One morning several weeks ago, as I walked my dog down one of the state park trails, I noticed something atop one of the trail signs. So, I went over to check it out.
Thus was I introduced to the painted rock community, people who decorate scads of small rocks and hide them in unlikely places for others to find–grocery store shelves, parking lots and public spaces, or, as in my case, along a hiking trail. Some folks take them on road trips and hide them in other states–people from as far away as California have posted in the Lake Michigan Rocks Facebook group with photos of rocks they’ve found. There are numerous other painted rock Facebook groups–the person who started Lake Michigan Rocks got the idea from a CBS news report about a Northeast Ohio group. The purpose is to brighten someone’s day, as well as to get out and walk and do something artistic and enjoyable. Communities are based all over the US, and many of them have Facebook groups where finders can post photos and artists can display their latest work.
Decorating styles range from simple to quite ornate–smileys, ladybugs, minions, flowers, birds, graphic designs. Others sport inspirational words and phrases. Guidelines state that designs should be G-rated and kind, especially since small children are often the ones who find the rocks.
Over the next several weeks. some friends and I found two more rocks at the state park, a simple smiley and a Help Me! stone nestled at the foot of a sign. I hid both again. Since they were gone a few days later, I assume they were found.
Now, as I walk through the park, or the grocery store, or just about everywhere these days, I keep an eye out for a spot of color.