Sometimes you find the rock, sometimes the rock finds you. This principle was imparted unto me by Kenji Sato, a Master of the martial arts I practiced growing up. Sort of. While visiting Missouri for the annual black belt exam, of which I was partaking, I remember asking Master Sato how he became the technical master of his family's karate style. Kenji said to me, "Growing up I was good at this, and because of that I had no choice but to master my technique and fill this role. I didn't choose karate, karate chose me." At the time, I found this to be an evasion of the question. Also, as far as Master-to-pupil advice goes, it rang with redundancy. It made me feel awkward and uncomfortable that this man I so admired had no great and terrible secret to his success other than embracing the natural talents and imposed skills life had dealt him. I had asked for specific instruction to a specific kind of achievement and instead been handed a tattered old axiom about how growing up sucks. This sagely advice was then logged away with my laundry list of parental suggestions on 'how to best survive adolescence.' As it turned out, people who dedicate their entire lives to physical mediation are pretty down with the zen life philosophy. Not only that, but Kenji's succinct lesson holds general applicability to life on Earth (go figure) and came in handy eight years later. Whether it be karate or rocks, life passions can totally choose the person.Pocket rocks are the embodiment of rocks finding people, not always people finding rocks. This phraseology is yet another sign of the universe preemptively throwing me a frickin' bone.
If you have read My Morning Mile before, I'm sure you've noticed a recurring theme. I use a lot of lists. I love lists. Lists are like the Jedi mind trick of functionality to me. In our age of perpetual over stimulation, lists are the quick-and-dirty method for conveying lots of information in an easily digested, referencey* format. In this instance, lists pave the road I embark upon, now, to share pocket rocks with whomever craves their sharing. With that introduction, I officially announce that Pocket Rocks will be a series as listified* interviews and stories. I deem it so. BAM. You're welcome. Here is my devious plot to address the nagging in my brain regarding the inescapable truth of Pocket Rocks:
Partake of the rock pocketing [Figure 1].
Inquire as to the pocket rocks of others.
Write it up as an anthology.
Knit together an image of this cultural phenomenon.
Inject a bit 'o humor & then title it Rockosophy* to share something worth sharing with the world.
Sometimes, all your shit goes right at once. Kenji's life principle punched me in the face about three weeks ago, when I passed a pocket rock on & made a new friend (not necessarily in that order). A few days later, I saw this person at my favorite coffee shop, only to find out he has pocketed that same rock for personal reasons (that I am determined to ask about) and that it meant something to him to have this encounter with me. It really meant something. He excitedly told me he was going to get the stone wire-wrapped and wear it as a necklace as a reminder of that night. I showed him my wire-wrapped Oregon sunstone and we both smiled the kind of genuine smiles that galvanize a human connection. Already having diversified my pocket rocking, and learning about people around me as an extension of that, I am no longer satisfies with simply inquiring and connecting over these warm sparks of positive shared humanity. I want a fire. A blazing metaphorical fire fed by the energy of many human realities experienced as pocket rocks and colliding together in a quasar of spiritual luminosity.
Like that guy at the bar who asked if the light under my carnelian was "making it give off some kind of energy," or Audrey's diverse pocket arrangement, Frank's priceless garnets, James's curious pebbles, Bristol's beach agates, the shop owner's Apache tears, or my magical coworkers' consistent good humor about pocket rocks, the overflowing font of this phenomenon is nothing short of a Call to Action. Or, in the case of my all-powerful (if under-read) blog, a Call to Writing. This new evidence suggests that I am observing these behaviors more now because I am intentionally and overtly sharing them with others. However, I find that explanation incomplete and best, and a lazy avoidance of connection at worst. I need to know how long this has been going on. This isn't new to me, but the engagement of others is, and seeing it around all the time is fascinating. The universe is hurling enough fantastic folks into my field of vision, that I am capitalizing on it. There is simply no alternative. This is a thing. It's totally a thing. I will expound upon its thingness* and in so doing, attain a greater understanding of the state of collective human consciousness.
