There are a million reasons to bring rocks home from the beach. And I’ve used about 999 of them. I’ve been carrying rocks around since I was a child; no matter where I went, I found a rock I simply had to have, and filled shoes, pockets, suitcases….No surprise, then, that I would end up on the coast of Rhode Island where the beaches are a combination of stone and sand.
Every year, I start a different collection. The white rock collection. The lucky strip collection. The pink granite collection. You get the idea. And every year, I have to think up another excuse for collecting rocks. It isn’t enough that the rocks slow me down--both because I have to scour the piles for exactly the right ones, and because when I have enough of them I’m usually carrying an extra twenty pounds on me. Still, I always need a reason; I suppose it is a defensive posture from the day when, checking into a flight home from Charlevoix, Michigan, where I was numb with joy at discovering the Petoskey stone, the porter picked up my suitcase and said, with disbelief, “Whatcha got in here? Rocks?” I was charged extra. (While we are on the subject, let me say that the Petoskey stone is reason enough to fly to Charlevoix on Michigan’s lower peninsula, though it is a beautiful place even without its rocks. The stone is composed of a fossilized coral, and formed as a result of glaciation. Sheets of ice plucked them out of the bedrock and ground off their rough edges, and if that doesn’t blow your mind, I don’t know what will. Equally stunning is favosite coral, a Petoskey cousin, hence the resemblance.)
As I was saying, my excuse. This year, it is the drip edge. My house doesn’t have gutters, so the rain washes off the roof in sheets (as it only rains in sheets these days, have you noticed?) and makes dents in the plants below. Now the rocks will catch the blunt force of the water, and as a side benefit, they are washed and clean by the time winter comes around, and give me something besides mulch to look at in the winter.