Monday, July 17, 2006


When I was younger, I used to love rocks. I’m not sure where it came from, but I started collecting them. My favorite rocks were geodes. Geodes have crystals inside of them and can be really beautiful. I used to love the excitement of cracking one open to see what was inside. It was like Christmas.

It all started when my friend Ben and I were camping at Gallahue. Gallahue was a girl scout camp in southern Indiana and they let families visit every labor and memorial day. One day when Ben and I were walking along the gravel roads, I picked up two rocks and starting banging them together in my hand to make noise. I was just doing this for fun, galumphing if you know what I mean.

Well it just so happened that one of those two rocks was a geode. It was only about the size of my hand, but it split open and I was ecstatic to find crystals inside. I gave Ben the other half of my geode and we were hooked. We would spend hours hunting for them. I say hunting not because the rocks ran away from us, but because we searched after them as if our lives depended on it. We would travel out into the woods looking for creeks and streams that held our little jewels. Then we would load up pockets and hands and make sacks out of t-shirts to carry our treasure.

We took the haul back to our camp and began destroying them to see what was inside. Our favorite method was laying one on the ground and slamming another on top of it. This worked pretty well for most rocks. The only downside was that you could never make it crack where you wanted it to. Some geodes would be smashed into ten pieces, ruining what could have been a great fortune. If we thought that a particular geode might be special inside, we would use a hammer to crack at a specific point on the rock, in hopes that we could keep the majority of it intact. Then we would look at all the pieces we had and choose which ones were worthy to come home with us.

Usually whoever found the rock got the first pick of which piece they wanted, then the other could take what was left. Any pieces that we didn’t want, we would give to little brothers and sisters who watched with anticipation, or throw them back into the woods.

I can remember one specific time when I found what I thought was the perfect geode. It was huge and had broken perfectly for me. There was a chasm of crystals that could be seen through a hole as big as my fist. It was perfect. The day we were getting ready to leave, I found it smashed outside of our tent. I guess my dad didn’t realize what it was and had tossed it out of the tent when he was cleaning. It landed on a rock and broke into worthless pieces. I’m sure I cried and was upset with him, so he took Ben and I out into the woods to find a replacement. Poor guy. It was pouring down rain and we were already late getting home, but he went out there with us while we scoured the woods for a proper replacement. I found a large one that he insisted on carrying out for us. What a great dad. Of course if he wouldn’t have broken the thing in the first place, he wouldn’t have had to bother.

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