One of the small pleasures during my daily walk along the sidewalks and creek trails are finding brightly painted rocks.
This Spring our neighborhood Facebook pages came alive, encouraging each other to do small things to help entertain the multitude of young children taking a walk with their families. Of the various “I Spy” activities, the “Painted Rocks” quickly emerged as a local favorite and grew in popularity until it took a life of its own.
For four months now, painted rocks appear regularly along sidewalks in various walking areas and trails, bringing joy to children and adults. In March, a closed Facebook group for budding artists, young and old was born inviting neighbors, “With extra time on our hands here is a group and easy craft for you to do with your kids and share joy when you find a painted rock or leave one for others to find!” As artists post pictures of their newest collections and identify which trails to follow, pictures and comments fill the page.
One artist noted for her creative themes admits, “I have never drawn or painted before. I love seeing kids find my rocks and y’all posting them. I’ve found a new hobby thanks to you all and this group.” Another offers this insight, “My attitude is to give and expect nothing in return. We create the rocks and drop them hoping to make someone’s day – whether they just look at them, take them home or re-hide them.”
The painted rocks motivate young and old to step outside and get exercise, adding an element of fun during walks and bicycle rides. Another neighbor chimes in, “We love looking for the rocks on our morning walks. We can’t wait to see what we find. Thank you for being a light and bringing joy. I laugh and smile every time I find a rock.”
Parents continue to encourage painters to keep creating, “These rocks are how I keep my kids motivated during our walks.” Younger artists also contribute their own creations with colorful glitter and stickers. One student proudly created a rock sporting the face of Dwayne Johnson. (aka “The Rock” – get it?)
I expect there are now thousands of painted rocks in our neighborhood, whether sitting along a trail, in a child’s “treasure bag,” or even at the bottom of the creeks, launched by rambunctious youths. This simple act of painting and hiding or seeking and finding a colorful rock brings a calming respite from the negativity and stress of the day.