Local potter Liz Herlevson decided to spread a little kindness around Crozet the day after her mother passed away. The artist behind the signature Crozet-inscribed pottery left about 20 of her handcrafted ceramic mugs hidden on the trails between Crozet Park and Western Ridge along Lickinghole Creek.
She revealed the plan on the Facebook page of her business, Red Mud Hen Pottery, the evening of June 22. She encouraged folks around Crozet to go out and look for the treasure and take one home when they found it. The only stipulation? Spread some kindness to others in exchange.
“I offer the gift of a beautiful walk, and some Crozet mugs,” Herlevson wrote in her post about the treasure hunt. “There are about twenty stoneware Crozet mugs left along the Crozet trail (behind the park and all along to Lickinghole Creek Westhall area). Please just take one, make some tea in it and then pass along some kindness to someone else someday.” #crozetva #crozet #redmudhen #stonewarepottery #kindness #madeinva #benicetopeople #happy #love”
Word spread quickly through the community. Others began sharing the information on social media pages of a number of groups around town—the Charlottesville Area Trail Runners, Nextdoor, Crozet Online. The response from followers was immediate and immense.
A post appeared within 24 hours on “Crozet Online Yard Sale” from Rebecca Korn: “I have such a warm feeling in my heart after the beautiful reminder of how special our town is today, and I just had to share. Someone (show yourself please so I can give you a hug!!) landed beautiful handcrafted mugs all through Crozet park this morning. Gracing riverbeds, chairs, and beautifully unexpected places. I saw one and assumed someone had left it, then I saw them spotted all through the park as gifts!! The pure joy painted on everyone’s faces this morning filled me with such hope, light and love.”
Mae Remer, another respondent, said, “I think we could all use this kind of generosity and kindness in our lives.”
The acts of kindness have begun. A pair of children on the trail the morning after the mugs were hidden found two on benches along the creek between Western Ridge and Westlake. “Have you seen a woman with a chihuahua?” they asked this reporter as they scurried past, mugs tightly clutched in their hands. Turns out they found one for the older woman who had trouble locating a mug herself. They wanted to make sure she got it, which indeed she did. The mug and its intended recipient were united by the end of their walk.
Another finder, Wendy Reid of Western Ridge, gifted her mug to a family in her neighborhood who was moving to California that day.
But Herlevson feels like she is the one who has benefited the most. It was only after reading the responses that she revealed the treasure hunt was her attempt to come to grips with her grief.
“To be honest, you all gave me some much-needed joy,” she wrote on Facebook. “Thank you so very much… I lost my mother Tuesday and I just didn’t know what to do with myself… so I took my last load of mugs and wandered—leaving them hoping they would make people happy. It was a great way to think about her and her tea habit and hope that out of my sadness some joy would happen. I’m super impressed with the person who found the one in the middle of the creek! You are all lovely people, and I’ll for sure post when I have a new batch out.”
Korn in Old Trail wrote on Nextdoor that she was blown away by Herlevson’s revelation. “In that grief, she gave. I’m literally in tears of how much she turned around and made the whole town smile.”
Note: If you were among those to find a Crozet kindness mug, this reporter would be interested in talking to you. Please contact Heidi Brown at [email protected]