GREEN COVE SPRINGS – You might have seen them, the brightly colored rocks scattered throughout the county’s parks and public spaces, painted with faces and shapes and flowers, greeting you when …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – You might have seen them, the brightly colored rocks scattered throughout the county’s parks and public spaces, painted with faces and shapes and flowers, greeting you when you sit down on a park bench or tucked into the features of local playgrounds. If you find one, it’s yours to keep, but the idea is to leave one of your own in its place for someone else to find.
The rocks, which began as the Kindness Rocks Project, have swept across the United States with children and adults painting dozens of small stones and hiding them Easter egg-style around their communities in hopes of brightening the day of a passerby. They were originally intended to carry positive and inspirational written messages, but some choose to paint their favorite cartoon character or flowers on the rocks. No matter what the decoration may be, the intention is the same.
“Some they collect, some they return to places where they’ve found rocks,” said Jennifer Parker Green Cove Springs Library branch manager. “The goal is the spread art and a little joy in the world.”
Usually those interested in the activity will form Facebook groups to bring rock painters together, like the group Orange Park Rocks or Green Cove Springs Rocks. In September, Parker decided to start a monthly program at the library to allow patrons the chance at painting a few rocks each month for free to help support the effort in Green Cove. So far, the community has been very receptive.
“It’s just gotten bigger and bigger,” Parker said. “It’s a nice activity for the family. It gives them an opportunity to stop and have time with their family without having to be somewhere and buy something, especially this time of year.”
Parker recently hosted the December installment the week before Christmas with the hopes that the meditative rock painting activity would help bring families together and away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
The event, held Dec. 20 from 6-7:30 p.m., saw dozens of people filtering in to choose their two rocks and paint colors. Several members of the library’s teen group participated, in addition to families and a few individuals.
“We get all ages, teens, toddlers,” Parker said, “Everything from grandparents down to the little tiny ones.”
Green Cove Springs resident Sarah Smith, 10, was happily painting a snowman rock as the event started at 6. She brought a rock she had found in nearby Spring Park for reference because she loved it so much she wanted two.
“I just find them,” Smith said. “I don’t really look for them, I just find them all over the park.”
Smith hopes to place some of her own rocks in the park as well that can be found by others who, she hopes, will also pay it forward and get involved in Kindness Rocks.
Sitting adjacent to Smith was a library regular, and another Green Cove resident, Monica Hocken.
“I saw this on the monthly list of events and thought it was a neat idea,” Hocken said.
She had never heard about Kindness Rocks, but decided it would be a fun activity to provide her with some little decorations for her houseplants. She painted a festive poinsettia on her rocks for the holiday season. After last Wednesday’s event Hocken said she would certainly be returning in January.
Parker hopes to continue the events into the future, and will host an event sometime in January, so watch the library’s community board and website for the date to be posted. If you are in another part of the county check local Facebook groups, or start your own to get Kindness Rocks into your community.