Pebbles Along The Path

Pebble decorated with a flower and Be Kind

Walking on your own is an acquired skill for many of us. I can’t claim to enjoy walking for exercise, though I do it. I’m more motivated by the things I might see. A kestrel is way up on my hoped-for list. Right now, in our damp climate, it’s fun to look for miniature forests of mushrooms that spring up seemingly out of nothing and have vanished without trace next time you pass.

Joy pebble

The habit of looking helps me notice small, human interventions. While I can’t claim to go out hoping to find a painted pebble, each kindly placed treasure helps my spirit rise.

Two hearts painted on a stone

Having seen out millions of years, stones seem willing to bear timeless human messages knowing, perhaps, that time will flake them off.

Many designs give more than a nod to community. During lockdown, rainbows were set out to signal support for the work done in our sorely-tested, barely-holding but beloved National Health Service.

Pebbles painted for poppy day

Stone poppies in token of remembrance were set out by Hoddlesden’s cenotaph. Red Flanders poppies germinated so readily on disturbed soil that they came to be associated with sacrifice and peace.

Peace pebble with blue hearts

Word stones are often part of children’s gardens.

Pebbles painted as ladybirds with smiling faces

A worry doll village appeared in local woods during the pandemic as a place where children could play creatively in the open air and retain some feeling of community. I loved the doll’s house with the ladder or path depending how you look at it.

Pebbles painted as angels

Community shines from pebble angels set out in a Clitheroe churchyard, too.

Man pebble left in a hole in a tree

But it’s the quirky, solitary ones I enjoy finding the most, such as this face wedged into a hole in a tree along a reservoir walk. I had thought he had rouged cheeks, but looking again, they’re ears.

The Beatles Yellow submarine pebble

I never take any of the ones I see so the next person can share the joy, but I do regret leaving the yellow submarine. I don’t suppose Ringo could have left it?

Cheerful gnome with bee and bee-hive on a pebble

Finally, a sweetie with a flower, heart cap, honey bees and a hive: a summer Santa, were there such a thing, and almost guaranteed to raise a smile.

If you are leaving decorated pebbles in gardens or along the wayside, thanks for taking the time to leave a piece of your heart for us to find. It’s appreciated.

Shared for WalkingSquares.

55 Replies to “Pebbles Along The Path”

  1. The kids in our neighborhood left them in the woods during the pandemic. Everyone was out walking instead of going to the gym, so it was nice to see so many positive messages.

  2. What a wonderful way to start the day. This post sure made me smile. A worry doll village? I have never heard of the concept but what a great idea. My favorite pebble is the summer Santa.

    1. That’s one of my favourites too. The worry doll village is largely dismantled now – just the doors are left, but I got a few pictures of it in its prime.

        1. It’s hard to destroy rock. I’ve seen a few surrounded by messages saying ‘please don’t take’, especially in private gardens, but mostly they’re just left to whatever might happen.

  3. My wife would be delighted to see so many painted rocks. Her greatest joy is painting them and placing them in our yard or using them as gifts

  4. I leant to love walking on my own during Lockdown. It’s my favourite way to walk now. And you’re right. Painted pebbles, which can turn up in the oddest places, can bring a moment of joy.

    1. One good thing about lockdown was that so many people were walking alone, it seemed quite sociable in a weird way as everyone you passed either said ‘hello’ or looked sympathetic.

        1. You can get a lot from a glance. We had a popular walk nearby (now turned into a building site) and many people you passed were expressing ‘This is rubbish, isn’t it?’ ‘Are you alright?’ ‘I’m only giving you a wide birth out of politeness’ ‘I get it – thanks!’ etc in their looks and brief comments. It’s not a wealthy area and that might be part of it.

  5. Wonderfully cheering. That guy with the pink ears is Mr. Potatohead, a popular children’s toy from our childhood that made a comeback through the Toy Story films. 🙂

  6. My wish for you is that you DO see that kestrel. We have a peregrine that I’ve seen in the backyard during the spring and it’s like spotting your precious fairies. Fleeting. Magical. Uplifting.

    The painted pebbles are just like that too. So special and unexpected. Hope you bump into Ringo as well!


    1. We can often see kestrels on the moor, but I never get tired of watching them. A peregrine in the backyard must be something else! We have a sculpture of one in town, but it has no tail, so looks oven-ready. Ringo used to come to the Chelsea Flower Show so I’ve seen him a couple of times, striding along very busily in the middle of a group of minders.

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