Embarking on this bloggtastic journey leaves me no choice but to get serious about keeping track of the Why's and How's I encounter. I am going to request people's pictures, explanations, interpretations, and stories of pocket rocks. How many people do this? Why do they do it? I am launching a full-scale investigation. No more casual, comfortable discussions.
WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL ALIVE AND DOES IT INVOLVE THE STONE IN YOUR POCKET?
To begin, I am posting my first set of interview questions answered by me. In the interest of readability, I am going to refer you all to previous posts I have written about my emotional impressions of rocks, instead of copying and pasting five months of rock blogging below.
Let's get started.
1) Photo of you and the name you want associated with Pocket Rocks.
Greetings! I am the Rock Rat, and this is a photo of me rockhounding during the 2017 summer season [Figure 2].
2) Photo(s) of your pocket rock in your hand / its location / its origin / related to its explanation / etc.
Please, reference the post Agate It!, because this pocket rock's story is basically that story. This is my carnelian agate from beautiful, volcanic, southwestern Washington [Figure 1]. I dug it from a deep, muddy hole in the ground, and it came out perfectly imperfect [Figure 3]. Yellow with orange mineral lines, and a touch of quartz in the corner, this agate formed in the bowels of the Earth as a pluton of magma rising with the pressure that formed the stratovolcano we know as Mt. St. Helens. In my mind, the visual of liquid minerals solidifying out of magma and crystallizing in jagged little terminals, churning, forming and reforming into lines and shapes that can be drawn forth from soft brown Earth is the sexiest idea out there. This pocket rock is a corporeal expression of the realities each sentient being experiences as a subset of a greater, universal awareness. More on this later [See imminent post, Rockosophy].
3) Personal or professional background.
I am the Rock Rat. Purveyor of rocks and birds and personal truths [See Disclaimer page].
4) "Why do you pocket rocks?"
As long as I can remember, the impulse to collect and ponder the significance of stones in my path has brought me joy and peace of mind.
5) "When did you start?"
At some point, early in my development, they let me outside. It began about then. There is a photo somewhere in Aunt Sharon's house of my barely-walking self with a mouth full of mouth rocks. Mouth rocks are the name I give to my under cooked brain's early version of pocket rocks. As my infant niece has taught me, the mouth is our original pocket.
6) "How did you start?"
Most recently, I go escapading around the PNW to dig, pick, and chisel out my nature booty [Figure 4]. So of which become pocket rocks.
7) "What is their significance to you (if any)?"
I wouldn't say I take it too seriously... [See My Morning Mile].
8) "Does it affect your behavior / routine / in certain situations / with people / etc.?"
Not recently, considering the enduring legacy I've created for myself. At this point, pocket rocks are a facet of my personality and how I engage with the world.
9) "Do you connect with others in any sense through this?"
Yes. This one time I showed someone a pocket rock and we became friends. That someone was the PNW.
10) "Is there a story you would share about this cultural phenomenon / something at all you would like to say about pocket rocks or this project as a whole?"
I started a blog to chronicle recent pocket rocking adventures. A few brave souls read it, and I started pursuing their contributions.
Bonus Q) "Would you like to discuss this interview with the author or connect with this project in another way?"
So much so, that I've received complaints.
With love and nothing else,
*Referencey: To be easily accessible for reference
*Listify: To make a list of
*Thingness: The state of existing, but not living
*Rockosophy: Improvement on the the previous title idea, Philosophy of Rocks, the imaginary blook*
*Blook: The tattered remains of a blog once it has been transmuted into a book. Blooks are amazing, but should be approached with caution, as the market for books is way down due to the price of warehousing and moving books. Also, I heard it on an episode of Bob's Burgers.
*Profit: I am absolutely kidding, here. There's no way I could turn a profit on something if the investors bit me on the hind quarters.