The Angry Corrie 36: Apr-May 98

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Some thoughts on collections

Edie Horton

WHAT IS IT about us humans (maybe I presume too much here, but I assume we all are), that we need to collect things? We collect all manner of things. Donald Trump collects money and casinos. Elizabeth Taylor collects husbands. Hamish Brown (even if he claims it isn't so) collects mountains he has climbed again and again. People collect toy trains, stamps, and thimbles. Victorians put pins through and collected bugs. They collected fossils and hunting trophies.

While I am a willing participant in hillwalking with Christopher, my sweetie, I do not collect hills. However, I do participate in the mindless collecting of ... rocks! My rock collection contains specimens from Tiree, from the tops of Sgurr na Lapaich and Bidean nam Bian, from the shingle beach near Sizewell nuclear reactor in Suffolk, from Tunisia, even from the Himalaya. That last one, I bought; the others have all been picked up on walks and carried in pockets and backpacks (sometimes for days as they get forgotten).

My rocks sit on windowsills and on tables and fireplace surrounds. They take me back in my mind when I handle them. These rocks become whole new solar systems in my mind. Their colours evoke visions of the skies they have themselves witnessed, the snows and the rains; the movement of earth and the changing of the landscape. My rocks help me to look at the world around me through different lenses, to look across time. They also remind me that I am human. I exist in my thinking and my ability to make abstract connections and to imagine. I exist in my ability to dream.

Collecting rocks gives my imagination and my dreams a physical resting place. Perhaps, while we walk for exercise, for the challenge, for the view, perhaps we are also, in our walking, giving our dreams a physical resting place in our bodies, and taking our dreams into ourselves. Then again, maybe my head is just full of rocks.

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