In the bright green hills of West Virginia, a couple decided to take a break from wedding planning. They leashed up their dogs and took off to a park path not too far from their home. The bride-to-be, Crystal, found a little-painted rock. The rock was painted with the same white puffy clouds above her head. The painted clouds peeked out through some autumn orange leaves on giant oak trees. In front of the trees sat a painted barn on a rolling bed of bright green grass. The barn reads “See Rock City”.
It was kin to finding a pearl in an oyster, a needle in a haystack, some would even say it’s like finding a diamond in the rough.
“That is the coolest thing I’ve found at a park.” – Crystal
Proudly, she showed off her treasure to all her friends. They told her about this new trend of painting rocks.
“I got on Facebook and looked. Sure enough, it’s a thing.
It’s a pretty popular thing with all kinds of Facebook groups.” – Crystal
On the internet that day, she discovered a whole new thing supported by a large community. She decided to join a couple of groups and try out painting some rocks. Shortly, after hiding her first couple of rocks, one was found, posted and re-hidden. As she waited to see where her rock is off to next, she realized she was hooked.
With her wedding just around the corner, she decided to paint some rocks to take out of town. Her soon-to-be husband, Jackie, joined in on the fun. They left some of their wedding rocks at the Dam of the Stonewall Jackson Lake where they got married. Of course, they also left some rocks at their favorite tourist spots like The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. But heck, they even left some at a truck stop. Their hopes were for one of their wedding rocks to take off on its own adventure.
They continued to paint and hide rocks. These little-painted rocks have brought them some unexpected joy. One rock has been found and posted several times by different people. On its journey through West Virginia, the rock even gained a name. Miller, a little-painted puppy, has been to several parks and even made it to the golden arches of McDonald’s. She hasn’t seen Miller in a while and may never see him again. Either way, they are captivated by this community of rock painters. This virtual community connects to people in real ways. This is why Crystal keeps painting. Many of Crystal’s little-painted rocks carry an inspirational theme. A friend unaware of Crystal’s new hobby was at one of their local parks. Crystal’s friend was walking off the past. As she looks down, she finds a little-painted rock with an inspirational quote: ‘Let go and Let God’. Crystal’s friend posted later that day about the inspiring moment.
“I don’t know who painted this rock but I looked down and saw it exactly when I needed to see it“
Crystal knew immediately who painted the rock. The inspirational moment a friend had with one of her rocks created a drive to continue painting. She hides her painted rocks in corners of buildings, in garden beds, or in a random nook and cranny of our everyday world. Her rocks are hidden just in plain sight waiting for the right moment to bring a little positivity into someone’s world.
Being part of this rock community allows her to see how her rocks impact others’ lives. Another moving moment of her rock painting journey came from a rock painted with a little rainbow with the quote ‘Can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.’ This little rainbow rock was found by a big sister who passed it down to her little sister struggling with bullying. As a mother herself, Crystal teared up when she read the post essentially thanking the painter for helping to prove there are positive people in the world. Crystal thought to herself as she wiped away the tears, ‘simple little stinkin stupid rocks can really help someone’s day’.
Now, Crystal is hooked into this community. A community once solely part of a virtual world has rolled over into Crystal’s real life. She and Jackie are admittedly not the most athletic people find so much benefit from getting up and out. She is getting her friends moving too. As she sits next to her husband, both of them painting, she recalled one of the times a friend joined in on a rock hunt.
“Is this what you are looking for?” – shouted out Crystal’s friend.
He points to an obviously painted sponge bob rock. Crystal immediately posted it to Western WV Rocks for her excited friend. A mom responded promptly thanking them for posting her son’s first painted rock.
“You made my son’s day”- says the mom of a young rock painter.
Of course, as part of the unspoken rule, Crystal re-hides little painted Sponge Bob for another person to find. Friends continue to join in this rocky world. A coworker started painting rocks following in Crystal’s footsteps. Crystal even helped out by labeling a whole bunch of rocks for her. These rocks were used to rock Cincinnati. One of those rocks ended up finding its way to Nashville Tennessee.
“It’s neat to see one of your rocks travel far away” – Crystal
She is part of a community spreading positivity one rock at a time. This whole new world of painted rocks has been nothing but an uplifting experience for Crystal. It is an outlet for her creative and physical energy. In Crystal’s words: “It is just some clean healthy fun.”