Rediscovering My Passion for Rocks

Rocks give us creative challenges that bring us joy and peace
By Donna Martelli
Donna Martelli
Donna Martelli
Formerly a professional dancer with the Harkness Ballet of New York, has written three books, course manuals, book summaries, blogs, articles, and devotionals. Donna writes out of her own varied life experiences, including those of dancer, instructor, file clerk, business owner, real estate salesperson, wife, and mother. Her goal in writing is to bless and help people reach their full potential in this life. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, is married with five children and twelve grandchildren. She is the author of “When God Says Drop It” and “Why the Dance."
November 2, 2021 Updated: November 2, 2021

Amid school, career, marriage, and kids, we’re prone to forget about how spending time in nature completes us as human beings. So busy with life’s pressures and pleasures, we often forget the simple, natural things that will restore us and bring us real joy and peace.

When furloughed from my job in March 2020, I began to look around and wonder how I could use my creative energy to beautify my surroundings. Outside, I saw much that needed improvement, and I noticed rocks randomly strewn all over the yard. It looked as if someone had left my childhood rock collection discarded in disarray.

If not for the COVID quarantine, I might never have rediscovered the fantastic hobby called “rockhounding,” the practice of searching for and collecting rocks, fossils, or minerals. I had done it in my childhood, as many of us have. I remember my mom was often frustrated with all the rocks I collected and stored in my bedroom closet. I couldn’t remember what happened to them. I imagined they were lost in the shuffle of multiple moves.

Yet I thought perhaps I still had them, or at least some of the most treasured ones. But where could they be? I began my search in the garage. I cleaned it out, but my tidying yielded no rocks. Next there was my basement. Some places down there gave me a creepy feeling, but I was determined. Flashlight in hand, I looked in a dark corner under the stairway filled with junk. I held my breath and started clearing. Way at the back, I found the large plastic bag that held my treasures. There were some fascinating stones there, indeed. There was also an ugly bumpy thing that I later learned was a geode with crystals inside. 

I fell in love with rocks again and began adding anything exciting or odd to my collection. Déjà vu! I heard my mom’s words, but this time they were coming from my husband, “You know, if we move, those rocks stay!” I just looked at him like I had looked at her. 

Being a creative person, I knew I needed to display these fabulous finds artistically yet naturally, so I made a couple of displays around trees. I continued to rockhound and came across other unique rocks that I couldn’t leave alone. Another presentation was in order, and these continued to grow as my rock piles grew. 

‘Set in Stone?’

As I worked with my rocks, I thought I needed to learn more about them. I knew that rocks were great historians; they tell us where they came from, how old they are, and the conditions on Earth that formed them. A rock is a record of the environment in which it originated.

I find it fascinating that rocks were used as memorials in many different times and places in ancient history. Way back then, rocks were sometimes named as witnesses to an agreement or official document. The most enduring ancient records are written in stone. In fact, our key to understanding languages of the ancient world came from the Rosetta Stone, with its decree about a new ruler written in ancient Egyptian and ancient Greek.

There is this phrase, “It’s not set in stone.” We know that means that whatever it is hasn’t been confirmed, settled, agreed upon, or finalized. But, once “set in stone,” we’re bound to it.

Formerly a professional dancer with the Harkness Ballet of New York, has written three books, course manuals, book summaries, blogs, articles, and devotionals. Donna writes out of her own varied life experiences, including those of dancer, instructor, file clerk, business owner, real estate salesperson, wife, and mother. Her goal in writing is to bless and help people reach their full potential in this life. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, is married with five children and twelve grandchildren. She is the author of “When God Says Drop It” and “Why the Dance."