Painted rocks are out there waiting to be found
■ Cindy Boeing and Dennis Fletcher / Contributed
Local valley dwellers, who came together as a unique group of rock painters, gathered for the first time at Mary Henley Park on a recent Sunday to celebrate their successes over a barbeque. It had been two years since the group was formed online and they had not met in person.
As one member says, “This is a worldwide act of kindness project! It started back east when one lady from Cape Cod lost both her parents and began painting rocks and hiding them. Now there are rock painting groups all over the world!” The Hemet Rocks Rock Painting group is one of them.
Here’s how it works. Members either gather small smooth stones or buy a bag of them at the hardware store. Then they paint a small scene, or saying, on each rock. The rocks then get an explanation on the back, providing the finder the opportunity to keep the rock or hide it for another person.
The short message on the back of the rock also asks the finder to post their location, and a photo of the rock, on the organization’s Facebook page: Hemet Rocks Rock Painting. In many cases the finder includes a picture of themselves.
The group’s founder, Darla Bailey, says, “I was in a PTA meeting keeping our children busy with rock painting while we were having our meetings. They enjoyed it so much, as did the parents, that I founded Hemet Rocks Rock Painting to introduce the joys of rock painting to others in this unique way of giving.”
Bailey also tells a story about somebody who posted online that they had found a painted rock and they told the story through a post that they had lost their job that day and were at a Bank of America cashing their final paycheck when they found a rock that said ‘You Matter.’ It made all the difference to them … made them feel it wasn’t going to be the end. That gave me more reason to found Hemet Rocks Rock Painters.”
Since then, the Hemet group has steadily expanded to its present size of approximately 830 online members.