Spreading love and kindness in Nakusp

The rocks are painted and then hidden around town. Those who find them can keep them, leave them where they are or hide them elsewhere. (Submitted)The rocks are painted and then hidden around town. Those who find them can keep them, leave them where they are or hide them elsewhere. (Submitted)
Brigette Henning is one of the creators of the Nakusp Rocks community group that is painting and hiding rocks in the community. (Submitted)Brigette Henning is one of the creators of the Nakusp Rocks community group that is painting and hiding rocks in the community. (Submitted)
Brigette Henning is one of the creators of the Nakusp Rocks community group that is painting and hiding rocks in the community. (Submitted)Brigette Henning is one of the creators of the Nakusp Rocks community group that is painting and hiding rocks in the community. (Submitted)
The rocks are painted and then hidden around town. Those who find them can keep them, leave them where they are or hide them elsewhere. (Submitted)The rocks are painted and then hidden around town. Those who find them can keep them, leave them where they are or hide them elsewhere. (Submitted)
Brigette Henning started painting rocks after losing her daughter six years ago. (Submitted)
The rocks are painted and then hidden around town. Those who find them can keep them, leave them where they are or hide them elsewhere. (Submitted)
The rocks are painted and then hidden around town. Those who find them can keep them, leave them where they are or hide them elsewhere. (Submitted)

For Brigette Henning the rock hunt is much more than spreading a little bit of colour around the community.

The art of painting and hiding rocks for others to find is popular on Vancouver Island, where Henning and her family used to live.

Though at the time she didn’t see herself as a painter, she said she loved taking her kids out to find and rehide the rocks. When her daughter Ashley died six years ago, a friend of Henning’s painted memorial rocks and hid them all over the world, while on holidays.

Soon people were finding them and Henning was seeing pictures of the memorial rocks on the beach in Mexico, beside a bonfire in New Zealand or with a cheetah in Africa.

“Knowing that people were enjoying the rock hunt helped keep her memory alive,” she said, in an email interview.

Henning moved to Nakusp from Victoria last year, bringing her love of painting rocks with her.

Soon she had her co-workers on board and they got together for physically-distanced rock painting parties. Karolina Lamont is one of those.

“It brings people together,” she said, via email. “It brings hope and happiness to people in difficult times, whether you paint, gift, find, keep or re-hide a beautifully painted rock. It is simply to spread love and kindness.”

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Henning said they had initially planned to start hiding the rocks in spring, when the snow melted, but the need to spread some love couldn’t wait.

“And my husband was getting overwhelmed with all the piles of rocks everywhere,” Henning said, with a laugh.

With help from her friends Karolina and Trevor Lamont, Nakusp Rocks, a Facebook group where people can share photos of their creations as well as where they are found, was born.

Henning said they had 127 people join in the first 48 hours. Messages and posts are flowing in, thanking Henning and the group for messages of hope and added colour the rocks are bringing.

“I truly believe a person will find a rock exactly when they need it,” Henning said.

She has painted pride rocks as well as rocks with mental health inspiration messages such as ‘you are loved’ and ‘tomorrow will be better.’

The page features tips and tricks for wildlife and environmentally friendly paints and resins. Due to current COVID restrictions, rocks cannot be hidden inside businesses or public buildings.

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