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Monday, June 7, 2010

Payson Rocks Part II

On the way home from Newport, the counselor turns to me and asks “Do you want to stop in Quartzsite?”

I look out my window at the dirt brown desert whizzing by. Its 110 degrees and I’m anxious to get home to Phoenix.

“What’s in Quartzsite?” I ask more to be polite then because I really care.

“Rocks,” he replies.

Payson, sitting in the back of the car who rarely hears my requests to clean his room or pick up his shoes suddenly has pitch perfect hearing.
“ROCKS!” he shouts. “I want to see rocks.”

“I guess we’re stopping at Quartzsite,” the counselor says.

“Great,” I say as we exit the freeway.

Our car rolls into a dirt parking lot and in front of us is a courtyard filled with piles and piles of rocks.

When it’s hot outside with no shade in sight, this rock yard view I’m staring at is very unappealing; disturbing actually.

Picking up one of these rocks could cause a third degree burn on my children’s hand. In my all-to-common-bad-mom-attititude that has followed me on this trip I let out a breath of frustration and got out of the car. All I want is a cherry Icee from the gas station across the street.

The dusty wind offers no comfort from the intense heat, but my kids don’t care.

They’re in rock heaven whereas I’m in rock purgatory. I wouldn’t be surprised if the devil himself runs this shop. My seven week-old baby cries and my two year-old is crying because a pebble is stuck in his shoe . Next to the rock yard is a busy frontage road with cars whizzing by. All my senses are in full “Mom” alert. This is a perfect place for a child to get lost or stolen or crushed or left behind.

Payson runs from table to table, holding rocks up to the sunlight hoping to find crystals.

He asks about this and that; “What’s this rock called, how much does it cost, are these real diamonds?”

In a matter of minutes for my clay-hard heart turns from cold stone to a lovely warm feeling. Payson is so cute, literally running like a squirrel collecting nuts, carrying rocks over to his Daddy, asking questions and lighting up with excitement.

He likes the green rocks, no the black, he wants a diamond rock?

And I realize this is the ultimate junk store. Of course my kids love this. I should love this.

The clerk walks toward me, a beautiful Peruvian woman with dark hair and darker eyes. In a warm rich accent she offers her assistance.

“Where do all these rocks come from,” Payson asks.

“All over the world,” she says and I realize these aren’t just rocks pull off the desert floor; these are sought after rocks that are made into elaborate jewelry or put on display in expensive hotels.

Many of these rocks have healing powers.

Next to each rock pile is a squirt bottle filled with water. At first Payson thinks it’s to drink. After I explain he could get a disease from drinking dirty water, he realizes if he squirts it on the rocks he can see more vivid color. This is way more exciting then catching a disease.

Reef finds a friend.

I visit with a rock expert while I nurse the baby and each of the boys (including the counselor) pick out something they want. Life happens when you’re making other plans. I was so anxious to get to our destination that I forgot to have fun getting there. Thanks, Payson.

To read Payson Rocks Part I, click here.


  1. How crazy! I have driven past Quartzsite a million times and I think we have stopped once to use the rest room, but I had NO IDEA they sold rocks!


  2. I would be in heaven there! Not for
    the little rocks, but for the BIG
    rocks... lovely family you have
    Nice post!

  3. Such a great post! Your boys will remember the "rock stop." I was reading along and saw the picture of the rose quartz and it reminded me of a project left unfinished for too long. Lovely how you get little reminders like this in life. Thank you.

  4. What a lovely post; kids are always teaching us the most important lessons!

  5. yes - I too sometimes remain in "mom mode" too long and forget about the journey instead of always focusing on the destination. Glad your boys had a good time checking out the rocks.

  6. All I can say is, rock on Laura! (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

  7. I just love your blog. I check it almost everyday. LOL My cousin is Leah Lowe, and she speaks so highly of you! She just told me that you were doing a benefit auction or ???. I would LOVE to help and get some of my extended family involved. Please let me know what I can do. Elisa or 928-240-0630. Thanks!

  8. I love rocks!
    Just saying hi wonderful Mom!
    You are so talented. I love all your trash to treasure tutorials.
    Have a great week :)

  9. I hope ya'll got Payson a few geodes while you were there since he loves breaking rocks open with a hammer. I ordered some online for my family for Christmas and they are the best for discovering shiny things inside. Everyone in my family is a rock hound so that place would be great to us.. (except the heat)

  10. I love this post. What a "stop and smell the roses er I mean rocks" kind of moment!! I've been having a ROUGH time with my oldest graduating from 6th grade!! I can't believe where the time went? Anyhow, I've been so focused on my pain over it all, I was MISSING the moment. Your post today summed it all up perfectly for me! ;)

  11. The kids looks happy. That would be a memorable experience for them.

    Intensive Counseling