Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Rock, I and II

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there was a rock, the same rock you see pictured above. A long time ago it was much smaller and it lived on a hillside west of where it now rests. It's larger now because it is covered with a painted coat of many colors somewhere between six and twelve inches thick judging by the depth of the fringe of paint drool at the bottom.

The rock, as it is eponymously known, was born on a grassy hillside just above what is now El Dorado Hills Boulevard during God-knows-what geologic era, created by some mysterious formative event. It began service as a community bulletin board sometime in the 1980's, after the opening of Oak Ridge High School in the unincorporated population center known as El Dorado Hills.

Over the years, the rock was decorated with either spray paint or by brush to celebrate holidays, birthdays, athletic competitions, and occasionally other personal events. At some point in the late 90's a decision was made to construct an apartment complex on the spot nature had for eons claimed as home for the rock. The community was advised that the rock would be smashed into pebbles and distributed on the hillside. The unincorporated, but not disorganized, community banded together and raised such a fuss that Doug VeerKamp, descendant of El Dorado County pioneers, and all around good guy, in tandem with the El Dorado Hills Bowman's Association, came to the rescue. With land donated by the archery association, and lots of heavy equipment available to Doug through his family's construction firm, the Volkswagen-sized rock was saved from what seemed like certain doom and transported across the street to a safe and convenient site. It was a fine moment for a community that wasn't even officially a city or a town.

Once safely ensconced on its new resting place, it resumed service announcing birthdays, victories, tragic losses, and all the momentous events of life. And then 9/11 happened. The rock was beautifully outfitted with a glorious and patriotic rendition of the stars and stripes. So momentous was the event and so beautiful the work, that no one dared paint over it. It stood for many days as testimony to our shock, sorrow, and patriotism.  The muted community struggled to come to terms with the world-shattering events and secondarily, mourned the loss of use of the iconic rock as a bulletin board.

Again, Doug VeerKamp came to the rescue. Another similarly-sized rock was found and planted on the hillside a respectful distance north of Rock I. Rock I could now continue to commemorate 9/11 while Rock II took over community service. A noble concept, but it didn't last long. Before long, both rocks were painted regularly with personal messages, announcements, and declarations. Some locals were outraged, but the need for more messaging space was genuine. By this time, El Dorado Hills had grown from about 5,000 to around 20,000 people who had many things to announce, more than could be contained on a single rock.

And so, Rock I and Rock II continue to announce and celebrate special events. The community is divided into two kinds of people: those who have had their name painted on the rock and those who wish they had. And two other kinds: those who had painted the rock and those who intended to do so. I belonged in the second category in both cases. Because my Very Special Grandson, Logan, was turning 18, I seized the opportunity to join the ranks of the painters. I enlisted the help of my Very Special Grandson, Bill, and we planned to paint the rock. We learned much that is of probable interest and value to would-be rock painters. Here are some guidelines:

  • Choose a simple design and simple color scheme.
  • Do it in the daylight on a dry and wind-still day.
  • Use spray paint, not buckets and paintbrushes.
  • Plan on four cans of paint for the background and one each for any secondary colors.
  • Allow two hours to complete the project, more if picnicking or drinking is involved.
  • Wear old clothes. If more than two people participate, they will get overspray all over themselves.
  • Take lots of progress pictures.
  • Be nice when your masterpiece is painted over., 

 In the picture above, you can see the last salmon-colored remnant of the previous display. Very Special Grandson, Bill, and Doting Grandmother, Melody, have nearly finished applying a new white base coat over the earlier masterpiece.
 VSG finishes up while DG seeks shelter from the wild wind-driven overspray.
 VSG has completed the preliminary outline of the Polar Bear (never mind what it looks like, it's a POLAR BEAR!)

 VSG, Logan, AKA Polar Bear, lounges on a convenient ice-floe, and politically incorrectly enjoys global warming.
Rock II is on the left, Rock I reads HAPPY 4TH B-DAY (I didn't notice a name).

Notice the stalactites of paint formed at the bottoms of the rocks. On the right you can see weeds growing in the sheltered area near the fringe of paint. On the left you can see paint on the ground which has formed a thick solid coating. In some places you can break off chunks and see all the colored layers. I wish someone would take a core sample of both rocks so we could see just how thick the paint is.

Just in case anyone is interested, my birthday is April 18th, turquoise and purple are my favorite colors.

Note: this is my 500th blog post!

1 comment:

  1. Dang, if I were close I'd paint your favorite rock! How special would that be?!?