In a chaotic and confusing world it’s easy to give up. It’s easy to feel like we’re powerless to make any positive changes and it’s easy to feel like there’s nothing we can do. And while it is true most of us can’t do much about the problems of the world at large there are things we can do on a personal level. There are always little things we can do to make other people’s time a little brighter. Pick up a piece of garbage! When there’s someone behind you in line at a fast food joint, offer to pay for their meal. Go and visit your neighbor that doesn’t get a lot of visitors. We’ve got to do what we can for our fellow human and hope that a series of kind gestures eventually snowball into something bigger.
Maybe we could improve small parts of the world by doing something as simple as finding wild rocks to paint? You’ve probably heard about the Sedalia Rocks group, featuring a group of locals and others who are putting in the work to decorate rocks and hide them around Sedville. Sometimes they have sports logos, Disney characters, or just a happy message but they are finding their way into every nook and cranny of the State Fair City because some people wanted to get out there and do something.
You should probably begin your rock hunting career by looking up “Sedalia Rocks” on Facebook. Now I don’t essentially agree with their push to separate people from their electronic devices because mastering various technologies and apps is going to be essential to thrive in the future, but I can easily agree with their intention to get people out and into their community.
It is definitely the no-tech equivalent of Pokemon GO, and a reasonable solution for those of us who’s data plans or outdated phones don’t allow us to play the app that many can’t stop talking about. I played Pokemon on my Game Boy at least 1.5 decades before it was cool to do it on your phone.
And there’s no doubting the joy on the faces of people, young as old as they pose for pictures with their rock quarries. According to the official rules, once someone locates one of these rocks they can do one of three things: leave it there, take it and hide it somewhere else, or take it and keep it because something about it makes it special to you. On the Facebook page most rock locators are announcing their intentions to re-hide their finds.
Humankind has a proud tradition of painting rocks. From the paintings on the walls of the Lascaux Caves near Dordogne, France that are estimated to be at least 17,000 years old to the at least 80 ton rock on the University of Tennessee campus that is regularly painted with messages of athletic support, disappointment and even harassment.
But I suppose there’s an even more appropriate college rock painting tradition: new University of Missouri freshmen are responsible for painting and arranging the white “Rock M” on the Faurot Field grounds each year. It is also common for student athletes who are done with their time at MU to take one of the white rocks as they leave, to have a small piece of the ZOU to keep with them.
You’ll have to excuse me, college football is almost back in season.
The point is this: it’s great to see a group of people put in a little effort just to see other people smile.
Rocks aren’t hard to find, as long as you’re not stealing someone else’s landscaping rocks and a few small bottles of craft paint are even cheaper than you probably expect at your local multi-national retailer. So don’t be afraid to paint and hide some rocks! It’s common to drop some hints somewhere so they get found relatively quickly but maybe you want to appeal to the most hardcore rock hunters.
Dear Sedalia Rocks: you’re doing great work, keep it up! I hope to see some appropriate rocks at the Missouri State Fair.
Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.