Mary Lentz

Beacon Correspondent

A new book about Humboldt geology just hit the bookshelves of many local bookstores, libraries, and museums. It's entitled “Humboldt Rocks” and the work is the result of the artistic collaboration between the Presbyterian Church of the Redeemer's Pastor, Lance Anderson, and church member, Meryl King.

The Church of the Redeemer will be hosting a book signing and celebration for author King and illustrator Anderson on Sunday, Nov. 6 in their Fellowship Hall, 1431 Ross Hill Road, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served. The gathering will be an opportunity for the public to congratulate and ask questions of both creative contributors. Copies of “Humboldt Rocks” will be available for purchase, and all proceeds from the event will go toward remodeling the church's kitchen.

King had been mulling over the idea of writing a book about Humboldt County rocks for middle-graders for several years. She thought 10 to 12 year olds would enjoy learning about the forces that shaped the geology of the redwood region as much as she did. Moreover, she wanted young people to have an easy reference for identifying rocks they found on local river bars and beaches.

”When my grandchildren were young I used to go with them to Redway Beach to watch them swim. I swam a little, but soon got bored. So I walked slowly on the beach. At first it looked as if all the rocks are a dirty brown gray, but they weren't. I found rocks of many colors. I thought many families would enjoy looking for rocks. The book grew from there.”

She didn't know when she met her new pastor that he was the illustrator she had been hoping to find. She learned as the weeks went by that Anderson came from a family of painters and that he already helped illustrate a children's coloring book about the redwoods. “I favor oils: landscapes, cars, redwoods, people. I've enjoyed the work on this book... mainly colored pencil and ink. Meryl is such a bright gal and I sweat a few bullets in working out some of the drawing. She was very gracious and patient and it would be fun to work on another book.”

King who published “Humboldt Rocks” under her own Pepperwood Press imprint hopes to publish other books, but right now she's taking a breather. “I might do this again. I start with more knowledge ... I'd do a picture book, but I don't recommend it. I'm independent, driven, and hard headed. It leads me into interesting situations, some of them difficult.”

King says there are some important tips young rockhounds should know before setting out along ocean beaches. First and foremost she says, “Never turn your back on the ocean!” She also advises, “Don't go onto an ocean beach when there's a storm, either on land or at sea. The waves get high. Look for gems (like agates) on the beaches after storms - and when the tide is going out. Check your tide table.” For river pickers she has only one rule of thumb, “Don't go when the water is high.”

photo captions:

photos by Mary Lentz.

1. Meryl King, author of 'Humboldt Rocks.'

2. Illustrator Lance Anderson with Meryl King.