The stunning silence of the Super Trail was shattered by the voice of a six-year old urgently begging for help in finding “golden rocks.” Kidspeak is always a delightful challenge to comprehend. I initially thought the boy was seeking bowling balls. My trail mates, Jeff and Cynthia Boettner, were amazingly patient. The boy was in the company of his much quieter brother with no parent in sight. Mom soon turned up, though, packing an infant in a carrier on her chest. She related that her sons had not been terribly enthusiastic about hiking, until they became focused on finding more “golden rocks.” The special stones were actually rocks containing reflective quartz crystals.
”We hafta find more golden rocks. Look through your binoculars” the one boy pleaded with Jeff. Surely he could see the golden rocks better with an optical aid. Jeff found his naked eye more than adequate to uncover a few more pieces of quartz, for which the boy was grateful.
The quest for the quartz didn’t end when we parted ways, the boy needing substantial coaxing to stick with his own family rather than continuing to tag along with us. Jeff continued picking up golden rocks, just in case our collective paths should cross again. He decided to unload his pocketful of pebbles on a bench at the trailhead where they could be easily seen.
We ended our own trek by eating lunch at a picnic area within sight of the trailhead. Sure enough, the boys and their mother eventually came down. The precious golden rocks remained undetected, however, prompting Jeff to lend some assistance. A loud “thank you” rang throughout the picnic area and parking lot, signaling the triumph of treasure found; and the success of a mother raising her son to be polite and grateful. Jeff’s mother did something right, too.
We need purpose and goals throughout our lives, even as young children. My own mother tells me that when I was ten years old I put away my toys and told her I had to make something of my life. That sounds about right, but I can’t recall my motivation. What purpose do you have? What do you seek on the trail of life? Love? Belonging? Maybe simply memories and golden rocks.