“I found mine in a tree,” a friend told me excitedly, while we visited in an Alabama restaurant.
“I found mine hidden in some weeds,” her husband said, leaning toward me. “Someone had painted Mississippi on the top.” The delight in both seniors’ faces made them resemble kids on Christmas morning.
They were talking about finding painted rocks, a kindness-spreading movement for people of all ages.
Maybe you’ve been the recipient of a similar random act of kindness and know how it can lift your spirits. Or maybe you’ve been the one to donate to a scholarship, buy a stranger’s coffee, deliver a food basket, or help a stranded motorist having car trouble. One of the most charming examples of generosity is one I read about on Twitter and stars Sapphire the fairy.
A young woman found a few objects in a tree, realized it was a fairy garden, and read a note written by a lonely four-year-old girl. The woman wrote back, pretending to be the fairy Sapphire, and left small gifts along with uplifting letters. She secretly let the girls’ parents know what she was doing, and the relationship continued. You can read this amazing account on Kelly Victoria’s Twitter page, @saysthefox.
Painting and hiding cheery rocks might not be as involved as writing fairy letters and picking out special gifts, but it’s sure to bring smiles to faces. I hope to find a painted rock of my own someday. If I do, I’ll keep the first one, as most people do, and then re-hide any others I find.
Here are the simple steps.
- Gather flat, smooth rocks, acrylic paints, a brush, sealer, and a marker such as a black Sharpie. (These items would make a great birthday or holiday gift for kids or adults.)
- Decorate your rock. Be as creative as you like. Something vibrant and fun such as a ladybug or a sunrise work well. Samples of cheery messages include Keep smiling, Think sunny thoughts, Find the Joy, or Soar!
- If you’d like the finder to post a photo of your rock, use a Sharpie and write “post pic on Facebook’s DodgeCountyWIRocks” ( www.facebook.com/DodgeCountyWIRocks) on the rock. This is the closest site to our area. It would be wonderful if a teacher, scout leader, or parent would start a painted rock Facebook page for the Dells area.
- Seal the rock to protect it from weather.
- Hide it in a tree, on playground equipment, or along permissible paths. (Avoid state and national parks.)
I’ve painted three rocks and will hide them this week in the Dells area. I’m not especially artistic but found that a few glittery stickers and googly eyes helped create a charming day brightener. I’d love to know if anyone finds one of my rocks. One says “Laugh often.” The other two say “Smile” and “You Rock!”
I’m hoping one of my rocks will brighten someone’s day.