A couple of days ago there was a knock on my front door. Three girls stood on the porch with a box held by the eldest and asked me if I’d like to buy some rocks. After my own encounters in sales with a similar product, how could I resist? (See “I’m a Compassionate Capitalist.”)
“How much?” I asked.
“A dollar each.”
I choked before I realized it. I knew there had been inflation since I was a young girl—but $1? (I used to ask from one to five cents per rock.) I looked closer. Theirs were bigger, more varied, and yes, probably merited the price increase. I began to realize how generous my long-ago neighbors had been when I asked if they’d like to buy rocks.
But I knew I didn’t have a dollar on hand. When they offered to take a quarter I couldn’t deny the bargain and went in search of coins. (I really need to restock my ready cash. I spent the last of it on a bite-sized cake created by the daughter of a friend. I won’t ever put up a no-soliciting sign—I just don’t answer the door for strange, I mean, unknown grown-ups.) Anyway, I found two dimes and five pennies. (I know—I was embarrassed for me too.)
Because my offering was so pitiful, I looked for the smallest rock. That was when I first noticed how individually beautiful they were. What is it that happens between childhood and being grown-ups that pieces of stone, taken from the belly of the earth, and veined with color, pattern, and crystallized pieces that flash in the sunlight, fade to becoming just “rocks.”
I took my small token of their wonderment, regretting that I didn’t have the means or time to examine each one more thoroughly. Then after they left I put it among my treasures on my desk: Seven photos, two tiny books and a piece of contraband petrified wood.
This new treasure reminds me to take time to notice the beauty in common places and things. Even rocks.
Addendum: I considered other titles. “Rocks in the Head,” “Rock-bottom Prices,” and something sappy about the value of stones. However, the sun isn’t up yet, and unless I resort to “rock, paper, scissors,” this one fits—for my drowsy mind.