I have so many writer friends and not enough Fridays so this special guest post from one of my favorite poets, Laura Purdie Salas is running today. I met Laura when her book A Leaf Can Be won a Golden Kite honor and we were lucky enough to share a table at the gala luncheon. She is upbeat, kind and one heck of a good writer. Welcome back, Laura, as we celebrate your newest book!
My latest book, A Rock Can Be…, just came out March 1. But that wasn’t the most exciting part of my month. My husband, Randy, picked up our younger daughter, Maddie. She just finished 6 months in Scotland and India doing missionary training and work, and the three of us spent two fantastic weeks in Scotland and Ireland together. Not much can overshadow a brand new book for me, but reconnecting with Maddie was top priority.
But I wanted to celebrate my book, so I posted daily pictures, pairing rocks with words donated by students and teachers. My crazy rock scavenger hunt led to lots of great and funny moments, like when we met a dog who is “a rock collector, just like you, Mom.” As I looked for rocks to illustrate words like “snazzlicious,” “wishy-washy,” and “nasty,” I was blown away by rocks’ capacity to make me FEEL. Rocks are mostly ancient, but also constantly recycled. They are everywhere, but unique. And they are great receptacles of stories—both ours and our planet’s. Here are a few favorite rocks from our trip and what they made me feel:
Love. The beach at West Kilbride, Scotland, where Maddie jogged often. I wondered if we stepped on some of the very same rocks.
Admiration. Building a castle centuries ago on top of a volcanic rock flow… can’t imagine the skills and planning that took.
Content. St. Giles Cathedral, built in the 1300s, is formal and imposing. But inside, the ancient, rough rocks and the fabulous sermon and welcome from the minister, made us feel included and connected and… home, somehow.
Victorious. After slogging around the muddy Greyfriars Cemetery at dusk, we finally found the grave that inspired J.K. Rowling’s Voldemort. It was like a treasure hunt for us, and graves always make me thrilled to be alive.
Charmed. In Ireland, at Ballyseede Castle, we met Einstein (above), a canine rock collector. He carries them in his mouth and wants you to throw the rocks for him to fetch. If he can’t find them all, he knows how many are missing. Throwing drooly rocks for a dog was a new experience for me:>)
Amazed. All over Ireland were stacked-rock walls with no mortar. Some are decades old. Some are centuries old. They divide pastures with neat perforated lines and usually enclose a whole lot of sheep!
Awe and fear. The Cliffs of Moher. In some spots, people can and do stand right near the edge of these 650-700-foot cliffs without any barrier. Hello…eroding cliffs? Still, one of the most beautiful sights from our trip.
Humbled and human. The Poulnabrone Dolmen is a portal grave that is 6500 years old. 6500. Years. Twenty-three people were buried there. Feeling such a direct connection to long ago people was a powerful thing.
Small. A glacial erratic near Poulnabrone Dolmen. The conveyor belt action of glaciers means they leave occasional huge boulders in their wake, in the same way I might track a bit of sand grit into the house. Amazing.
More info about Laura and her books:
Info and teaching materials here
E-letter for educators here
Laura’s Rock the Blog posts pairing rock pictures and donated words can be found here.
Connect with Laura:
At her website