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THE OUTDOORS ALMANAC | NATURAL OBSESSIONS

Rolling stones

October 04, 2005|Janet Cromley

SOME people keep family photos on their desks. Vicky McCargar, an editor for The Times, has a pile of rocks. Each stone represents a place she has visited, from extraordinary to ordinary. She can mark the vacations and high points of her life by the smooth or jagged pieces of quartz, mica, shale and marble -- little chunks of eternity. Her reputation has grown so much that friends and colleagues bring rocks for her collection. She neatly labels each one with its place of origin. Of course, she never takes rocks from parks or archeological sites. Some of her rocks have been purchased at gift stores. "I can hold each rock and connect with the trip," she says. "I have a chunk of rock from a trip to Catalina that was not at all memorable. But I can look at the rock and feel seasick all over again."

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-- Janet Cromley

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