The River of Stones: post your 15th Jan small stones here

This is the 15th day of our January mindful writing challenge: The River of Stones. Each day in January we’ll create a post, like this one, where you can leave your small stone for that day as a comment. This is today’s small stone thread.

Also look out for blog posts by our guest writers this month, on topics such as creativity, writing and mindfulness. Click here to view the guest posts.

Do leave your 15th small stone of the challenge in the comments below.

“I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.”
~ Robert Frost

Comments & replies

99 thoughts on “The River of Stones: post your 15th Jan small stones here

  1. Sue

    Your first feeling is of your heart hanging heavy in your chest. Your mind has given you roadblocks even before you were fully awake. Thanks for that. Your thoughts have logjammed your own damn dam, even before your head lifts from the pillow.

    Some days, turning your thoughts around takes till past lunchtime. Then the afternoon is sunny. A victory, unseen by anybody except yourself.

    It may seem you can’t easily see the way out. Clear eight-point plans are tempting but they are indicators of a path you’ve trod so many times before that the grass is flattened at the verges.

    Thinking straight is not really that hard. Except on the days when it is.

    The lofty peak is ahead of you, hazy in the distance. On that peak, you hardly think at all, swimming in the space.

  2. Granny Kate

    pick my way through old memories fluttering like snow outside our windows — a moment when the sun shines through a window — the old house gathers apple leaves — my mother lingers in a doorway. . . It’s these — caught outside the point of the lens, doing what they do, that brings a ghost into the room to watch with us the snow as it falls.

  3. Anne Weizel

    Saturday 7:00 a.m-January 14th

    In the stillness
    Of an early morning.
    I tiptoe silently
    Through crowded rooms
    Wanting to prolong
    This peaceful moment
    The only sound is the loud tick-tock of a little sad-eyed ceramic beagle.
    The clock,
    Presented to me by a treasured friend,
    Annoying in its loudness
    But a reminder of our friendship.
    I place it
    Under a cushion, and out of earshot.

    The furnace hums and purrs Out into the frosty morning.

    Pouring steamy heat on the three remaining sleepers.
    And causing plastic, circular wind-chimes
    To sway softly, emitting tiny melodic tunes.
    Lone black eyes
    Stare up at me from a soft pink quilt
    Willing me to take her

    I pick up a cat
    Noticing the pungent smell of tuna
    On his breath
    And stroke him lovingly,
    Despite his odor

    I hear a thump
    In the kitchen above me
    Dishes rattling
    As the dog devours cat food voraciously
    Moving from dish to dish.,
    Then wrestling forcefully with a giant bag of dry food

    It is time to move forward
    Embracing the hectic pace of the day
    Time has once again
    Ignored my plaintive cries ,
    To Slow Down Its Frantic Pace.

  4. J Cosmo Newbery

    My companion when prowling the garden
    Is a pair of good, strong secateurs;
    Prune hard and then beg a pardon
    Works better than asking permission first.

  5. Linda Visman

    Kookaburra pulls a worm from the damp earth. She flies up with it to a branch, where her youngster waits impatiently.

    Baby squawks and snatches desperately. Their large beaks tussle and clack. Chuckling insistently, Mother makes the young one break up the morsel before he swallows it.

    Meanwhile, father looks on from a nearby branch, assuring himself that his offspring is well protected and the lesson well learned.

  6. Judith Richards Shubert

    Pink Neon

    As I took some time to quietly observe the place where I sat, I realized that there was quietness within me amidst the hustle and bustle of those around me. Living in a city it is hard to find that quiet at times, but I began to look at the pink neon lights that shown so brightly around the popular ice cream store that we frequently go for milk shakes. You might think the pink would be garish or harsh, but in reality, it was not. The sky had darkened to pitch black and the pink neon parallel bars surrounding the building rose to a half moon in the center above the doors with the lights neither wavering nor flickering. Floating above the bars of light were the letters spelling out the name of the ice cream. It hung there, suspended in air, against the black of the night. I heard the noise of the traffic, the people, the distant freight train, but it was muted as I concentrated on the calmness of the pink neon lights.

