I think a kindness rock is a lovely creation, especially at this time. It’s a small rock or pebble that is brightly painted and bears an inspirational message. It’s left where people are likely to see it and can be cheered by its presence. Creating kindness rocks seems to be an especially attractive project for children. A few of the creations appeared in my neighbourhood not long ago, and now a new and much larger group has appeared in roughly the same area. They cheer me up every time I see them. They are especially encouraging in the time of COVID-19. The timing of their appearance seems to be due to the pandemic’s existence.
The rocks have been placed by what my city calls an urban trail. The section of the trail near my home is located in a suburban area, not an urban, however. It’s paved and located near homes and other buildings, but it’s bordered on both sides by a wide strip of cultivated/natural land. Trees and grass were planted by the trail, but other plants have rooted naturally, including the buttercups shown in the photo above. Animals such as birds, squirrels, and insects visit the area.
I travel along the trail instead of the sidewalk whenever I can. The kindness rocks have been placed on a bare patch of earth at the base of a tree. I nearly always stop to examine them as I travel along their section of the trail. I will be disappointed if or when they disappear.
The current idea of creating kindness rocks originated with Megan Murphy in 2015, though it’s certainly probable that in Earth’s long history someone else (or more likely multiple people) also had the idea. According to the Boston Globe, Megan was walking along a beach in the United States while thinking about a problem. She found a heart-shaped rock and was cheered and inspired by the discovery.
Megan decided to follow the idea of “Pay it Forward”. This is a lovely idea in which someone who has been helped in some way helps someone else in turn. A chain of kindness may be created. According to the newspaper, Megan found a small rock and a marker, wrote “You Got This” on the rock, and left it somewhere nearby for another person to find. A friend found the rock, realized that Megan had created it, and thanked her. The chain was started.
Megan continued to create kindness rocks and also wrote on driftwood. Her creations inspired others to become involved in the tradition. She created a website (thekindnessrocksproject.com) and social media accounts to support the project.
People appear to be respecting the kindness rocks near my home and are leaving them in place, as a note on one of the rocks requests. The rocks are maintaining their bright colours and messages in different weather conditions. Some have a glossy coat and appear to be covered with a clear sealant while others have a matte appearance.
The original idea behind the rocks doesn’t require them to be left in place. As the home page of the kindness project website says, people are encouraged to take a rock if they need it and then to replace the one that they took with one that they created.
Some of the local rocks are humorous and seem to be designed to provoke a smile rather than inspire. They include the “Don’t worry, Pea Happy” rock with a picture of a pea, the “I Love Fry-Day” one with a picture of French fries, the “Aloe There” one with a picture of a potted aloe plant, and the one showing a smiling cloud dropping sprinkles on a cup cake.
Other rocks are encouraging as well as cheerful, such as the one with “You Rock” and a heart sign, the “You Matter” rock, the “Live, Laugh, Love” one, and the ones with single words such as “Joy” and “Dream”.
Some of the rocks have just a background design plus (presumably) the name of the creator. These too are an important part of the group’s effort. The rocks appeared before the partial return of students to schools, which only recently began where I live, so their creation was likely a home-based project. Multiple families seemed to have been involved. The project is a great example of community art.
I assume that neighbourhood children and their parents created the rocks. Perhaps some of them live in the homes whose back gardens border the trail. They have created an enjoyable sight for passers by, including both the children and the adults that I’ve seen examining the rocks. Enjoyable moments are important as we deal with the pandemic. Encouragement by kindness rocks is an excellent addition to a daily, socially distanced walk.
I’ve seen lots of online instructions for making the rocks as well as instructional YouTube videos, which someone could look at if they want to make a kindness rock. Creating one is an excellent project for children as well as adults. While practical items are important for helping people in difficult times and are essential in some cases, sometimes sights and experiences that make people feel better can be valuable. I am grateful to the unknown creators of the kindness rocks on my local urban trail. They make me feel better during the current situation.
The background of the Kindness Rock Project from the Boston Globe