It was the kind of activity that transcended ages. Crossed cultural boundaries. Steeped in good will. The perfect activity for our visiting Czech family.
Surprisingly, it came as part of our farm share. Our CSA farmer, Heather-Marie from Rising Phoenix Community Farm, does a lot more than provide us with bountiful fresh organic veggies all summer long. She focuses on the community aspect as well. Once a month she hosts social events for all the families that she feeds. This time it was the Kindness Rocks Project.
Gathering on a warm summer afternoon at Hartley Nature Center, we found picnic tables laden with rocks and a supply of paints, paint pens and Mod Podge. The idea was to paint the rocks with inspirational messages or pictures. While I struggled to come up with designs, the girls dug in and swiftly produced colorful rocks with fun sayings. Although we encouraged them to paint some Czech sayings, with a little help from their mom they turned out catchy English phrases and cute illustrations. Soon the table tops filled with colorful rocks, created by young and old alike.
The art project was fun, but it was only the beginning. Next came the Kindness part. Megan Murphy is the creator of this national movement, which “encourages people to leave rocks painted with inspiring messages along the path of life.” The idea is that one message just might change someone’s whole day. Our next step would be to find homes for our rocks.
I had thought we might scatter them during our travels and adventures over the next few weeks of their visit. But forgetfulness meant the rocks were all still waiting in the garage on the last night of their stay. An excursion was immediately organized, so that we could complete the mission.
Judging by the enthusiasm of the effort, the joy in clambering over giant rocks, the appeal in depositing the messages in secret hidey holes, this part of the project was a highlight of their stay. The rock pile soon diminished, creating a rich repository of inspiration for future visitors. Pavla translated the girls’ words for us: “Better than a playground.”
I had thought some rocks might make their way back to the Czech Republic to await being found there. But it was far too much fun to plant them on the shores of Lake Superior. Leaving the world with a little more kindness was the perfect finale to a wonderful visit.