Noah brought home rocks today for Austin's collection. It was all I could do to choke back the tears.
He had been on a field trip at Lost River Cave and was able to hunt for various stones. I'm sure he was filled with memories of Austin, as I am anytime I see a rock. It was sweet of him to think of his brother and bring some back; however, it hurts so much that Austin isn't here to benefit from it. I know if he were, they would be huddled over the kitchen table right now, excited over the findings.
I don't remember how Austin began collecting rocks. From an early age, he was fascinated by them and over time his collection grew and grew. He didn't only collect them but he studied about them and could tell you what a rock's name was or where it could be found by a glance.
I was impressed by his knowledge and a little relieved. In his early collecting days, he thought a piece of gravel was cool. It was nice to see his collection get weeded out once he learned more about them! However, I have fond memories of walking with him and stopping whenever he found a new treasure. He'd squat on chubby legs, eyes bright with excitement, as he held the discovery in his little hands. After turning it over a few times, it would get shoved into his pockets, ready to continue in his search.
On a trip to the Smoky mountains, he discovered a rock store on the downtown strip. We could have cancelled all plans for the rest of our vacation and camped out by their display cases and he would have been content. The first day it was hard to pull him away but those of us who weren't as interested could only look so long. Afterwards, he wanted to go back every day. It was also our last stop before heading home. He'd saved up all his souvenir money from the trip to make one final purchase.
They are all proudly displayed on a bookshelf in his room. I guess we have some new stones to add to the collection now.