The River of Stones: post your 16th Jan small stones here

This is the 16th 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 16th small stone of the challenge in the comments below.

“Writing is like a bird-watcher watching for birds: The stories are there: you just have to train yourself to look for them.”
~ Barbara Micheals

Comments & replies

89 thoughts on “The River of Stones: post your 16th Jan small stones here

  1. T

    Tiny black wasper legs
    climb up my curtains of cream.
    He seems to be an early scout
    For the other creepy things.
    He’ll freeze…no doubt!
    But he’s a little messenger from spring.
    And he’s buzzing his promising tune,
    And I can’t help but be happy to see him.

  2. elisa choi

    The constant breaking through. The scaling of old cells and shells. The fidgeting of one’s soul. The movement of the huge egg from its comfort zone to the ground. The first few broken pieces of me coming out.

  3. poetcolette

    Spring cleaning
    old paperwork
    back of envelope
    “Mary Jane Stone”
    my handwriting

    Wracking memory
    did I know her?
    Then it hit me —
    had to laugh.
    At the name.
    At myself.

  4. bodhirose

    Tragic family news of the sudden loss of a loved one has me feeling disbelief and shock. So very sorry for all those feeling such deep grief and sorrow. Rest in peace sweet, Allison.

  5. Judith Richards Shubert

    Discovered Pearls

    Reading old news clippings
    Faces and names jumped out at me
    Charcoal dresses with red accessories
    It’s a Christmas wedding
    What a joyful party!

    The bride wore a waltz length gown of white
    With a finger-tip length veil falling from a pearl studded tiara
    From an old family scrapbook
    This newly discovered piece of my past
    Will add another layer of self to my memory.

  6. alfred booth

    a complete palette of blues, mottled with a pastel fluttering of pink, orange and violet
    I gently close the water color box
    I’ve no talent to imitate such perfect harmony

    pale imitations

  7. Beth

    My artist journal is always by my side with glue,pens,paints and pastels.I paste,draw,line leading to line,my eyes,mind and hand taking over,waiting for the “wow” moment.

  8. Helen Lewis

    Wash day anti-blues

    these towels I’m folding fresh from the line
    feel like love and smell like sunshine

  9. J Cosmo Newbery

    Many years ago, when she was going into town,
    My grandmother had a special city-only treat:
    A pork and pineapple sandwich, white not brown,
    From a small shop, just off Flinders Street.

    In her memory, I made such a meal,
    With some of the left over weekend roast,
    It’s the closest I come to genealogical zeal,
    And to my Granny, I raised a silent toast.


    Hayley Bank
    One-acre meadow
    In the midst of
    Glinting rime frost fields
    Overlooked by
    And overlooking
    The Malverns

  11. Kuvalaya

    gray blue mist hovers under smoldering sunset. a single frosted tree in the middle of an empty field.

  12. Kylie

    outside: a truck rattles and wheezes hydraulic puffs
    inside: dots of darkness swim around me
    further inside: a restless night’s sleep leaves me grainy at the eyes

  13. Gypsy-K

    Three-day cut grass, littered with mottled, moth-eaten gum leaves turning from grass green to olive to patchy tan under the summer sun. The remnants of cut grass, clumped and drying. Scents of fresh compost.

  14. Jojo

    Blue Monday
    The cold adds thick frosting
    to the wall in the back yard.
    A blackbird and a starling
    go breast to breast mid air
    a stand off over fancy bird food.
    Sharing is a luxury, a survival trick
    not yet clocked in avian brain.
    Or anybody’s, maybe.

  15. Claudine Gueh

    Worrying about cockroaches crashing my house makes my shoulders stiffen and rise, my ears anxious and alert, my eyes nervously darting around each square of sight in front of me, and my back prickle in fear.

    But breathing makes me go inward, pay attention to the tensions in my body, clear the clouds in my head, and cleanse the unsettled spirit.

  16. Lesley

    A heart can beat. It can beat a little faster, or at a smooth steady rate. It can stop altogether. What is cannot do is sink, or leap into your mouth. So why does it feel as if it misses a beat when the telephone rings at an unexpected hour?

    In the time it takes to stumble downstairs a thousand thoughts carousel around the brain, running through every family member, starting with aging parents and a husband on the road.

    Floodgates open on hearing an automated voice, but grateful relief is rapidly replaced by the milder worry of unexpected activity on a bank account.

  17. Fi

    Coffee Shop Community

    I breathe in the warmth of the coffee shop, newspaper unfolded on the table, latte in hand. Coffee fumes and the scent of steamed milk envelop us all, the coffee shop community.

    Cups and saucers clatter in harmony with the chatter of my companions. A young mother asks for a skinny latte as her baby reaches to be held. An elderly couple sip in silence, the man looking longingly at my newspaper. The woman next to me waits for her order, wrapped up in her scarf and her thoughts.

    I savour the bitter, creamy heat of my drink in this stolen moment before plunging into the cold walk home.

