It’s been said that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Just before Christmas, I experienced this wonderful phrase firsthand.
Just before Christmas Eve, our area experienced a windstorm that knocked decorations all over the neighborhood. During one of my daily walks with Luna, our 7-year-old pup, I noticed quite a few pieces of décor strewn about Pollack Street. I managed to grab a few items and put them on the side of the road to prevent them from getting further trashed by an oncoming vehicle.
Hubby and I decided to take a stroll before our family get-together on Christmas Eve to aid digestion and clear our heads. We noticed a few pieces of broken decorations in the street, to which Hubby remarked, “That was some wind last night.” As he spoke, a small metallic blue object caught my eye. Round and puffy with a silver snowflake atop, it resembled a foil-wrapped macaron. It was rather lovely to behold. I hesitated to pick it up, just in case the owner was searching for it. Besides, I wasn’t planning on eating anything off the ground.
After Christmas, a friend of mine accompanied me on my daily walk with Luna. We passed the identical metallic teal object and I pointed it out. “It’s a chocolate; leave it,” my friend stated. Curiosity won out as I leaned over to pick up a beautifully hand-painted rock. I turned it over, only to find an adorable message on the back: “Hi. Please post a pic at Long Island Rocks on Facebook, or MojoRocksLI on Instagram. Keep or hide.” I placed the stone in my pocket, with the intention of hiding it on one of our hikes in Stillwell Preserve.
The following day, I did a little research. It turns out that “Long Island Rocks” is a rock swap of sorts. Quite a few Long Islanders paint these little beauties, some quite elaborately and hide them in supermarket parking lots, on side streets, in parks and even in local areas of interest. The idea is to spread a little joy to others who find the stone. It’s up to the finder to decide whether to re-hide or keep, and it’s perfectly acceptable to leave the stones in other areas as well.
According to the Long Island Rocks Facebook page, anyone can join in the fun and paint rocks. Acrylic paint, some clean rocks, a few paintbrushes and a bit of sealant are the only materials required. Paint pens made by Elmer’s are perfect for intricate designs, but a plain old Sharpie will do just as well. Glitter paint, metallic paint or even glow in the dark paint is a fun way to paint rocks, and one can even use a little “bling” like crystals, buttons or googly eyes to perk up an otherwise unnoticeable rock. On the back side of the rock, it’s important to write something like, “Post to #LongIslandRocks on Facebook. Keep or Hide.” Sealing both sides of the rock prevents the elements from damaging your artwork. For the record, the group has almost 4,000 members and it continues to grow.
If you’re either on the Facebook or Instagram page, it’s a great idea to check out the Long Island Rocks page. Some of the paintings are so delicate and detailed that they could easily appear on a museum shelf. There are quite a few of these “rock clubs” throughout the country and the idea is gathering steam. It’s a wonderful way to connect people through art and a simple game of hide and seek. There are some members of the page who find painted rocks on the weekly, while others are still searching for their first stone.
During today’s walk with Luna, I found a perfectly shaped rock for painting. I’m hopeful that I can paint a little whimsical picture upon its face and hide it somewhere with its metallic teal cousin, where it can spark joy and excitement in someone else.
Patty Servidio is an Anton Media Group columnist.