Here & there: The ringing rocks

In the spring of 1910, the “M” was constructed on 6310-foot Big Butte in Butte, Montana. This undated image shows the city of Butte, Montana situated below the Big "M." | Photo by lisad1724, iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

FEATURE — Pull. Pivot. Plant. That’s what the yoga teacher streaming on my laptop kept prompting me to do. Reverse Warrior – then pull, pivot, plant – into plank position. 

Photo illustration of a fitness coach teaching yoga online to group of people. | Photo by jacoblund, iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

“Yeah, yoga lady,” I found myself thinking a little hostility. “You don’t need to prompt that. I got the whole pull, pivot, plant down pat these last months.” 

Between remote “learning,” remote working, quarantining, mask-wearing, future hedging and everything else that’s come with COVID-19, I’m an expert in pull, pivot, plant. We all are. 

But back in June at the end of school, my people were all fried and tired of each other. Me included. We struggled with remote learning on all fronts. Intellectually. Emotionally. Philosophically. 

My over-achieving fourth-grader felt bored even doing two times the work he was assigned, and he missed being used as a resource in the classroom. 

My independent-minded seventh-grader rejected the underlying premise of the whole endeavor, remarking heatedly one morning after one of his many 10-step assignment submissions, “I didn’t agree to any of this! No one asked me anything about this!” 

And then there was my perpetually in motion high school junior. Used to training three hours a day, sleeping maybe six hours a night and juggling a demanding school schedule in between, he simply shut down for the first six weeks. It was like once he started slowing down, he simply couldn’t stop. And then he didn’t know how to get started again until it was almost too late. 

So, come June, we needed to pull, pivot and plant somewhere else. Big time. 

Photo illustration. | Photo by Image Source, iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

My husband’s original plan for our family to the take a once-in-lifetime trip to the Holy Land over the summer had already been scrapped because of well, you know, basically the entire world being shut-down because of the pandemic. 

Normally, that would have meant that we could escape to our family cabin in the Uintahs as a plan B. But since that burned down in the middle of the pandemic, that wasn’t an option either. 

Neither was visiting my parents in California – they were still isolating. Or traveling somewhere else in the US – it still felt a little risky. Or traveling by car – that was a little too much proximal closeness after three months in quarantine together. Plus, our dog gets car sick when we’re all crammed together. 

That’s when it hit me: what about an RV?

The plan was to drive up to Glacier National Park. It was scheduled to open June 1 and beckoned us with adventure and space. I mean, what’s safer than 1,500 square miles of national park from the comfort of a built-in home? 

We never found out. 

Glacier wouldn’t open until weeks later because of a spike in COVID-19 in the adjacent Blackfeet Nation. 

Traveling down dirt roads in Paradise Valley, Montana on an unspecified date. | Photo by Louis Gaudet iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

So, instead we rumbled around Montana, from the Wyoming border to twenty miles shy of Canada, finding bits of BLM and National Forest land along the way where we could boondock, collect wood and play charades by firelight. 

We snaked down a half-paved road in the rain, only admitting later to each other we feared a downed tree at every bend, because the small sign from that lonely ghost town said we could. 

We chugged up a mountain pass and stopped in the gravel of a pullout when we saw a wild mountain still blanketed with snow begging to be climbed. 

We hoisted ourselves – and our dog – up to the bluff of the Buffalo Jump, marveling at the great artistry and sheer will it took for native peoples to drive a heard off the cliff each hunting season.

We laughed and talked and adventured our way back from being tired of each other to enjoying each other again.

File photo of natural gray gypsum stone. | Photo by
Maksim Safaniuk, iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

And then we found the most amazing surprise at the far end of an unassuming dirt road outside Butte: rocks that ring like bells when you hit them. With metal sticks. With hammers. They ring like a symphony of glorious church bells.

It’s almost a religious experience. 

But the trick with these rocks is that they only ring in that place, in that space. Next to the other rocks. If one is removed, it no longer rings. People have tried. And every rock becomes silent

Miles later we were still talking about the mystery of the ringing rocks. Could it be something about that seismic location? Could it have something to do with the tube caves my boys found below? 

Then, my husband simply suggested: maybe it has nothing to do with any of that – maybe it’s about the power of a home. 

And you know what, I think he’s right. Even when you have to take your home on the road to find the ringing again. Pull. Pivot. Plant.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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