Friday, 10 May 2013


What a shame that I didn't become a geologist. As a child, i loved rock collecting. Having heard about how gold, diamonds, and other precious jewels were found under the earth, I thought I might find some precious stones too. I never did but the ones I found still fascinated me.

When I was about five years old, I found a pinkish sort of pebble along the side of the road. I ran home and showed my mother. "This is a piece of feldspar, Mom said as she examined the squarish mineral.  That rock held my attention for quite a few days. The shininess of its sides and the colour thrilled me.

When I was sent to Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind, I found many exciting varieties. Through various adults, I learned about sandstone,quartz, and slate. British Columbia had more varieties of stones than Alberta due to its geological heritage. As the long years passed at that institution, I felt amazed at the colours and textures of the rocks I found.

I felt particularly excited by a palm-sized rock I found behind the school. It was black and very heavy. I thought it might be a meteorite so I showed it to my grade four teacher. She knew a geologist who might be able to identify the type of rock it was. She told me a few weeks later that it wasn't a meteorite but a lump of low-grade iron ore. Unfortunately, I lost it to the cleaning staff. I saw it sitting on the floor by my bed but I assumed I could put it away later. I forgot about it and when I came back from classes, it was gone.

The landscape people also deprived me of a special bolder that I discovered. It was brick red and about the size of my head. I foolishly left it on the lawn and when I tried to show it to my teacher the next day, it was gone. I felt so embarrassed, even though the teacher understood what happened.

Then I made a foolish mistake. A friend gave me a commercially-packaged rock collection. When my Cub Scout troop were told to make a rock collection by the pack leader, I stupidly entered the collection I was given. Not only was I lectured about lying but the leader confiscated my collection.

I still admire rock gardens and the occasional pretty stone that I find but my passion for rock collecting has long passed.  Even so, I remember the happy hours I spent smashing pebbles with bigger stones to make colourful sand and searching the road for fascinating bits of gravel. It kept me from dwelling on the fact that I was five-hundred miles from home and I wouldn't go back there until the next Christmas or summer.

I wrote more about my rock collecting activities, and how I got into trouble because of them, in Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School. More information about it and my previous book can be found on the left side of this page. How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity is my newest book. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers distribute e-book and paperback versions of it