We wandered high above the valley where the wind roars like a dragon and scares time into standing still. We braved those winds and walked the plains in search of treasure. We went rock hounding.
On our recent trip to Thermopolis my wife bought my middle son this amazing rock at the dinosaur museum. I don’t know what kind of rock it is but it looks like metal folded into geometric shapes. My son was so enamored by it that he passed up ice cream in lieu of convincing his mother to purchase it for him.
He cradled the rock like a baby for the rest of the trip, bringing it into the restaurant for dinner and just sort of examining it on the entire car ride home. It had obviously sparked some newfound passion inside of him which is why we took him seriously when he told us that he wanted to be a “rock scientist” when he grows up. His older brother informed him that a rock scientist is called a geologist.
“Geologist.” he said, feeling the weight of that word for the first time in his mouth. “I want to be a geologist when I grow up.”
In an effort to support his excitement I suggested that we go rock hounding after we finished up the yard work and miscellaneous chores today. Needless to say, he and his brothers were ecstatic. So rock hounding we did go.
We traveled up towards south pass city, where if nothing else we could tour around the historic gold mining town and just take in the sights. I was hoping to find a big boulder field that we could climb on while we hunted for rocks but time was growing thin and all we found was endless sage brush. Finally I just stopped the truck and we started wandering.
The wind has a way of blowing on the high plains like how the ocean crashes into a rocky shore, like it belongs there and you don’t. This afforded them all a valuable lesson in which direction to pee when the wind is blowing. Despite this minor setback however their enthusiasm was not dismayed. They scattered into the distance picking up every single rock they could carry and proclaiming proudly that they had found another one. There were rocks everywhere and they all looked the same but to them, each one was treasure.
I think the value of a treasure is proportionate to the journey of the treasure hunt. These boys had to help me clean up both yards, pick up their rooms, join me on my Monday errands and then drive the hour or so to our destination. It didn’t matter that all the rocks looked the same because they’d earned this particular treasure hunt. All the rocks in Wyoming couldn’t weigh down their smiles. And as I watched them march victoriously along the high desert plains, I too was reminded that the real treasure is always the hunt itself.