People have been compelled to stay away from one another due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, yet everywhere you look they’re finding ways to stay close – figuratively speaking.
Chloe, a six-year-old Deep Cove resident, was disappointed to learn recently that her and her mom’s trip home to Australia to visit her grandparents had to be put off as the coronavirus spread and international travel became a near impossibility.
“She was feeling really sad about that,” explains Holly Stehr, Chloe’s mom. “I said to her: ‘We can feel sorry for ourselves or we can do something that keeps us busy. Why don’t we start painting rocks in the garden?’”
Chloe and her mom painted a trio of small rocks in their backyard and placed them on the fence shared with their neighbour. When the neighbour saw them, he was delighted by the simple, colourful designs.
Another neighbour caught wind and then gave her some rocks she’d been collecting from the beach and asked Chloe if she’d paint them as well.
“Chloe said to me, ‘What if we did the whole of Deep Cove?’” says Stehr.
While social distancing has limited any in-person interactions people can have for the time being, Chloe has since endeavoured to connect with her peers and the community at large with her Love Rocks Deep Cove project.
A poster she put up at Panorama Park, and another at Honey Doughnuts, invites kids in the community to paint rocks from their gardens, imbuing them with colourful messages and leaving them scattered around Deep Cove.
It’s a way for kids in the community to share in the joy of a playdate without any actual playing taking place, explains Stehr.
“The idea was to do something they can do separately, but together,” she says.
Chloe and her mom have also started an Instagram account (@loverocksdeepcove) where they’ve been taking and uploading pictures of people’s contributions to the project.
“They couldn’t play together, and that was the biggest driving force. All the kids could see each other, but they couldn’t play together,” says Stehr. “There’s hundreds of rocks in Deep Cove right now.”