How Many Rocks Can My Pockets Hold?~

Written on December 7th, 2009~

 Earlier this morning when I took my dog out for a walk, the air was a mist of grey fog. The sun was a haze in the early morning sky. When I first glanced up, I thought the Sun was the Moon, defused in the grey mist and entangle in the dense cloud cover. My breath and the fog were inseparable.  

It had snowed during the night. Everything was covered in white. Each branch was coated, in a perfect holiday photo shoot. The ground was frozen so even the driveway was paved white.

I stayed near the house, and planned on walking out back later in the day.

It was nearly four o’clock in the afternoon by the time I decided to take a walk. The snow was no longer coating the trees. Only lines of snow zigzagged across the lawn   

Uriah took off in the trees, angrily barking.  He reappeared in front of me, only to follow the tracks of a grey squirrel. Whose residence is in the trees at the beginning of the path.

 The air was cold yet tolerable. I had forgotten my gloves back by the house and my fingers weren’t freezing, so I was happy. I started walking to the right, where the ground moves upward on a slight incline. Directly in the center of the path a small, three inch evergreen had taken root. I never saw it before.  I made a mental note to remember and check on it in spring.  If it really was growing on the path I’ll need to transplant it.

 I continued on my way. When I reached the far back and started to circle home, I stopped to admire the old farm house and its red barn, equally sized white Silos and smaller buildings all built up together like a castle, the surrounding grass and turned over fields, patterned shades of brown, yellow, green, and beige.  The sections were the last rain fell washed the dirt to a dark black.  White snow striped the empty corn fields.

I could see for miles…  

Faded green grass still stood out in the farmer’s air field. Along the air field, past forty acres of plowed fields, I watched Black Angus cows. They moved slowly into a fenced in field. 

Off to the northeast, I could see helicopter hovering in the direction of the express way.

Uriah started to bark, as  I walked  back, I kept calling  his name, and he kept answering by barking- not by appearing.

I reached the part of the path, that was directly across from where I saw the little evergreen, at the beginning of my walk.  I stopped and poked the dirt with my ski pole, it gave way. I called to Uriah each call I stabbed the pole at the dirt, I hit a rock!

Curiosity got the better of me.  I stood there digging out this little rock, which lay just under the dirt and field grass. It was a slight tipsy square flat rock, to my eye it was nearly perfect. With the thought of crafting something, maybe checkers.  I slipped it into my pocket as Uriah barked again.

At that point I looked down, and found another little evergreen growing on the path.

The grass all around me had given up trying to reach for the sky and laid level with the ground, sleeping until spring.   I walked back a few feet searching for more of the little saplings. I found six more going in the center of the path.

Uriah’s barking became more agitated; I started walking back towards home. Every few feet I called him and he answered back, I felt like I was playing ‘Marco Polo’ with him.

Picture from:

26 thoughts on “How Many Rocks Can My Pockets Hold?~”

  1. That is a wonderful time to take pictures – though I usually don’t have my camera.

    Last year, I remember going back home specifically to get it so I could take pictures. Took some awesome shots in the mist. As well as delicately iced plants.

    Are the saplings a problem? I planted a few oak saplings on my parents property and 20 years later they are taller, but not significantly, the larger trees around stunt their growth – they’ve gone from maybe 12 inches to 72 inches. Amazes me that they can grow so slowly. Mind you, the little pins planted around the perimeter of the property are now wonderful large evergreens.

  2. Richard,
    I need to get myself a camera that can download pictures onto my computer. Did you post any of those pictures on your site?

    The saplings aren’t a problem- the problem is where they are growing. I will end up cutting them down in the spring when I pull out the tractor. Trees are expensive, so if I can transplant them-great.

    Oak trees grow very slowly; it can take ten years for them to even look like they grew a foot. Most of their growth is beneath the surface, a very long tap root. I planted an Oak 14yrs ago, it finally reached 10-12 feet this year.

      1. Richard,
        Wow! I love the pictures. I can see the crystals on the plants and that road; I would hate to drive on that. But so beautiful! You have so many other wonderful photographs. Peru-Spain and the flowers!
        Thank you for telling me where they were.

