I started collecting rocks for my mother when I was in high school. I knew she enjoyed them and I thought of it as a cheap way to give her a gift. So, whenever I took a trip somewhere, I’d select a modest rock to bring back as a sort of souvenir for her. Even Jack–still in boyfriend mode–participated and brought her an offering of volcanic rock from one of his High Adventures in Scouting.
Ten years later, rather than dwindling away, the habit has become more of an obsession.
Farmers till the land like crazy here (Don’t ask me why–I roll my eyes every time I see them raking across their fields in the fall. Apparently no one got the memo that all of that exposed top soil doesn’t stand a chance against the near mach speed winter winds in Iowa). With all that beautifully rich soil being turned over, out pop hundreds of stones. The farmers pile them up, making it easy for my mother and I to scavenge. Evelyn likes coming too but she likes the “baby rocks” as she calls them. They’re really more like pebbles than the boulders my mother is after.
My mother started snatching rocks off my property when we were first building the fencing for our horses. We’d dig a hole for a post and more often than not, a rock would be in the way. I helped her load them into the car and she’d haul them back to her house to be used in her landscaping. I wondered when she was going to stop, proclaiming she had enough but she kept loading more and more of them in the car each time she packed up to go home.
Once, she found a treasure and insisted that she had to have it. I tried to reason with her but she bent over and attempted to roll it towards my SUV. Rather than see her throw out her back trying to wedge it in the car, I threw out my back wedging it into the car. I’m young, you see. And I love my mother.
She had to sit on it for the ride back to the house because the rest of the car was already weighed down with rocks. Jack had to transfer the enormous boulder from my car to hers and I sent her home to continue building a mountain on her front lawn in Nebraska.
To compliment her growing crag, she and my dad stopped at Timber Pine, and impressive nursery and tree farm we pass each time we transport between Nebraska and Iowa.
I admit, I’m a bit jealous of her rock garden. I too love using rocks in landscaping, something that I haven’t gotten around to doing at my own house yet, simply because landscaping is usually overruled by something more important like putting in a window or finishing the kitchen.
Jack has indulged me a bit though. A lot really. The rock he found for me took a skid loader to move after he’d spent several hours digging it out of the yard. It’s got its own funny story but for now, suffice it to say that we’ve got some landscaping started.