Throughout the pandemic, I escaped the monotony of apartment life by getting outside for long walks, hikes, and camping trips. In my time outdoors, I began to notice rocks in a new way. They seemed to stand out to me from their place along the trails and campgrounds, just begging to be photographed. But they felt like more than inanimate objects. Their presence was strong; it felt like I was taking environmental portraits of them. I contemplated how much a rock alongside a well-hiked trail has bore witness to over the years. Somehow, it felt like they had personalities and even memories.
I asked myself, if I were a rock, would I rather have a panoramic mountaintop view, or exist beside a body of water? (For me, it would be water.) If I were a rock, would I rather be in a quiet place with just the plants and animals or would I rather encounter humans? (I decided I would be curious to see humans, if I were a rock, but I may be biased.) By thinking about rocks personified, I realized more than ever our individual and collective responsibility to protect the natural world, to ensure a good future not only for ourselves, but everything in nature that we enjoy and also everything in nature that we overlook or take for granted.