  3. Hello gbaugh and richard, I’m dusty, but I’m soon to be changing it to alternating&direct current.

    Wanted read this post and wanted to say, though it’s kind of off topic, in addition to the content of your post gbaugh I liked the title. It seems that the answer (even if it’s a rhetorical question) depends on how big the rocks are. Kind of like that question “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie-pop lolipop?”

  4. I am coming for a visit! I just want to sit and listen to you talk. Your words are so beautiful. I know I’ve said this many times, but it’s SO true!

    I hope the saplings aren’t in the way and are able to grow big and beautiful.

  5. Ah u have snow, lol all we get is rain rain and more rain, I swear if rain was gold this country would be the richest in the world,anyway lol back to you and this post loved todays wander through the countryside, excellent imagery, was laughing at the fact the more u shout at your dog the more he ignores u lol sounds familiar, hope u get the wee evergreen transplanted successfully, its amazing when u want some thing to grow it doesnt and yet stuff grow wild in the weirdest of places…

    take care,,,

    1. William,
      I need the change in weather, the snow is nice for a while, just like the rain. My dog can be such a bone head sometimes. I have walked into trouble trying to get him to listen. The trees had a lot of rain and cold weather the spring of 2009 , I wonder if that is why they took root..

  6. Gerardine,

    You make me want to live in the country again! It can be so wonderful, and the night time sky is a treat. Old farms like yours (if that was yours you were describing, I assumed so.) are a disappearing part of the American landscape, and a joy to behold.

    You have a spiritual connection to nature, which I’m sure you know. We all do, if we let it be there. Tell me a little more about the rock(s) when you have a chance. Granite? Quartz? Limestone? Mixture? I love rocks, and one of my favorite activities as a child (and an adult) was/is collecting them.



    1. Julie, I’m not quite sure what this rock is, it’s still in my pocket. I think it may be sandstone, but it seems harder than that. I was driving past a farmer’s field and saw a roundish rock. I was thinking trying to fetch it. If I do I will write about it. Can you get in trouble for taking rocks out of farm fields??? LOL

      1. Ha Ha! If you know the farmer, I suppose not. Or, if you just do it out of sight, I’m sure the farmer won’t mind, because rocks are not exactly a friend when farming the fields! Beware, though, lots of times they are much bigger than when you first observe them!

        Good luck!

  7. Julie seems very knowledgeable about rocks, I could not identify any if I see them, but gbaugh certainly has the nature of portraying the experience in words for readers to feel and visualize everything closely. It is cold, but evergreen reminds us life that will run its course and spring is in the air with green hidden under the dirt…

    reading this article reminds me of moderation, you hold your breath and let the air run through your body and soul, then you are refreshed…

    1. Jingle-“you hold your breath and let the air run through your body and soul, then you are refreshed…” — Nice words!

      I don’t know that much about rocks, but I have always loved them, and I have a very inquisitive nature, so I guess you could say I’ve studied them a little. They feel very purifying to me.

      1. Julie,
        Because of your love of rocks I started pulling out books on geology. I can see why they interest you. I can’t wait until spring when I can go hunting out some pretty ones and try to figure out what their names are.

      2. Gerardine, I will have to look at some geology books too. The internet give me immediate satisfaction in this area, too!

        I’m glad you were inspired to study rocks. I had forgotten my childhood interest in rocks until one day, in the last couple of years my Dad said, “you always did love rocks.” Then all these memories came back of collecting them.

        Hope you have a nice week. Do you live in New England? Just curious, based on your discussions of your walks in nature.

      3. Julie, the presence of you always lift up my spirit…regardless where you are and what we are talking about.

        Yes, you know better about rocks than I do, which separates you from rest of us, which is called “uniqueness” in you 🙂

        Passion leads us to attentions, then we get to it via studying it…

        keep shining on us

        check your spam box for a surprise!

  8. Such beautiful imagery! It is freezing cold here in the Pacifici Northwest right now, but no snow. I’m glad to not be driving in it, but I miss the glistening white.

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