  18. Mel Horrod

    Unfolding the duvet cover releases a smell of washing liquid. Cleanliness and freshness, soap and lavender. There is a system to getting the fluffy cloud-like winter duvet into its cover, but somewhere, always, something goes awry and there is a need to climb inside the giant cloud-balloon and smooth in all the edges. There is something so serene here. Light seeps in through the thin fabric and reflects the whiteness and amplifies the peace and the stillness and, just for a second, there is silence amongst the chaos of bed-changing day.

  19. Jill

    Getting in bed for the night, I notice the pattern my book light makes on the wall. It reminds me of light broken, rippling and refracted, reflecting in a pool of water, a puddle, a lake, the river, the ocean. With picture.

  20. Nancy

    Although we’d trot out the old cliché,
    calling her a woman of few words,
    she drinks them in, eyes speeding
    across the pages of books. She doles
    them out, small notes, just the right
    words chosen for those who need them.
    Today, though,we delighted in our surprise,
    rendering her—once again—speechless.

  21. Connie L. Peters

    Sometimes amidst clutter and busyness
    Someone stops and buys you roses
    Somehow making it all worthwhile

  22. Roz Cawley

    On the back road to Hungerford – the smashed surface of a frozen puddle, scattered across the road like glittering, broken glass. A pheasant, flashing iridescent plumage of auburn and burnished gold in the low winter sun, tentatively picks its way through the shards.

  23. quillfyre

    percussive sound,
    then cold on fingers
    becomes warm,
    becomes hot.
    water runs
    down back
    muscles lose
    tension, arc
    into stream
    with the water
    with the warm of it
    with the wash—
    morning shower.

    Carol A. Stephen

  24. Walt Wojtanik

    Silence pervades the depth
    of a restful sleep, keeping
    dreams serene and filling the mind
    with every good thought brought to bare.
    It is there that I find my comfort.

  25. Shamanic Winds

    “The question is not ‘can you make a difference?’ You already do make a difference. It’s just a matter of what kind of difference you want to make.” ~Julia Butterfly Hill

    “CONTENTEDNESS (for our new puppy, Ollie)is knowing that he can sleep safe and sound in his new Home without worry nor fear.”

    ~Indigenous Shamanic Winds

  26. Robin

    there is a poem
    (a book, a song)
    by Leonard Cohen
    Dance Me to the End of Love

    and we have learned
    as we have danced
    over these many years
    that there is no
    End of Love

    Happy Birthday to my dance partner.

  27. Patricia Anne McGoldrick

    January 16

    Calendar X marks the spot.
    Reminds to observe
    Martin Luther King Jr. Day with peace.

  28. Marian Veverka

    Time to remove the last of the holiday decorations and return some displaced houseplants to their home on the windowsill. A few have not survived the temporary locations (which had less sun) and have gone to that Great Botanical Garden in the sky. All of them look unhappy with some brown leaves and bare stalks I give them water and a small shot of plant food. Now that they have returned to their accustomed places, hopefullly they will perk up.

  29. Lindsay

    Holiday caravans stand in uniform rows beside the river. In the cemetery next door, gravestones stand in uniform rows. My gaze flits from caravans to graves, from graves to caravans. Not really so much difference, I decide.

  30. Lightverse

    art on Post-It notes
    inked hearts and happy faces:
    billet-doux from kids


    This morning, I looked at my bulletin board. There are buttons and pins on it which commemorate past events. Photos and postcards from assorted times and places are held in situ by giant push-pins, lodged deep into the cork. These things call back memories like an old melody or a long forgotten cinnamon-y scent.

    But the one thing that, for me, stands out beyond the rest (and is also one of my favorite things) is kid-art. Sometimes drawn on torn sheets of loose-leaf paper, sometimes scribbled on now-faded construction paper and sometimes sketched on brightly colored Post-It notes, they are little love notes from my kids…and when my muse gazes up at them, she is suddenly inspired, and so am I.

  31. basho42

    Fresh wet snow, wash me clean. So raw inside it hurts to think. Buddha Maitreya chant soothing balm. The intimacy of the rawness takes me back to the beginningness of my choices to be in this body. I take note of the sweetness and gentleness of this image over five decades old. We were leaning into one another.

  32. Cathy

    The little boy who used to live in this house, the one who liked to nail plastic soldiers to pieces of wood and then burn them, has vanished. In his place, there’s a window sticker that says PROUD PARENT OF A SOLDIER–a gift from the recruiter.

  33. Debbie

    Sunday afternoon on our way out to lunch, A hot air balloon.
    And for once, serendipity.
    We were able to stop the car and park.

    Up close
    I expect I would have heard the roar of the burners,
    the voices of the passengers.
    But from where I stood
    it was beautifully soundless

  34. Karen

    >>>>U< <<< i answered the phone
    not expecting to hear YOU
    on the other end

    imagine my shock
    as i listened to a voice
    almost forgotten

    at a loss for words
    i sat silently, waiting
    for you to hang up

  35. Hildred and Charles

    A small stone from the Similkameen
    January 16th, 2012

    Jewel Soup

    Discs of amber carrot
    a little emerald brocolli
    and ruby red peppers,

    pearly onion, golden corn,
    simmered gently
    in chicken stock –

    priceless lunch…….

