Des Moines County Rocks — Hamburger Helper Glove rock by Dawn Bowman
If you like to smile, keep reading:
Lunchtime on Friday I was looking forward to food while walking along the sidewalk in front of Big Muddy’s on the Burlington riverfront. On my way in, I happened to look over at the landscaping and there it was – a beautiful painted rock. I knew instantly that the rock was special and not simply part of the landscaping. It turns out I was right. I picked up the rock, and on the backside, ‘DMCR’ was inscribed. Someone then educated me that my find was from a local group of folks involved in creating beautiful and uplifting-messaged Des Moines County Rocks. I would have been honored to own the rock, though it quickly found a new owner in a very excited 4-year-old.
After learning more, that evening, I pondered Des Moines County Rocks for a while. It made me feel very hopeful in a way I hadn’t felt in quite a while to know that there are people involved with devising such a unique and incredible link to the human condition here locally. These are real people that took their own time, their own talent, and their own resources like finding rocks, waiting several weeks for special paint pens to arrive from Japan, and then driving to various public and some commercial locations all throughout our local area to hide precious creations made with love for you to find.
Each rock is a one-of-a-kind. Some people choose to paint, hide, and find rocks. Others only find rocks. Some keep rocks, but many folks that find the rocks re-hide them in other locations for other people to be delighted to happen upon.
Friday night, I wondered if I could find any more rocks if I were to look on Saturday. Following a live broadcast I did for Iowa Wesleyan’s homecoming event in Mount Pleasant, I returned to Burlington and went for a stroll downtown. I was surprised to find some rocks! I noticed that they were hidden in public areas with thought given to not hiding them where it may be dangerous to retrieve them or a lawn mower could hit them.
Where can I find more information and people already involved to talk to?
Some of the artists are anonymous, but many you can find on Facebook. ‘Des Moines County Rocks’ began on July 18th — just over 3 months ago, and it already has amassed literally thousands of members and fans. This group has inspired love, hope, and generosity in people of all ages — including entire families. They don’t do it for money. They do it because they care and because they enjoy it. I tip my hat to them, and I thank them on behalf of so many in the community that I know really appreciate it, as well as personally.
If you do find any rocks, I’m sure they’d love to hear about your experience.
Be advised that you’re going to see particular rocks on their page that you’ll want to find. It’s a sort of lotto as to whether you’ll run across any specific rock. I mean, they could be anywhere. I know there’s a rock featuring the iconic Hamburger Helper Glove I’d really like to find.
What about winter?
Now that colder weather is arriving – will the rock hunting continue? I would guess that the group most interested in this would not let cold air stop them. These are creative individuals. They’ll probably hide increasingly more near commercial businesses that have given consent.
Do we know who started the rock-painting and hiding?
Megan Murphy of Cape Cod, Massachusetts is often credited with the beginning of the “Kindness Rocks Project” in February of 2015. This project, through one variation or another, is now in 7 countries. Megan explains her experience below. This doesn’t mean other folks didn’t have similar ideas earlier or perhaps thought of it later, unaware of Megan.