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GUEST COLUMN: How a rock and a little paint can unite a community

Nadine Wark By Nadine Wark The name Rocky brings a few memories to mind, such as someone’s nickname or the name of a dog.
Hundreds of rocks have been added to Rocky the Snake at Point Edward’s Waterfront Park. (Bruce Robbins photo)
Nadine Wark

By Nadine Wark

The name Rocky brings a few memories to mind, such as someone’s nickname or the name of a dog. Maybe the old cartoon series we watched as kids called ‘Rocky & Bullwinkle’ featuring the friendship and adventures of a squirrel and a moose. ‘Rocky Racoon’ is a neat little tune by the Beatles. Some will think of boxer Rocky Balboa, the movie series starring Sylvester Stallone.

Who would have thought that in our own Sarnia-Lambton we would ever have our very own snake, named Rocky, who resides under the Blue Water Bridge in Point Edward. This area is so well-known for world-famous fries, now we have two very strong recognitions after Rocky has made his home in the same area.

If you do not know about Rocky, I suggest ‘you must be living under a rock,’ (pun intended) or perhaps you have missed the media stories or don’t visit the bridges. Rocky gets his name from his entire body being composed of rocks of different shapes and sizes. During the pandemic (and even now), walkers and birders on the park trails would see the painted rocks displaying uplifting and hopeful messages.

Wendy Marsden started with a handful of rocks in June. (Submitted photo)

A caring local lady, Wendy Marsden started things off under the bridges by placing 13 painted rocks sometime early June, 2023 on the crushed stone running to the west of the memorial bricks. She stated, “it wasn’t me, the community did this.” She did have a little help because I heard there are hundreds of painted rocks now, and the snake has a slithery look to it, winding himself for many yards going north. If you see a green head at the beginning you will know that is the head of Rocky.

Rocky has taken on a life of his own and is like a celebrity. Excited families are seen adding their own painted stones and kids of all ages are absolutely delighted. Vacationers to our area are seen under the bridges not only for fries, ice cream and freighter-watching but to leave their rocks, some depicting where they are from; places throughout Ontario and also the U.S.

If you haven’t made it down to see Rocky, I urge you to do so. It brings to mind the old saying “the best things in life are free” (well almost) with a rock and a little paint. When you start small as Wendy Marsden did, things can turn big very fast, especially in our giving community.

Nadine has been a short-story writer for many years and published in several local magazines and newspapers.
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