was in the flow again. It’s been well beyond a year since I’ve felt in the flow. Yesterday I went to my sister’s house and painted rocks all day!
Man, I do love a good day of painting. It felt fantastic to get my paints and brushes and pens out and start using them again. You remember how good it used to feel to get the big box of crayons? Remember that one that had the sharpener on the back and had 64 fresh, bright colors just waiting to play with you? I can still feel the tension when it came time to buy the box of crayons for school each year. Standing in the store, perusing the offerings. Will I get the big set? Am I worthy enough? Will they spring for the 64 crayon box? The one with silver, gold, bronze, and copper included? Will it be mine? Oh sure, the 16 piece box is barely adequate, the 32 crayon box is better than nothing, but….ARRRGGH! PLEASE GET ME THE BIG SET OF 64 CRAYONS WITH THE BUILT-IN SHARPENER AND DON’T MAKE ME SHARE IT WITH A SINGLE OTHER SOUL AND YES I WILL USE EVERY SINGLE COLOR!!! And then that smell of fresh crayons? They actually SMELL like color.
That’s how I feel about my paints. They are just yummy as heck. I could look at them and play with them all day long and never read any shitty news again. I want ALLLLL the colors.
My cunning plan is to dive headfirst into this new creative flow by painting rocks with fun designs, then I’m going to offer them up to the gods by putting them out in the world, hoping to bring a small amount of excitement and happiness to some child or some grownup who comes upon one by accident somewhere; just a little serendipity to bring a little light into a dark time. I know my own heart feels lighter just thinking about it. It’s not a big thing. But we all know that when you cannot control the bigger things, small things matter.
I’m tagging my painted rocks on the back with our official boat stamp and a note to find our Facebook page. I hope people who find them will love them and will post to our page that they’ve found a home, or that they have been re-hidden for someone else to find. Mike wants me to paint a lot of rocks. We are excited to hide rocks from S/V Galapagos all the way down the Pacific Coast and across the world to wherever we sail. Kind of makes me giddy to think of the fun of it. We hope to make friends with people who find them and we hope that finding a specially painted rock will brighten someone’s day and give them, even for a moment, a sense of the wonder of the world; a sense that the world is still a pretty awesome place most of the time. #LoveWins.