The downtown Jacksonville Public Library is one of the gems of the River City. Every floor of the library has its little world. Anything you wish to research, discover, read, or find, you can find it at this library. Through the main entrance of the building, you will find a themed art display that changes every month. There is an entire room dedicated to teens. Teens can sit on cool bean bags and read teen fiction. If they wish to get on the computer, they can do that too. If you have little ones, there is an entire floor for them to find every child book you can think of plus games and other hands-on entertainment. If you’re a college student, you can rent out private rooms for studying. It is truly the bees knees.
My favorite room is on the fourth and final floor. The Morris Ansbacher Map Room. Yes, it is precisely that a room of maps. Maps taken from different books and other sources, framed and displayed for all to see. Some of the maps are so large they take nearly a quarter of the wall. Some of the maps presented are basic and may have come from some sort of magazine, while others you could tell may have come from some private collection.
I once had a small collection of maps I hung on every wall of my bedroom, but this takes it to another level. As of now, I’ve been collecting maps I find in books stores, magazines (National Geographic specifically), shift stores, and craft stores. Since stores like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and Joann are always running 50% off deals on their frames, it won’t be long before I have my own collection.
Ever since I could remember I have been obsessed with rocks. In grade school it was fun learning geology and petrology (the study of rocks and how they are formed). Every nature trail hike, or park I’d visit, my mission was the same, discover a new location and find a rock to take home. Even at a beach, I wasn’t as interested in collection shells as I was in finding a rock. Rocks carry history that goes back thousands of years. No matter the insignificance of a rock, they are the hosts of Earth’s past and deserve recognition.
It wasn’t until I came back from my second trip to Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina before I began taking my rock collection a little more serious. I had brought back a rather large rock from the mountain side which was about ninety percent clay. It has been beat up by Florida’s heat and rainstorms but it is still holding up.
After a few small trips to Georgia, I came back bought an entire case of small and large mason jars and began canning my rocks. Granted most of my rocks right now are decoration rocks from retail stores, but a few of them are once I’ve actually collected and bought from state park souvenir stores.
One of the things that has fascinated me about rocks are the textures and colors. Every rock has distinctive designs and shapes, none of them the same. Because of that it’s been a challenge to get some of my bigger ones into the jar. It requires a lot of shaking the jar itself and fitting sizes together to make them fit just right.
I haven’t been the best at learning the names and all the other important details about rocks and their existence, but there are some amazing rock and mineral guides out there that breaks down every aspect and characteristic of a rock. With each trip, I intend to collect a rock to help build a memory as the rocks I now possess have done so with me.
Rocks, to me, aren’t just pretty things you collect and useless things you use to make your yard look neat. Each rock contains a history, a memory that dates back far beyond the first organism to breathe life. Surprisingly enough, a rock collect just might be the best thing to start.