  7. Dorothee

    following a way i walked as child,
    and as teenager
    i find the trees still standing,
    the arch passage still there, built for eternity
    and new stone mosaics on the ground

    then i stand, unsure:
    have those stones been there back then, too?
    and the ivy on the arch – how far will they let it spread?


  8. Helen Lewis


    Hum, fridge!
    Slosh, dishwasher!
    Blow, wind!
    Buzz, fly!
    You will never be louder
    Than the chatter in my mind.

  9. Sandra Davies

    Silence unnaturally thick
    and from the window, nothing, very still.
    Too easy to believe we’re about to tumble off the edge

  10. Kylie

    a sunday morning: I wake in my own time
    gradual, content
    I eat cereal and vanilla yoghurt
    we discuss Amy Winehouse
    and notions of being happy
    and being an artist

  11. Patricia Anne McGoldrick

    JANUARY 15

    Moon, only half full,
    is resting in crisp blue sky
    Cradled by winter’s grasp.

  12. Revlahart

    Half a moon
    still visible in
    the morning sky.
    Frosted roofs,
    frosted blossoms
    in a neighbour’s
    back garden.
    Golden dawn light
    warms the
    white building
    in the distance.

  13. poetcolette

    A pile of needs-to-be-read paperwork
    on a needs-to-be-refinished wooden table
    over a needs-to-be-vacuumed carpet
    in front of a needs-to-do-fun-things-first person…

  14. Shanee

    ‘Last Shake #9506’
    We are like tiny insects, congregating on the back of a sleeping giant, who groans and writhes in his sleep.  
    That body beneath us roars and trembles.
    You hear him before I feel it, and rush toward me, bright blue eyes shining with the now familiar dark shade of fear.  
    I wonder, as the giant and you return to rest, how many more your little body can absorb.  

  15. svasti

    She speaks apologies from her hunch-shouldered posture / Steady brown eyes full of purpose as she looks up / And haltingly asks for a few coins / I hand her my change and she takes my hand / God bless you she says / As she totters away.

    I’ve posted a round of up this week’s small stones on my blog.

  16. alfred booth

    in the morning sunlight I follow my shadow on a northbound journey
    I hope he knows where we’re going…


  17. isobelandcat

    I’m dreaming that I am sliding down a hill, lying on my back. It is quite slow and gentle, but sufficiently disorientating and real to wake me. The cat is pulling the blanket from the bottom of the bed onto the floor. He reaches for my feet under the quilt as I open my eyes, then, delicate as ballet dancer, pads up the bed for a good morning cuddle. This is a new development; something he started a few days ago. Cat used to wake me by lying beside me and purring, provoking me to rub his head and stroke him. A morning ritual exchange of affection. I am curious that this cat, though using different tactics, seems to be displaying similar behaviours. Not for the first time, I wonder if Cat compiled a guide to managing me that Not Cat has discovered and is interpreting in his own way.

  18. Fiona Robyn

    miniatures from a morning walk:
    a red berry smeared on the pavement. a crop of tiny cyclamen, white & pink. letters scraped into a windscreen’s ice. a smudge of reddish dog shit. three brushstroke people on the peak of the hill.

    a small stone

  19. Gypsy-K

    A pale blue, almost cloudless sky and the warm kiss of the sun herald the welcome return of summer; a message received, informing loss and dear friends’ broken hearts, heralds a time of shared grief and mourning.

  20. Beth

    Here in the valley
    the surrounding hills are green,no longer straw -yellow.And yet it’s cold.

    Blood-red anemones suddenly sprout among the blades of grass outside our window,their closed petals pointing straight up towards grey skies,as if blaming them for a rude awakening.

    One after another, more and more appear in the soggy grass,
    deep reds with spiky green leaves seeking white rays of sun,
    their fragile beauty warming frozen hearts.

  21. Jill

    Small Stone: My Journals

    Yesterday, I worked on cataloging my journals from the past ten years (a project I’d started earlier but never finished), putting book plates with date ranges in the covers, reading various passages, and stacking and organizing them by date. I showed Eric, noting how interesting it was that the piles from the last few years got increasingly taller, and how many of the ones from 2001-2009 weren’t completely full, still had empty, blank pages. He said it looked like a bar graph.

