I started collecting rocks when I was about six years old. I collected sandstone rocks you could write with, pinkish feldspar rocks, salt-and-pepper pieces of granite, and smooth white lucky stones, but my favorites were the sparkly ones I sometimes found on the path to school. I don't know what kind of rocks they were--to me they seemed like diamonds. They were the stars of my rock collection. I kept all my rocks in an old metal Crisco can. I used to spend hours looking at them and arranging them. Then somewhere along the way, they disappeared. I don't know if happened on our move from Indiana to Pennsylvania, or if they survived the move but fell victim to one of my mom's garage-cleaning frenzies. All I know is they are gone. But my fondness for rocks remains. I like the craggy layers of slate and any good skipping stone, but these days my favorites are the smooth, round stones that fit perfectly in my hand. I like the cool solid feeling of them and the way time and life have smoothed away their sharp edges--something I hope is happening to me, too.