I went to a farmers market in a small town in North Carolina recently. It was a nice little market, but one particular stall caught my eye. It was an older gentleman selling rocks.
He had a handout on suiseki, which is the appreciation of small, naturally occurring rocks. According to wikipedia, “these stones are not just any stones which can be found in nature; they must be expressive stones and have a special shape, color and texture to be categorized as suiseki.”
He had a variety of small- to medium-sized stones, each of which sat in its own hand-carved, flat, wooden base. To me, the base held the key to the whimsy. He had to carve the wood to fit each rock exactly.
I loved everything about it. I loved the appreciation of nature, of beautiful stones, and the fact that someone spent hours lovingly creating this art out of nature. That every base was carefully crafted to honor small, humble, elemental pieces of our earth. Why not honor stones? What is more beautiful and deserving of worship than nature?
Before I get carried away and write a poem or something, here’s a little story.
When I was a very young girl–like 7?–I had a rock collection. I somehow collected a lot of cool stones, like geodes, amethyst, petrified wood, petoskey stones, iron pyrite, quartzes, opals, granites, and more. I don’t even know how I came to have these stones….I was so young, I don’t remember where they came from. My parents gave me most of them, probably. I loved them and would regularly wash them–admiring how the water made their colors brighter–and put them back into their storage area (styrofoam egg crates). I learned the names and facts about lots of stones.
It’s so funny how a strange little hobby as a very young child now seems, to me, as an indication of high sensitivity. I would hold, touch, and stare and those stones for hours, lost in thought, wonder, and appreciation.
When I got older, I was embarrassed when my parents would mention my old stone collecting hobby. Now, of course, I think it was neat. I wish I still had them.
So, it isn’t surprising that I liked this old man selling stones at the market. As soon as I spoke to him, I knew I’d found a kindred spirit. Any person who could devote a large part of their life collecting, sanding, and preparing rocks and hand-carved wooden stands must be an introvert, and likely an HSP. He had a story for every single stone. “I found this one while I was a ship captain in Alaska 10 years ago.” “Someone gave me this stone in New Mexico and all the colors came out when I sanded it.”
In him I saw someone who had a satisfying, artistic hobby that he loved, and I was a bit jealous.
I definitely didn’t need a stone with a wooden base, but lately I’ve allowed myself to buy some things that make me happy, even if they seem silly. I bought the little stone pictured above–it’s petrified wood. I love it and it reminds me of that old man and his lovely hobby. Sometimes I just pick it up, enjoy the smoothness, and set it back down in its base, with a little smile.
Oh my word! This is too coincidental! I was drawn to a palm-sized, polished piece of lava rock that I found in Hawai`i last month…it’s like it was made for holding and then rubbing your thumb in a thumb-sized dimple on its smooth surface. Now all I need is a wooden base for it!
It sounds lovely!! glad I’m not the only one who likes rocks 🙂
Sounds like what is sometimes called a “worry stone” – designed to provide a focal point / way to deal with anxiety.
Sign me up: I’ve always loved rocks (and mountains.) My thing is naturally formed heart shaped rocks: they are everywhere!
I would set and look at these square pieces of granite gravel as a 1st grader to the extent that my teacher would have to force me to go play! It was love at first sight. My science teacher was delighted that I ALWAYS wanted to play with our class rock/mineral collection, so I did every chance I got. I set on etsy for hours looking at all the various stones. I never wanted any of the stones to ‘feel left out’, so I would try to touch them all anytime I was able to play in them. Oh, the memories….
haha, thanks for sharing!! 🙂
This is the loveliest story! From your ‘accidental’ stone collection to the old man selling stones and your connection with him. I LOVE stories like these. I’d have been lost in his stone stories, fascinated.
I’ve noticed how children collect stones. A friend’s son is probably a HSP, he’s definitely not your regular type of kid. He has a huge stone collection – which his dad doesn’t understand.
Hi Colleen! Thanks for the comment, I’m so glad you like this post 🙂
I want one. The wooden stand carved so perfectly for each stone is remarkable. Do you have any details on the gentlemen?
I collect mineral/rock specimens and freak out over how incredible they are. I even have framed art of rocks and crystals that are magnified and you would not believe the patterns and scenes that it creates! The most amazing abstract art ever!
Wow! So similar–my mom reminds me of the loud rock tumbler I had when I was 13. My parents had to shove in the closet to mute the noise. I had no idea it was connected to being an hsp.
I love that you identified the hobby at such a young age and how nice and spiritual it must have been to run into the old man with the stone shop.
I put my suitcase on the scale at the airport and the person at the counter said “Yikes have you got rocks in here.” He informed me it was over 50 lbs so I would have to pay extra. I laughed and forked over the extra fee. Those beautiful rocks were going home with me! LOL
Just learned I’m an HSP and I also remember my rock collection. Each rock had a different feel. Some were heavy, sharp, smooth, rough. I love textures! Even textures of food. Thank you for all the information on your website and your podcasts!
