Philosophy of rock picking

By aaron.axvig, 3 October, 2022

Today on my morning break from work walk I observed some little painted rocks on the side of the path.  The one nearest me had something about doing good deeds written on it.  I saw a few on the other side of the path just too far away to read, and decided I would save it to read on the way back instead of breaking my pace.

So on I went to the midpoint of my walk and turned around.  A minute later I saw a red pickup truck with city parks department logos on it driving along the path just ahead of me.  The truck stopped, both people got out, and each picked something up on their respective sides of the path.  A few yards on the passenger got out and picked up another.  And then he just walked next to the truck and picked up a few more pieces of "litter".

So I did not get to read that rock on the other side of the path.

This gave me plenty to think about for the rest of my walk.

First, isn't it kind of mean-spirited to pick up these little rays of hope?  I swear I saw a sneer on the guys face as he returned to his seat!  But I was a ways away.  Maybe he was just smiling for some other reason.  Perhaps he enjoyed the message on the rock.  Technically he is just doing his job.  And he has some good eyes to see a little rock from inside a pickup!

Should his job duties include picking up these rocks?  5 rocks on the side of a trail seem unlikely to cause problems.  What about 50 rocks?  How about 1 rock on a hump and a deficient safety guard on a mower that sends the rock zinging off?

I think part of the joy one derives from seeing these little messages is their subversiveness.  Someone got away with a small act of defiance in placing it, and I saw it before "the man" restored order!