Since our shelter at home orders began, our peaceful and appealing neighborhood road has seen more walkers and joggers than ever. I frequently walk to the beach for good exercise, but I also find it meditative. A stroll quiets the mind and fresh air invigorates the body.
A few weeks into the pandemic, out of nowhere, suddenly and randomly along the street, painted rocks appeared with the messages of HOPE, FAITH, JOY. A week later: GRACE, LOVE. The beautiful and colorful stones; left by unknown artist(s) to inspire others and send positive messages to any and all who happened upon them, resonated and became a topic amongst neighbors as we passed each other along our road: “Did you see the rocks?”
I was so moved, I decided to add my own sentiments for passers by, and started gathering rocks from my garden to adorn. What words would I choose to add?
I selected the rocks for flat surfaces that wouldn’t be too bumpy to paint legibly and faces large enough to accommodate the words that could serve as meditative mantras for walkers. After washing and drying, I painted a background on the top with latex house paint. I chose a contrasting color for the letters. A bottle of acrylic paint with a fine-lined applicator allowed me to add an imperceptible shadow–create a little dimension to each letter. Then after a few days of drying, I applied a clear acrylic spray coat for exterior use to seal them.
There’s something about painting rocks that is very freeing–less intimidating to put down the first brush stroke. Its not a blank, fresh canvas meant for Art with a capital A.
I placed my messages in a grouping at my mailbox along with two cheerful painted rocks that were gifts: a ladybug from a Master Gardener friend, and a dot mandala painted for me by my dear and endlessly creative friend Louise. About that same time, a neighbor who paints mesmerizing mandala patterned rocks put hers out along the street. Her message to passersby: BREATHE.