Talking to Rocks

A rock is a rock, but is it?

Today after a doctor’s visit, I was sitting out on a little circular border surrounding a large tree. It was just about the right height for a bench so I sat on the concrete flat area that seemed made to sit on. Inside that was a ring of rocks. To look at them at first, they were all about the same size and most were round and there was a bit of change in color. I picked up one and began to study it carefully. This one seemed to have one end cut or broken off, and it revealed a much darker and varied , somewhat smooth surface, as if I were looking into it. Down one side of that top area, extended a crack that seemed as if another part of it might split off. And crossing that seemed to be attempts to cut it with a sharp object diagonally.

Something drew me to pick up other rocks in that circle and to look at them. I guess sometimes it seems that, for example, perhaps all grains or sand, or in this case, all rocks in a group are similar in size, shape, color and texture. But in this case, the more I examined the rocks, I saw how distinctly different each one was. And I began to think about how each rock might have formed and what must have transpired to make it so different from all the rest. In my mind were so many questions coming forth, seemingly spilling out like a dam that was overflowing. How could it be that stones that likely all came from the same source/location could all be so different in texture, colors, shapes and sizes. Where was this magical place and what other surprises did it hold?

As I was pondering all these wonderful mysteries, my Lyft showed up and honked for me. I grabbed the one rock with the top seemingly cut from it and put it carefully into my pocket. I wanted to look at it once again at home and I wanted to ask it questions. One thing I learned today was that we should never even take a tiny grain of sand for granted. There is mystery and magic everywhere in this world.

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My Favorite Children’s Books When I was a Child

Little Golden Books courtesy Ebay.com

The books I remember most as a young child were the Little Golden Books. These were the books I could read on my own. The four above, particularly The Poky Little Puppy were favorites.These were called Board books, likely because the covers were made of cardboard. I don’t remember how much they cost then, but it was not a lot of money at all. This would have been in the 1940’s.

When I was older, my favorite was Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. And still later, perhaps around 12 – 14, my favorites that I read on my own were the Nancy Drew mysteries. These are stories I remember that cast young children as heroes in their own times, and Nancy Drew was particularly strong in portraying the star character as a very feminist type young lady, driving a sportster and fearlessly solving mysteries with her good friend.  She seemed to be very much in charge of directing her own life and making decisions that looking back, seem very forward for the times. I don’t remember what year(s) it might have been, but I remember when libraries were trying unsuccessfully to ban the Nancy Drew Mysteries for being poor literature.  A similar group of books for boys were the Hardy Boys mysteries.

A little known fact is that the ideas for the books were created by a prolific writer, Edward Stratemeyer.  In 1905, he created a network of freelance writers and editors. The main strategy of Stratemeyer’s Syndicate was to produce a huge number of books at the lowest possible cost, something he achieved with great success.Stratemeyer’s Syndicate created perhaps hundreds of ideas for books with ghostwriters that proved highly profitable for him. Writers signed away their rights to royalties and bylines for a flat fee, which in the beginning was around $100 for a book. Stratemeyer’s syndicate launched dozens of series, guessing that only a few would be hits. Tom Swift debuted in 1910,  The Hardy Boys in 1927, and Nancy Drew in 1930. Stratemeyer died in New Jersey in 1930, as more of a tycoon than a writer.

What books can you remember as your childhood favorites?