It’s not quite like the pet rock craze, it’s a little different, but it’s sweeping the nation and the Florida Keys too. Painted rocks with inspirational messages are being hidden throughout the country as well as Key West, and everyone is catching on. People who happen to come upon them post a picture on Facebook and return the act by either re-hiding or putting more colorful rocks out into the universe. It’s a simple treasure hunt and bizarrely satisfying and uplifting when one is found.
Just ask Kristin Collie, who works at the Department of Motor Vehicles by day and is an avid rock painter/hider at night. While vacationing in North Florida, Collie learned her sister was a part of a rock group in Volusia County. Intrigued and gifted with painting crafts, Collie liked the idea of starting her own “Rocks In the Keys” Facebook Page, now 168 members strong. At the time Collie did know there was a page called Key West Rocks with 1,100 members.
“I love the idea of creating something that brightens someones day. I create them and hide them at parks and outside stores, places I know kids are going because I like the idea of them finding them, “ said Collie “To me it’s not about being recognized, although it is nice. I love the idea that I made someone smile, even if I don’t know about it.”
Who doesn’t want to look down and see a sign, a motivational boost, to make the day a little better? It started with the website Kindness Arts Project as a grassroots movement. Freelance writer and beachcomber Megan Murphy began leaving the rocks on Cape Cod beaches, saying “Many people, including myself, are feeling a sense of overwhelm, unease and restlessness due to the current events taking place in our world today, and I believe that our united strength can be cultivated through simple random acts of kindness.” It’s the simplest of notions: put something nice out into the universe and make someone happy. The site also gives advice how to choose and paint rocks, inspirational stories and an overwhelming map of rocks around the world.
And thousands of people are doing it. From pictures of Disney characters,Collie’s specialty, or sayings like, “Do Amazing Things! Rock it,” these rocks are surprisingly everywhere, just take a second to look around and one just might be there. As Collie says, “It’s a nice feeling that the tourists will have something that they found here to take back with them.” Happy treasure hunting!
Our goal is simple. To promote random acts of kindness to unsuspecting recipients whether by painting and dropping inspirational rocks or some other cool creative way to bring kindness into the world.” – Megan Murphy, Kindness Arts Project Website