i have been neglecting this site in favor or a smaller indie site... i feel bad now...

I have a rock.

Not just any rock mind you; my rock.

I literally stumbled upon my rock sometime ago. I was wandering, ankle-deep, through a stream in Glacier National Park, Montana. It was August, perhaps two years ago, and the chilly mountain water felt pleasant between my toes.

I remember the moment well, an almost foolish joy filled me when, after tripping over this rock, I glanced to my feet. I had almost fallen over my rock (of course it wasn't my rock then, but I'm getting there) and so I plucked it up out of the stream bed and grinned. Something inside me declared it mine with childish glee, for you see, it wasn't just any rock, this rock had a heart.

From most angles my rock is rather dull. It is a beigish-tan- you know, the color of antique parchment- edged in charcoal lines with something like the sheen of graphite. But flip my rock over and there it is, plain as day: a heart.

The heart fits my thumb perfectly and I worry it sometimes when thinking through difficult times. And of course my rock has been with me through some difficult times: surgery, AP exams, championships… and the heart has just been getting more distinct.

My rock reminds me of the places I've traveled, the beauty I've seen. My family has been all over the United States, (my twin and I boast that we've each visited 38 states) and gathering rocks and shells has always been a family habit. I still have a rock I found in the Ho Rainforest in Washington when I was seven. It is a matte black but when washed in cool clear water, deep red speckles appear and remain until the surface dries again.

I have always loved traveling to new places, meeting new people, learning and seeing new things. I am no sort of geologist but the rocks around the house (never more than three or four in a pile of course) bring back memories of camping in the Rockies or driving through the San Joaquin. I even have rocks from the colleges I've visited and have tried deciding which college I want to attend based upon the rocks I've collected from each campus (sadly the process was inconclusive). Rocks somehow make memories seems more real, the textures and colors of them seem more vivid and the urge deep within me to travel seems to become all the more important.