The famed Huntington Reservation cottonwood tree lamented by the community when it was lost last December has become a symbol of hope and life for rock-painting artist Barb Frederick of Medina.
Barb, who spent her growing-up years in Bay Village and North Ridgeville, has been an inspiration to Bay Villagers who miss the landmark tree.
She leaves lovingly-created rock paintings of the tree at its location at Huntington.
“I am a breast cancer survivor. So during my treatments, I painted rocks for my therapy,” she reports of her start in rock-painting.
Her inspirational works became a cause for the fight against cancer, and Barb began creating rock-paintings for the motorcycle club, “Bikers for Boobs,” she joined with her husband.
The avocation continued to grow, and Barb, along with her twin sister Debbie McQueen, created a Facebook site, “Light House Rocks.” One of their principles: “You must behave like a lighthouse; you must shine day and night for the goodness of everyone.”
“Wherever someone needs rocks, whenever they ask, I just do it,” she said.
A frequent visitor to Huntington, Barb and her sister always loved the lake.
“I had already put some rocks down there (of other lakefront scenes). So I started doing the tree after they took it down because of all the Facebook posts I had seen from people who said how sad they were.
“I thought if I put some out there, it would make someone happy!”
It is a practice that brings joy and hope to others.
“I was lucky enough to be there with my dog on my walk today and purely by chance decided to look at our “tree” stump,” wrote a visitor to the Huntington tree site last weekend. “To my delight I found several of your rocks! I nearly cried. The joy they brought my heart is indescribable.
“I lovingly selected one and couldn’t wait to run home and show my husband. Every time I reached into my pocket I smiled because I knew he would love it. I fear his days of walking by the lake are coming to an end. He was diagnosed with cancer a year ago and it’s not been easy. We pray we have at least 6 months, but they can only guess. Finding your beautiful rock today made his day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Placing various stones of hope have created a grass-roots ministry. Barb finds that they turn up world wide, in places as exotic as Stonehenge, Las Vegas and Hawaii, by folks who share her messages.
Barb and Debbie also place rocks with inspirational messages in support of suicide prevention.
“One rock can save a person’s life forever,” explains Barb. “I put inspirational quotes on them, and that one thing can change a person’s life. Since I have been a cancer survivor, I see things differently now.”
Barb also shares her rocks with patients at the dental practice where works. “Kids love them. When they come back after six months or a year for their check-ups, they can’t wait to see what I have for them.”
Barb comes to Bay Village whenever she has free time to visit the lake and even kayaks in the summer there. She leaves rocks each time she visits. “One woman, who found my first rock there, I leave her one in a special hiding place when I go,” said Barb.
“I would never thought it would have had this much attention. I thought I would just put some more rocks out there. I was just doing what I loved.”
Some folks have suggested that Barb find a way to sell the rocks. She prefers those so inclined to please make a donation to her charity of choice, Stewart’s Caring Place, a cancer wellness center offering free support services & programs for individuals & families on their cancer journey in Fairlawn.
Check out Barb’s work at Light House Rocks (on Facebook) and please consider a donation to Stewart’s Caring Place (stewartscaringplace.org) in lieu of purchase.