The other day, something out of place caught my eye as I walked past one of the back windows at my house. I stopped in my tracks, craned to look outside and see what alerted me.
Yep. Someone was wandering around in the tall sage and blue grama grass on the slope just below my house. Not just any someone, mind you.
It was my neighbor, Kevin.
I immediately exited my door and marched down there to see what he was up to. Even before I reached him, I could see that he was drifting about plucking rocks from the ground and dropping them into a fabric bag.
Kevin has been collecting rocks to use as rip-rap on the lakeshore for several months.
“Are you on your own property or mine?” I called out.
He never looked up. “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
I laughed. “Good! That makes two of us.”
When I finally reached him, he extended his hand to show me two “pretty” rocks he had found. One of them looked like a finger.
“Cool,” I said.
Both of us have piles of rocks in our houses that we have collected from the immediate surround.
I soon joined in alongside Kevin, scouring the hillside for attractive rocks. After a while I called out to Kevin again. “Hey, Kev, you ever notice how nothing grows in these places where sagebrush was growing and then died out?”
He answered: “Probably, like juniper—poisons the ground around itself to eliminate competition.”
“Thanks for the quick answer, but you’re probably wrong.”
Laughing, both of us went back to looking for rocks. This is what we do.