    What I noticed most–besides how much more I am writing now, after struggling with writer’s block for decades–is something I notice when I reread posts from this blog: my struggles don’t really change that much over time, and even as I struggle, there is so much wisdom there. I like to imagine the real change, the one the “bar graph” illustrates, is the increase in compassion I’ve applied to the process. What I’d like to think is that the real change is I am kinder to myself, more present and a better friend. This isn’t just a small stone, it’s more like a whole river bed of rocks.

    With picture.

  22. Inger-M

    I looked out of the window this morning, before I put in my contacts. The familiar view looked so different. Blurry, distorted, one shape gliding into the next. Unclear outlines, filled in, like with spray paint, no details. The gloomy sky added to the dimness.

    Of course, curiosity soon got the better of me,
    I had to see if everything was normal.

    Isn’t it wonderful that
    the camera can focus even when I can’t? 🙂

    Go here for the full post with photos:

  23. Leslee

    White steam spews from the old brick chimney pots like myrrh from censers, prayers snatched at once by fiendish winds.

  24. Lesley

    Slow to arrive, a crystal grip has today clenched its fist. Reaching into the lush heart of a sheltered courtyard it steals the soul of Lady Acanthus. No longer resplendent in her flounced emerald ball-gown, she now reclines in an ungraceful heap on the cold, grey slate.

  25. bythewobblydumdumtree

    I did not see the black fox
    trot across our field into the copse,
    put up a riot of rooks and steal their prey,
    carry it out to devour in the light of day,
    but from his bedroom window
    our neighbour did, and told the tale.

  26. Karen

    the promise of winter kept
    arriving with a vengeance
    snow, winds and a temperature drop
    air fresh and crisp
    nostrils freeze upon inhalation

  27. Claudine Gueh

    Heart sweetening in remembrance of the kitties visited today: Gabby’s bright, luscious green eyes; Veera’s electric purrs despite being ill (please get well soon, dearie) and Twinkle’s small triangular face scratching away at my feet.

  28. quillfyre

    Day 15 False Alarm

    in this silence, there should be peace
    more precious after frantic hours
    fighting angry smoke alarm
    chanting its lies two floors below

    without fire to fuel its chatter
    perhaps it chirps to prove its voice
    but my focus is splintered,
    still on edge and waiting
    for another chorus of worry and fret

    Carol A. Stephen

  29. basho42

    3am clockwork; inner heat, outer cool.
    slide left leg out from under the covers to balance out the temperatures.
    a many layered 30 seconds; inner combustion, thin layer of sweat, cool relief of open air, back to sleep.

    the trick is not too get too excited so I can easily fall back to sleep.

  30. wordrustling


    Ancient parchment
    Flag of birch bark
    Brought to life;
    Breath-taking breeze.
    Freeze of Winter
    Written in icy layers.
    Field finds itself
    Shining, transformed.
    Plain appears as a pond,
    Still, watery surface
    Reflecting sunset,
    Scrolling, shadowy trees.

    © Hannah Gosselin and Metaphors and Smiles, 2012.

  31. Roz Cawley

    Loving clearing the lunch table after a contented family lunch. I get to pick all the last bits of caramelized Mediterranean roast vegetables from the bottom of the pan…courgettes, red and yellow peppers, sweet, mild, red onions – all tossed in pesto. A happy scrumping of illicit, extra, delicious morsels.

  32. Anne Stormont (@writeanne)

    Old friend – like warm slippers or a comfy sweater, slipped back into easily. But also priceless and valued like a fine wine or beautiful jewellery – because of the backstory and provenance. Together, reunited – as we were thirty-five years ago – not crumpled and a wee bit worn – but light, liberated, laughing.

  33. Lightverse

    contemplating time
    three sisters’ birthdays approach…
    age is relative

    My two sisters and I were born two years apart each and our birthdays are within thirteen days of one another. We like to tease our parents about this – in a good-natured way, of course. I am the oldest…well, at least, chronologically, I am the oldest. When I was my kids’ age, I thought of my current age as kind of old[ish] but now that I am there, I don’t see things quite the same way. So, Peter Pan did get it right after all, because while we may grow older, we don’t necessarily have to grow up, and if immaturity has anything to do with years on earth, then I’m a lot younger than my actual number would imply.

