Sparkly or not, rocks have a lot of meaning to writer

Throughout human history, and even prehistory, people have presented the ones they love with tokens of affection. Cavemen probably presented sparkly rocks to their loved ones, and as soon as someone figured out how to drill holes in teeth and claws, jewelry became a popular gift.

Every culture in the world engages in the giving of gifts to win or continue affection, most favoring precious metals or rare gems. The custom of engagement rings can be traced to ancient Rome, and the first documented diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy by her intended, Archduke Maximilian of Austria, in 1477. Even today, people present a diamond engagement ring to their intended spouse, usually containing a single stone, measured in carats. It seems that we’re still stuck on giving each other sparkly rocks.

My hubby is an overachiever though. This week, I received not one single stone, but fourteen tons of grey rock. Said rock, I suppose, might be perceived to sparkle if viewed in a particular light while squinting. There they were, in a large pile in the middle of the driveway. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Nearly sixteen years ago, my hubby did indeed present me with a single sparkly stone, measured in fractions of a carat. At the time, he had been building raised garden beds and usually carried buckets in the back of his car in case he passed any fill dirt in need of a good home. We had just finished having dinner with my dad and were driving around my hometown. At the time, the park was being renovated and there was, in fact, a large pile of dirt. We drove up to the pile. “Look at that dirt,” he said.

“Yep, that’s dirt,” I replied.

“Let’s get out and look at it,” he said, excitedly.

Folks, let me tell you. When my hubs is excited, it’s infectious. He lights up like a little kid and it’s impossible not to get enthusiastic yourself. Except, perhaps, when sitting in a car in front of a large pile of dirt that you really don’t find all that stimulating. But hey. He was excited. I reluctantly climbed out of the car, to find him halfway up the pile. “Come here, “ he said. “Look at this rock!”

Yep, his excitement is contagious. I really did not want to climb that pile. I was not wearing dirt-friendly shoes, and dinner had not digested yet. But up I went. Just as I reached him, he got down on one knee and pulled a little box out of his pocket. Sure enough, it had a sparkly rock. Those of you that know me know I’m kind of a sucker for sparkly. And he was cute. Sure.

Dirt and rocks remained a staple throughout our marriage. Our honeymoon was spent in the San Juan National Forest, obtaining special permits to bring back rocks, trees, and deadwood. Landscaping, we called it. Every place we went, we made sure to get just a little bit of dirt, and put it in a bottle to remember our journeys. Most people buy souvenirs on vacation. We find rocks. (Yes, always with permission.)

Which brings us to the fourteen tons of rock in the driveway. Hubs has really taken to farm life like a duck to water. He’s always working hard at something. With all of the rain and snow we’ve had lately, feeding the critters and bringing up firewood with the truck ended more often than not with a stuck truck. Getting out of our family vehicle without getting muddy required contortions that may indeed qualify us for the circus. Dodging mud puddles on the way to the coop or the horse pen required leaps that would impress any ballerina or Olympic hurdler. I try hard not to complain or nag, but the constant slip sliding in the mud was really getting old.

My knight in shining armor was apparently as tired of the mire as I was. He put in a call to the nice folks at Florence Rock Co., and they got him set up with a better choice for our driveway than we had originally planned. I was slightly disappointed that we might have to wait a week for delivery, but at least the light was visible at the end of the tunnel.

Then came the call, and the angels sang. Certainly, we could take delivery TODAY. An hour later, our driveway was home to a lovely pile of hard grey rocks. We grabbed shovels and rakes and set to, but not until Hubs and I had recreated our engagement atop this new pile. This bunch of rocks makes me feel almost as loved as the first single one did. And this time, the kids got in on the action. It just about doesn’t get better than a nice sunny day, the whole family working together, and the satisfaction of a big job done.

I never would have thought I’d appreciate fourteen tons of rock this much, but I guess your priorities change as you get older. Blessings indeed come from unexpected places. May you have many.