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Pocket Rocks: An Anthology

Figure 1: My most recent pocket rock. Carnelian agate from outside Mt. St. Helens in Cowlitz County, WA.

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:

Figure 2: Personal photo for Pocket Rock anthology.

Step 1

Partake of the rock pocketing [Figure 1].

Step 2

Inquire as to the pocket rocks of others.

Step 3

Write it up as an anthology.

Step 4

Knit together an image of this cultural phenomenon.

Step 5

Inject a bit 'o humor & then title it Rockosophy* to share something worth sharing with the world.

Step 6


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