I admit, I like rocks.  I like to collect them and make things with them: stone walls, pathways, nature chimes to name a few pastimes.  I also appreciate it when artists use rocks in their art-making.  I am particularly fond of river rocks and from one river in particular, the Deerfield River, Charlemont, MA, pictured below.



The Deerfield is a pristine river which flows for 76 miles from southern VT, through northwestern MA and empties into the Connecticut river.  The river rocks found in it are smooth from tumbling in the rushing water.  I’ve fished the Deerfield, camped next to it, swam in it but mostly, I enjoy kayaking it.  The water level rises and falls, subject to releases by the Hydro-electric dam several miles upriver, which are scheduled and posted on the internet to allow for maximum enjoyment by anglers, swimmers and boaters.  I generally take 1 rock on my visits and like to use them as ‘pavers’ for backyard pathways.



The rocks pictured above came from the Deerfield and they average 4-6 inches in length.  The rain that has been falling on them all day make them look like they were just pulled from the river.

I collected a bunch of beach rocks when I was recently on Cape Cod, in Falmouth.  Falmouth rocks seem to have a distinctive pink color.  The rocks pictured below are about 2 inches in length.

I love to stroll the beach and choose from among the millions of rocks underfoot.  These particular rocks were removed from Surf Beach, which faces Vineyard Sound in early July this year.  I enjoy using these rocks as strikers for my nature chimes.  You can see a striker I have prepared on the right.

I noticed some interesting rocks yesterday, while on a bike ride on the central Mass rail trail in West Boylston.  The rock on the left can be found on the right side of the trail, about 3/4 of the way to the end of the trail as you are heading to Holden from W. Boylston.  As you can see, this large rock makes a good kickstand and is perfect set your snack or water bottle on, while taking a break.

I found the other rock protruding from the Quinapoxet river, which runs along the trail for most of the way.  This view is from the opposite side of the river, which you can reach by returning to the trail head in W. Boylston by River Road.  While driving past the river, this rock was an obvious focal point.  I like the way the top of the rock seems to sun itself, while its base is surrounded by the cold, clear, rippling water.  The many shades of green in the water and vegetation behind the rock provides an image of soothing, coolness.


Consciousness – Andres Institute of Art

A favorite spot to view art made from granite is the Andres Institute of Art in Brookline, NH where this piece, Consciousness is permanently installed, along with about 100 other pieces.  I love the shape, the texture, and the sheer size of this piece.  The rock is about 4 feet tall and 6 feet in length.  The great thing with public art in a place like this is that you can run your hands all over it.  You can sit down next to it, lean against it and caress it.   You can find more information about this free exhibit on their Website .

Consciousness is the also subject of The Untethered Soul, by Michael A. Singer.  I bought this book about a week ago, on the advice of my good friend Sarka, a mindful visual artist and doctoral student.  Singer tells us:

What differentiates a conscious, centered being from a person who is not so conscious is simply the focus of their awareness.  All consciousness is the same.  Just as all light from the sun is the same, all awareness is the same.  Consciousness is neither pure nor impure; it has no qualities.

This book has been a great help to me as I strive to better understand what it means to practice mindfulness.  I’ve learned that it is not enough to simply be mindful of what you are doing in the present moment.  It is equally important to maintain an awareness of everything that is happening, without letting one or more things take over.  Singer suggests that we should center our consciousness within ourselves.

The difference is that when your consciousness is not centered within, it becomes totally focused on the objects of consciousness.  When you are a centered being, however, your consciousness is always aware of being conscious.  Your awareness of being is independent of the inner and outer objects you have happen to be aware of.

This was a new perspective for me — that it could be beneficial to be aware of being aware.  Singer elaborates:

Once you become conscious of the consciousness itself, you attain a totally different state.  You are now aware of who you are.  You have become an awakened being.  As you pull back into the consciousness, this world ceases to be a problem. It’s just something you’re watching.  It keep changing, but there is no sense of that being a problem.  The more you are willing to just let the world be something you’re aware of, the more it will let you be who you are — the awareness, the Self, the Atman, the Soul.

Wow, heady stuff.  Seems like it would be worth trying this out.  Actually have been trying to do this the last few days.  I suggest you give it a try too.

Singer, M.A. (2007).  The untethered soul: the journey beyond yourself.  Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.