The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Rock on

Library rock garden intended to inspire

 

September 1, 2018

Jamie Cushman

The rock garden at the Clovis-Carver Public Library fills about half of the space in one of the planters. Library Director Margaret Hinchee said she hopes to eventually fill the gray space in both planters with the brightly colored, uplifting messages.

CLOVIS - The phrases may sound like they are straight out of a fortune cookie:

• The grass is greener when you water it;

• Don't regret the past, learn from it;

• Live what you love.

But the messages are rock solid.

Literally.

The uplifting messages are painted on rocks located outside Clovis-Carver Public Library.

Clovis Civic Center General Manager Misty Bertrand said the #Clovisrocks campaign started prior to last August's deadly library shooting, after which the rocks took on a new meaning.

"It's just something that we're doing to brighten the spirits of the community to continue the healing," Bertrand said.

Clovis MainStreet Executive Director Lisa Pellegrino-Spear said the rocks were set up outside the library following Tuesday's observance of the one year anniversary of the shooting.

"We just really wanted it to be an inspirational and positive way for people to re-enter the building and see something bright and colorful," she said.

Assistant City Clerk Vicki Reyes, who helped paint some of the rocks, called the process "therapeutic" and said she hopes the garden will continue the work of her friend Krissie Carter who was killed in the shooting.

"Krissie was all about spreading positivity to anybody who came into any of her programs and I'm hoping that this will do the same thing," Reyes said.

Residents are invited to take a rock if they find the message particularly inspiring or add their own contributions.

"It's almost like trading cards, trading cards of happiness," said Eastern Plains Council of Governments Transportation Planner Vincent Soule, who also helped paint some of the rocks.

To keep the garden populated, Bertrand said the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors already have a rock painting party planned for their next meeting and Pellegrino-Spear said Clovis MainStreet is exploring a partnership with Clovis Municipal Schools to get students involved.

Carter and Wanda Walters, the two library employees killed in the shooting, both have a personal connection to the rocks.

Bertrand said that she and Carter had been working on including rock painting in the library's summer program prior to the shooting, so afterward Bertrand said she and others painted rocks with the initials KC to give out to family members at Carter's funeral services.

Walters did not quite share Carter's passion for the rocks.

"When those rocks started being painted and dropped off here, we would put them in Wanda's chair; we'd put them in her locker. ... She would not be mad but just be like 'You guys know I don't like those rocks,'" Library Director Margaret Hinchee said.

"Different members of my staff would plant them and she just didn't like that at all. We were doing it out of love and not out of teasing her. It's one of those things that whenever I see those rocks I think of Wanda."

Hinchee requested that any future additions to the rock garden not include references to Walters or Carter, but rather something with "positive messages, happy thoughts and bright colors."

 

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