I’m glad you like them! thank you for your comment!! 🙂
In Japan there is a museum that displays Suseki on wooden bases, a common practice there. The bases get very ornate. Suseki is the appreciation of rocks. By the way, rocks are way, way, way MORE INCREDABLE THAN YOU KNOW. A 2012 discovery of a Heartrock in Las Cruces NM, USA proves that every image in a rock is not there by chance. All rocks are teaching puzzles, the solution for which must fall within the parameters of Infinite Heart! Some are incredibly astute! Think INFINITE HEART! RICK
I love this! I wish I had known about suiseki when I was in Japan!
Hey I just wrote a letter to the pope about how I discovered the Eye of Hope Heartrock in Las Cruces back in 2012. I’ve been researching them ever since. This heartrock has an eye that looks hopeful and when the heart is turned upside-down a tear is seen in the eye.
Hey Rick. How did you find that? Do you have a site where you post your studies and researches ? Im fascinated.
Hi Christine, Hope you love this response as much as I will love telling you. A noisy neighbor compelled us to leave town in 2012 in an attempt to find a missing landlord whom we would later learn had died. While exiled in Las Cruces, our rental had a pho-pond lined with rocks. We make Opus Sectile of polished stone, but these were available and I soon saw that some looked like objects. One was nearly Heart-shaped–a natural look-alike object, but strangely it was an ancient tool called a hand ax likely from one of many native sites in the Rio Grande valley. So kept looking for better a natural one.
One day by the library the city was up-grading the their park with a pho-rock-stream on the grassy hillside. Midway up was a large pink Heartrock. When I saw crosses, being in Las Cruces (Spanish for The Crosses) I thought WOW! So I took pictures of which one was a close-up of the center cross. There were many shapes suggesting eyes, but the prominent one looked so filled with optimism I thought it quite miraculous. So I named it the Eye of Hope.
That afternoon while thumbing through the prints, I was shocked to find the close-up had morphed into a depressed crying eye with one prominent tear, and I panicked knowing that something like this doesn’t ever happen! I over turned furniture thinking I might have lost it. THEN–OMG–I saw I was holding the photo up-side down.
That was proof that a Heartrock was special so I just keep looking for more. Each stone became special and I began categorizing the ones in the pond and learned Suiseki ancients had found over 125 categories of look-alikes.
Now I collect images on Pinterest under Heartrock Science and Space and find images of faces formed naturally in rock. You can look for my collections and the Eye of Hope there too under Rick Hensel
Ahhhhhh. This story felt like cool water, or warm tree-filtered light, gently washing over me. The humble majesty of nature, the power of connectedness, sincerity, and story, all interwoven into something as simple and undeniably magical as sweet little rocks with hand-carved bases hawked at a farmer’s market by a nice old man who clearly loves them.
HSP heaven, right there. Thanks so much for sharing this. <3
thank you for the kind comment 🙂
Yup, I have a small rock collection of my own. This HSP thing is funny.
For this HSP, I love the idea that each stone I’ve collected is literally millions of years old. I think about all the energy wrapped up in these small, layered packages; and holding that energy calms me and reminds me that I am part of the million year process, part of nature. Rocks have a life cycle too, albeit a long one, so holding my treasures also remind me that things come in seasons and cycles, just like life challenges. Thanks for this and…Rock on!
thanks for the comment! :))
I just returned from a trip to New Zealand. I picked up rocks on every hike and worried how I would get them home. Usually I pick up 10 or so when I go to a new country, but this time I just kept collecting them. The other people on this trip thought I was weird for picking up stones and talking about bringing them home. I display them in my cabinets and on shelves. I love looking at them sparkle or change colors. This has been a hobby for me since I was a kid. I still remember a piece of blue glass that I found when I was young. I’m sure my mother threw it away, but I still think about it.
Oksooo, this HSP idea is brand new to me. Like 30 minutes. I jumped online and started searching why I cant stand to do things with people watching, or even around me. Like I uncontrollably cant handle it, and turn to like zero efficiency, which im pretty tired of…I came across an article by Kelly on HSP at work, and ended up on this site. Then saw a picture of a rock, lol which got me all excited. I just read through this article and I feel like my mind is kinda blown right now. I used to go hiking all the time. I would take a backpack for water and food. Lots of times I would make it in just a short distance before I got caught on a rock, then another and another. For hours, I would completely lose all sense of everything, wondering off the path and filling my backpack with treasure I found. Each one with its own unique personality/characteristics. Or, I would go out into the dry washes for hours just looking for rocks, and when I was young at school, SAND RUBIES in the playground sand. Which are not worth anything, btw, but I love them. Now if i go hiking, I have to know if im going for the hike or rocks. Because I will not let myself look at the ground for more than a second. And if I do find a rock, I have a voice that tells me to STOP, and go. lol. Ive trained myself. Ive also had rock gardens, and about to start another one.
I do not have friends like me, btw, so i was always different (especially with my family). Reading this post and these comments, I feel justified now lol!! So thank you!
When I was about your same age, I remember sitting at the bottom of our driveway, kiddie-corner from my friend’s, and we’d hunt for cool rocks together. I was always collecting rocks, and my grandma said I ended up turning her onto it lol. I think I got that from my mom. Along with apparently being an HSP trait. When I went to the “Emotions” page, I was expecting more “deep thought”, anxiety and other types of articles, but this popped up right away!! I think this has unofficially officially cemented this down for me. I know for sure I’m an HSP & HSS. (Now to figure out if I’m an Extroverted Introvert, or just an Extrovert lol)