Our family is always looking for ways to avoid buying another gift trinket for the many occasions gifts are required -- Christmas, Valentine's Day, Birthdays, Anniversaries. Short of ignoring gift giving entirely, we've tried to celebrate with creativity. We've made gifts or grown them. We're particularly fond of gifts of food or flowers. Handmade cards, a special meal cooked to order, or eating out are also nice ways our family celebrates. But, somehow, the gifts of stones from son to mother, begun a number of years ago, are the creme de la creme for my birthdays, or any other occasion. But, with a hiking-season-summer-birthday stones packed home became almost a tradition and a much-loved and wanted birthday gift possibility.
|This beautiful stepping stone was for my birthday this year. It came from Glacier Peak Wilderness|
on the back of Brad's BMW motorcycle, roped onto the passenger seat.
Finding a home for a new treasurer is always an important part of receiving the gift. It needs to be "planted" in the garden in the perfect spot. The stone above earned a place in the middle of our little upper pond. Because of the moss we don't want it stepped on often but the stone is there for the occasional need to get across the pond without going around, or for maintenance purposes. Because this location is a shady nook in the garden, the moss will grow and deepen and no doubt ferns will decide to join the moss too. Perhaps one day this stone will look more like a small fern island.
|Small stacking stones from the Cascades.|
The larger stone these little stacking stones are resting on is a chair shaped stone. It arrived by truck, as part of a larger load of garden stones, but was hand selected by Brad. It was placed at our stone entry steps for a place to pause and rest and enjoy the garden on entering or departing. The small stacking stones are on a small shelf while the sitting part of the stone is to the right (above). Brad carried the stacking stones home from the Cascades in his pack.
|A sweet vignette. Origin unknown, but beauty and sweet addition to the garden|
worthy of the effort to tote them home from a hiking or kayaking adventure.
|This big beauty holds a very special place at the edge of our upper pond.|
It is the "lookout" for viewing the pond and stream.
Early on in our construction project we needed large mossy stones to help nestle our ponds and stream into the landscape. The one above was one of our first. After an outing to Belllingham this lovely stone came home on Brad's pickup, on top of a load of construction materials.
|These stones present me with the dilemma of memory loss. I don't exactly remember the origin|
of this beautiful little garden art piece. The concrete with the hole was a Brad find, as were the stones. The stack was created by me at our entry.
|The big boy! Large, heavy and a beast to load into Brad's pickup and a beast to unload or move.|
Sometimes the gift is too big to be moved far. This big stone, carried home from the Olympic Peninsula, sits on the edge of our drive. It has a two fold function in that key location. One is to please the eye. The other is to stop a runaway car from ending up in our home.
|A stone with a mantra carved on it came from Nepal.|
When Brad gave a presentation at Wander on Whidbey about his Nepal trek, one of the attendees asked him whether he regretted carrying this heavy stone home from Nepal. Brad's incredulous response was, "It's for my mom!"
|These five mantra stones also came from the trip Brad took to China and Nepal in December 2012.|
They came back in his backpack, along with the painted stone above, to live in our garden here on
|Mt. Rainier spike|
This spike stone was carried down off the mountain several years ago when Brad hiked the Wonderland Trail at Mt. Rainier. When he was unloading it from his pack, after packing it for miles and miles, he dropped it and broke off the tip. Glue fixed that problem, but initially he was one disappointed guy. It had a prominent place in our Saratoga garden and again, now, in our Grace garden.
There have been other stones we've brought home as our treasures. On a kayaking trip, several years ago, we collected pocketfuls of stone from a small island, small stones like medallions, with holes in them that we combined with beads for making hanging art. Pockets have been stuffed with special stones for special events. When our golden brown dog, Roshi, died, we collected stones of his beautiful warm brown color to make an alter for him. White stones from a Whidbey Island beach were added to our garden to honor a friend's wedding. Agates, whenever seen, are collected to add to a jar to adorn my desk. Special touch stones are picked up to ride with us in our pockets for good luck. We stack stones everywhere. When asked if I have a collection I say, "No. I don't collect things." But really, when I think about it, I have quite the rock collection. Little thin rocks from the ocean; pretty colored ones from the mountains; beautiful mossy ones from the forests; glassy clear ones from the beach; heart shaped ones wherever we find them; large landscape rocks; stepping stones; and large, small, and in between sized stones for our stream and ponds. It's not a collection, right? It's a garden!
We love rocks, stones, pebbles, boulders -- all gems to us. All express love in this family.
The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works, is the family.