Op-Ed by Leigh Hyndman: Ojai rocks with love

web Collage 5523

Photo collage by Leigh Hyndman

Leigh Hyndman made a photo collage of the heart-shaped rocks and shapes she has encountered on her walks since COVID-19 struck.


By Leigh Hyndman

The heart is the universal symbol for love. When gazing upon a solid rock, shaped like a heart, something powerful is stirred up — an awareness, a feeling. 

I was on the cusp of retirement when COVID-19 struck our world, so I took the plunge.  Then I took to the hills. I’d never taken the time to explore Cozy Dell, Foothill, Pratt and the multiple Ojai trails. I’d always been too busy and consumed by life’s demands. Yet, at the onset of this world crisis, I slowed down. 

The first heart-shaped rock glistened on the beach as sea glass. I’d seen the Pacific’s edge from Chief Peak and found myself there, hot sand on toes, seawater washing the shore. 

The shiny white heart radiated an essence. Love. 

From that day forward, rock hearts emerged almost daily, most embedded in the dirt or scattered on the trail’s edge. Rock hearts existed everywhere, just waiting to be seen.  With the phone in my pocket I soon filled up the storage space with hundreds of rock-shaped hearts. They peeked out and my eyes caught them, over and over, day after day.

Holding a solid piece of Mother Earth in my hand, a heart, shaped from powerful forces, perhaps hundreds or thousands of years ago, I was captivated. 

Over and over, the force of love punched into my consciousness. Love for ourselves, each other, our community, and our entire world. In this time of trouble and sorrow, a gift was being delivered. Our God is amazing! This couldn’t be random. There were so many!  They were everywhere! And they continue to find me, all of the time.

This heart rock quest began to transform my thinking. Divisions that so define our world today, began to merge into unity. We are one people, one race, one nationality. We are the essence of love if we allow it. We are intended, above all else, to love.

— Leigh Hyndman lives in Ojai.


Not a subscriber?  choose your subscription plan.