  34. anonymousme

    I dreamt I let the grass grow indoors
    Moss between the tiles of the family room
    So the French doors were pointless

    Flowers from the carpet
    Vines up the reading lamp
    A bird in the bookcase

    Can still feel the cool air real air
    Can still feel the green under m feet
    Can still feel the release in my chest

    When I let the world in

  35. Robin

    Sparkles of red, blue, and gold twinkle on the pond. The birds are sunning themselves in the bare trees, trying to catch a little warmth on this frigid morning. Bright, beautiful sunshine and blue skies have replaced the clouds. Feet of ice dip their toes into a stream of blue water. Not everything is frozen.

  36. Leslie Waugh

    If what is beyond the edge
    is a ledge
    do you approach cautiously
    or leap into the unknown
    you can’t find your limits
    till you test them
    but if you go too far
    can you ever come back
    recovery and forgiveness are never guaranteed

  37. Robin Chapman

    on the way to the studio,
    following the two sets
    of artists’ tracks in the snow—
    who was dancing with who?

  38. Larry Piper

    Soooo, cold this morning, -15 °C.
    The slightly pregnant,
    tending-toward-last-quarter, moon
    moderates outside’s dark,
    as do the layers of orange
    blooming over Lynnfield’s way.
    A boom car turns the corner,
    disturbing our early morning meditations.

  39. Lorelei

    Coming outside on a damp, grey morning, I scare a robin into the darkness under the cedar. A fleeing mourning dove alights on the top branch of a leafless Liquidambar tree among the hanging balls of seeds. I won’t hurt you, birds.

    ~Laura Hoopes

  40. Keralenna

    Sometimes in the silence the past comes back bearing it ugly teeth. As though it is there to devour your very soul.
    Longings invade your mind things that you wish you could change, but so far there is no time machine to take me back to some of the worst things that I have chosen to do.
    But life is a chose also and I refuse to allow the past any part in it.
    We are not our past and the friends and the lives I have led are a large part of who I am but they are not who I am.
    I chose to find my happiness in the people and the place I am at in this moment and to not allow the past to overcome who I am made to be.
    The past is the past and what people thought of you then they may still think the same of you now. Somehow we all find what we are looking for and if it is in the past that all we will ever do is look to the past at the dead things in our lives.
    But they are in the past, a place long ago and we all chose our own path in life.

  41. Marian Veverka

    Daughter and I gave Kitty a flea bath. Is there any creature sadder looking than a soaking wet kitty-cat with big reproachful eyes?

  42. SharonW

    Studying the Stash

    There’s so much yarn. And oh I love it all.
    Maroon and red hotpink rosepink palepink
    and browns, in darkbrown redbrown cream and beige
    and greens and blues and grays and white and black
    and orange yellow purple lavender.
    I want to knit so many dreams or socks
    or sweaters hats or dreams. And if I had
    just ten more arms, six knitting pairs, enough
    to make a spider jealous – soon I’d buy more yarn.

    On my blog at

  43. Anonymous

    A Small stone from the Similkameen
    January 15th, 2012

    A light, crisp snow.
    Is it instinct that makes the small birds flock
    and feast in advance of heavier flakes?

  44. W J Wood

    When I awoke I heard the silence more than usual and decided to stay in bed to listen to more of it.

  45. Martin

    Sometimes nothing is better than something, sometimes this should be celebrated. Nothing does not happen often enough.

  46. jake chambers

    1.15.2012 ~ Lake and river waters across the southern states bestows excitement to those adventurous while northern waterways become hard and non-navigable with huts over holes from which to fish…alas the season of winter

  47. Zin Walker

    n memoriam

    Near the windmill
    The sweet chestnut tree
    Leafless now, planted
    in memory of her mother.

    In Lunigiana,
    I have seen a chestnut leaf
    in the base of each round loaf.

    In Spring
    we should bake bread.

  48. -k

    The fence, a sagging jumble of collapsed mesh and rusted wire, clings to a rotted tree trunk, holding nothing out, holding nothing in.

  49. WindDancer

    Night settles softly.
    The sound of footsteps echo from other spaces….
    Tomorrow is a travel day.

