Everybody Needs a Rock*

I collect rocks.

Not on purpose.

I don’t go looking for them.  But when I bend to look more closely, inevitably they end up in my pocket, or in my car.

Photo courtesy of Kira Fry @pudelpointer


Hunting for a specific rock is a completely different experience.

It’s almost stressful.

For Unplug’d 2012, I needed a rock that was easy to decorate, fit in the palm of my hand, and somehow represented me.

Would I find it in the bay east of Tee Harbour, in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, where the rocks are flattened and smoothed by the lake?


I scoured the islands of Quetico Provincial Park for just the right rock, but it remained elusive.

But then it came to me.  My teacher brain was focused on the rules, not the meaning.

The rock needed to represent me, and where I am right now in my life.

Where am I now?  I am emerging from a year of grieving the loss of my father.

I am spending a lot of time on the land, on the water, sorting out the teachings from my first half-century with one of the greatest outdoorsmen who ever lived.

So my rock? It is beautiful.

My rock is beautiful without any decorations.

It is stunning amethyst from where I live now, infused with the Canadian Shield where, as a child, I learned the lessons from my father.

I don’t need to write my name on it.  The intersection of my adult life and my childhood life are in the shape of the letter ‘M’, the initial of the name we share.

I was proud to connect this part of me with so many other talented and passionate educators at Unplug’d 2012.

But when I left, I knew where this rock needed to rest.

Wilberforce is where my father learned from his father and from his  mother.

It’s where they rest now, and where he chose to rest with them.

And while I miss them all dearly and deeply, they will continue to be my rock as I go on and continue to share the gift of learning they shared with me.

*Everybody Needs a Rock by Bird Baylor.  Thank you to Kelly-Ann Power @kellypower for introducing me to this book.

0 thoughts on “Everybody Needs a Rock*

  1. I love the way this beautiful post continues the story of your rock (and you) beyond Unplug’d, Donna. You have such a powerful way with language I was in awe of on Saturday afternoon, and am again here (especially as someone who comes home from afternoons or weekends in the woods with pockets full of rocks).

    1. Thanks, Bryan. Watching you edit at Unplug’d was an important learning experience for me. I am a better writer because of it. Keep the music coming!

  2. Donna,
    This moved me deeply.

    I’m so thankful this book was able to touch you as much as it touched me. And I’m so glad I chose to share it.

    I collect rocks too. Thanks to my dad’s teaching and guidance. He was my rock.

    I’m so glad we connected.

    Kelly-Ann

  3. Oh Donna,
    This is so beautifully written. I too was awed by your way with words. I left my rock by the doors of Points North to remind myself to keep doors open and to walk through doors of opportunity and to remember that through the door are gifts unknown such as I found at Norhern Edge and Unplugd. Thanks for this.

  4. It’s not a coincidence that la pluie d’étoiles is a shower of space rocks and that your Dad is another one of the stars that formed who you are. Nicely written!

  5. I was thinking about you over the past week, remembering that it was a special time of the year for you. Enjoy your special memories and take comfort from those who care about you. What a nice way to look at rocks.

  6. This is a very moving post, thanks for trusting in us and sharing. Also thanks for being a great room mate.
    Losing our loved ones takes its toll unplugd12 came at a perfect time for you and I feel it will help your healing greatly.

    When my mother passed away in 2000 there was no online community I could share with and so I felt very alone. I wanted to ring her up and tell her about the beautiful flowers that were sent to my home. And more.

    Meeting f2f has made our connections stronger. Its amplified our relationships and trust.

    I am after a copy of the book, Everyone needs a rock. I have a student in mind who will love the book. I’ll keep searching. Thank you Donna.

  7. I also used to feel a draw from certain rocks and walk away with a rock in my pocket when my parents would take me on trips. I wonder when that urge went away. I am glad you had such a strong foundation growing up. Thanks also for sharing about Unplug’d. I hadn’t heard of it and will keep it in mind for the future.

  8. Thank you for sharing this personal reflection with me. It sounds like unplugd provided the much needed time to stop, think and reflect.

    I love the book Everyone Needs a Rock because it reminds us that it’s okay to have a special someone who helps us find our inner strength.

    I hope you enter the school year refreshed. You just might end up being the rock for someone on your staff.
    Angie

  9. Donna! Thank you for sharing this site with me…one of many beautiful sites that you share so naturally, so generously. Large or small, rocks are miniature worlds for me….full of stories and real pictures of people and places. If only they could talk! Perhaps they can but don’t so will can listen and see, hear and be amazed by their quiet beauty. Can’t wait for our next rock hunt. Thank you again Donna, 🙂 Patricia Ambrose

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *