By Susan Brown
Every one of us has done it…gone on a trip to the beach and come home with one pocket full of shells and the other filled with sand-washed rocks – the ones that have been smoothed to silk by eons of water and grit. Don’t you just love their feel?
In the Pacific Northwest (and probably other places as well) the two beach treasures are polished black basalt and orange-cream agates. There is one secret beach on nearby Whidbey Island where I have found the best of both. Heavy, cool, frosted lightly with sand. I hold these finds in my hands and feel the centuries, the millennia, stretching back to times I can’t fathom. The dark basalt once spewed from the silent volcanoes ringing the region. The agate, formed in the lava burps, is the jewelry of the shore. Gleaming crystalline like a petrified dessert. Breathtakingly beautiful.
My love of rocks started on the beaches of Lake Erie during the long hot summers of my childhood. The smoothed ovals of granite and limestone skipped across waves, built patios for my fairy kingdoms, and even weighed down tails of wind-whipped kites. A few years later when my family drove across northern Ontario (three days folks!) I saw how the Canadian Shield’s granite rearing up through the thin soil in plates as big as any house. You can feel the bones of the earth when you picnic on that vast sun-warmed rock.
Add some more years and my husband and I dabbled in a bit of rock hounding. After a leg-aching climb up a mountain (I have never been in shape, ever) I found clusters of granite crystals, upthrusting geometric shapes, clear as ice, ancient as…rock. These crystals became a focus for a friendship in my kids book about bullying, Hey, Chicken Man! Other minerals became the magical anchors in a young adult fantasy, Twelve, that I’ve been working on.
Crystal samples, amethyst clusters, and nameless stones that I like the look of are scattered around my house. Every time I pick one up, I feel myself reconnect to the earth itself – the weight, the energy, the sense of time rolling onward despite my day-to-day frustrations, irritations and ambitions.
A simple reminder of where I belong and where I will eventually journey. And they are all beautiful and soothing.
I so love rocks.
About The Author
I love to write! And I love to write for teens. Since I was a kid, bored with school, I’ve been making up stories. Eventually I became a journalist, got married, had kids, adopted dogs and started writing books in earnest. Three followed, plus two more co-authored with Anne Stephenson.
I’ll be publishing a half dozen new books in the next year or two, some fantasy and some realistic which I hope will appeal to teen readers – I’ve had quite a few kids read them and gotten a thumbs up! Check out my website at www.susanbrownwrites.com