  50. searching serendipity

    Jan 15 Stone – Creating stories is a way of explaining experience. It starts before we can speak.

  51. searching serendipity

    Also wanted to add another stone for today:-
    many grains of gratitude
    for the pleasure
    from all the other stones
    in the river

  52. Jo Bryant

    if we never travel to the dead-end because it goes nowhere – we miss the discoveries waiting for us on the return

  53. nan

    bald eagle overhead,
    all swooping wings,
    crosses route 41 at an angle
    toward Skaneateles Lake —
    half-frozen white and half reflectant
    of rays of the sun

  54. Catherine van Vliet-Saivres

    small stone 15: opening the curtains this morning, a pinkish sky and dark trees silhouettes at a distance, noticing a turtledove perched on the highest branch of our birch. Serenity omnipresent!

  55. Cathy

    The gypsy psychic from down the street came in with two sisters and a niece to buy evil eye charms. Pulled a wad of $100 bills out of her cleavage. The niece bought something too, incense I think. I gave her the change and she said, “I don’t do pennies.”

  56. Elizabeth Howard

    We’re back.
    We never left.
    Songs silenced.
    Windows stripped.
    One last dead needle
    Plucked from a sock.

    We’re back,
    The Big Room, now
    Mostly empty. Two
    Chairs, one piano
    A box of crayons.

    We return to
    A holy plain
    Day, lit by
    Trapezoid sun
    On hardwood floor.

  57. susan christensen

    Looking out the window
    of the taxi to the airport
    still dark at 9am
    minus 15 and ice fog
    and the bare trees bursting up
    from the snow banks
    like fountains of frost

  58. Michelle

    Judging by the finger licking and the moans of mmm-mmm-mmm and the half empty pan of freshly baked and barely cooled lemon bars, I did my Grandma’s recipe justice.

  59. Lanita

    Typing out the year, I pause halfway, to recalculate in my head, and all of a sudden ‘666’ appears. 

    I remind myself I’m using a touch screen keyboard. 

    I tell myself that the keys react to even the slightest touch. 

    I nearly make myself believe that a finger must have been hovering close enough above the number key, that it felt my warmth and reacted.

    I’m almost convinced I don’t believe in ridiculous, superstitious omens. 


  60. Noodle Notes

    “Futility Haiku”

    (Stone #15 by Rhonda L. Johnson)

    Stripped of its beauty
    Our evergreen rained needles
    In a vain torrent

  61. Nancy

    The new game virtual game of chicken
    we play on long drives, just us two:
    How long can you go without a word?
    As you man the wheel and I take my turn as iPod deejay, which song can I play that makes you sing along?

  62. Shamanic Winds

    “Take time in CELEBRATING something once every month with your loved one — it doesn’t have to be their Birthday or a special Holiday. Each and every day spent one way or another with the people we love and/or our our spouse or lover. Each month, my fiance and I show our love for one another through the celebration of the date of our anniversary when we first went out. We express this love through simplicity: exchanging a card, dining out, spending time together just the two of us. Make each day special, but at the same time, celebrate a time in the month where there can be time alone spent with your loved one(s).”

    ~Indigenous Shamanic Winds

  63. Pam

    Winter Sunset

    the sun hangs stranded
    atop the horizon
    time suspended
    golden light
    like a jazz coronet
    singing out that one warm note
    into eternity

    Pamela Olson, 1/15/2012

  64. Anne Weizel

    A single leaf ,
    Yellow and brown
    Looking remarkably like a lonely fish,
    Floating dreamily under glassy, strands of thin ice.
    Moving steadily,but alone
    In the bleak cold.

  65. Mary

    Cold winds swirl,
    wrapping around me.
    Seen in my breath,
    exhaled like smoke.
    A gentle quiver
    runs through my body.

  66. De

    Lone scrappy scrubby tree
    has the audacity to poke twigged head
    out from between two scarlet rocks
    undaunted by lack of soil, water, hope.
    I watch,
    take notes.

  67. John Ross Barnes

    Small stones #15 Recalling red tails in KS, how they prefer to nest high in sycamore trees, next to creeks. How they watch from fence posts.

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