You see rocks practically everywhere you go: the beach, a playground, Mount Rushmore. But, have you ever seen a rock painted like a pickle or a sunset?
The Facebook group, MasonRocks!, has more than 1,700 followers who share the adventures and discoveries of painted rocks all around Mason or some that have traveled across state lines.
Former teacher Andrea Cecil started the group seven years ago after she found a ladybug rock while traveling in Northern Michigan and the corresponding Facebook group to go with it.
“I started it in Mason while I was still teaching. So, I put a bunch out and I had students at the school I was working at paint them. We would put them out and about, and it just became bigger and bigger and bigger,” said Cecil.
The group reached people throughout the community. One is salon owner Lorri McCalla. She used the group to connect with her grandson and teach him the importance of being kind to others.
“I was trying to teach him the value of making people smile. So, I would paint rocks and he and I would go out to hide them. Every time someone would find one or we gave one away, he would say, ‘we made them happy,’” McCalla said.
While some may paint a rock or two, McCalla has painted more than 300 rocks over the past five years. She makes rocks for fun, her clients at the hair salon and even special orders for gardens, weddings and new homes.
The joys of rock painting are year round, especially for Aaron Root and his family. Root says there’s not a long period of time where they don’t set aside time to go rock finding.
“There’s family bonding time that comes with it [rock painting],” said Root. “It’s an activity each member of our family can participate in and it’s exciting and relaxing at the same time.”
The smaller groups of painting and finding rocks stems from the organization, The Kindness Rocks Project. Their mission is to simply “cultivate connections within communities and lift others up through simple acts of kindness.”
Even though the Facebook group may be one of many similar groups, seeing the reactions of people is what makes the most impact. Cecil said having the kids get involved has been the best thing to see.
“It brings them such joy that they’re doing something to make other people smile,” Cecil said. “Just to gain that feeling of joy and happiness and kindness and knowing that when they put something into it, somebody will find it. It’s about making other people feel good.”