    Posted by Hildred and Charles at 11:15 AM

  36. Lorianne

    Another frigid morning. The dog and I briskly circle the block while the cats map the warmest radiators and sunniest windows.

  37. pattisjarrett

    Crisp, cold Monday. Wood smoke and contented bird twittering fill the air. A thick sheet of ice floats in the birdbath. Returning indoors for warmth, the smell of smoke lingers.

  38. Jo Bryant

    I hear the purple as it floats by in the sunlight’s slow moving current

    diving in eyes closed

    the smell seeps in to all the pores of my skin

  39. Rena J. Traxel

    If I were a painting would I be painted with love? Could I sit still collecting dust? Would I blush every time you stopped to gaze? Could I spend my days lying about?

    I could be young and beautiful like the day you first saw me. But it’s not in my nature to be quite or still. I’m impatient, and young, and a bit crazy too.

    I want to grow old with gray in my hair. I want to laugh and learn and be by your side. Time could stay still, but we would lose out. On a life we promised on a cold fall day.

    Let’s wrinkle together and lose our hair. Put our dentures in a cup and kiss goodnight. Let’s hold hands in public and teach our children to love.

    I cannot paint but I can write. So my dear boy this is for you. Always and forever engraved on your ring, a token of love like your painting of me.

  40. W J Wood

    Puffing like an oldtime train I walked in the bitter cold to get milk for my coffee, and very pleased with my winter coat for keeping so warm.

  41. Kathleen Jones

    Apostrophe – a tear-shaped Greek anomaly signifying absence or possession; a plea, a turning away. Misunderstood. Beloved of pedants and greengrocers.

  42. Belinda @ Wild Acre

    small stones 14,15,16

    hope made botanical.

    The river is iced, solidified,
    halted by nothing more than air.

    It is not the tea itself I really love,
    or the frothy coffee, or hot chocolate milk,
    it is the warm cup in my hands, the heat seeping into my curled fingers,
    the radius of comfort for me alone.

  43. SharonW


    The geese fly overhead, complain and call
    and argue with each other. “Let’s go south!”
    “We are!” “No, over that way, that’s our route!”
    “No, stupid, that way, where the sun comes up!”
    The vees split, circle, get nowhere. It doesn’t
    matter. Soon they’ll splash down onto their home pond.
    They think they ought to migrate but in fact
    they’ve never left the county, not these geese,
    their parents, or their parents’ parents. Day
    by day they fly and honk to exercise their wings.

    On my blog at

  44. Larry Piper

    Venturing out with my friends,
    I saw what seemed surely to be bleak midwinter:
    the sky a forbidding mottled gray,
    the trees black and bare.
    But, I heard no frosty wind making moan,
    perhaps due to the maturity of my ears,
    and the perpetual buzz of locusts therein,
    at all hours and in all seasons.
    The earth, too, not remotely hard as iron;
    water, however, was indeed like a stone:
    multiple hockey games careened across
    the submerged soccer fields of summer,
    a plethora of poop on the banks the only signs
    of our myriad goose and duck friends of yore.

  45. Anne Stormont (@writeanne)

    Sabre-sharp peaks along the distinctive razor ridge. Black granite and gabbro – a layered and timeless geology – guarding the island. Always there when I step out the door into the morning, into life. Sometimes hidden by the mist, but not today. Today the Cuillin stands stark, snow-topped and steadfast. A personal sentinel.

  46. -k

    The prairie sews a patchquilt of subdued browns, grays and golds, slipping in an occasional stitch of red dogwood.


    smallstone: cat

    i don’t know what you

    are so delighted with! the

    snow is my enemy advancing

    into my territory. turning my

    home into a crystal wasteland.

    make it go away.


  48. Snowbourne

    It is peculiar how one person breathes easier behind a mask
    of concealment that would only
    serve to smother another.

  49. Lorelei

    Tiny scrolling branches of two elms entwined and tangled over the street, reaching, touching, as close as they can ever get.

    ~Laura Hoopes

  50. Leslie Waugh

    A return
    can be a beginning
    not a white flag
    of failure
    fallow ground may burrow
    deeply under winter’s brittle shroud
    but what you don’t see
    is that it’s marinating
    for a rebirth
    so stop
    look up
    and never assume that tonight’s sunset
    will repeat its brilliance

  51. Richard Cody

    It’s cool in the valley,
    beneath the trees,
    where the sun never penetrates
    the canopy of leaves.

  52. De

    Did you hear it?
    That breathed breeze,
    those gossiping trees
    giggling about some stray sparrow
    from the other side of the power lines
    some hummingbird song unsung.
    Your name was mentioned;
    are you listening?

  53. wordrustling

    ~I LOVE~

    The way you rumple
    Your eye-lashes
    With your tiny
    Plump pointer-finger.
    Drinking deeply
    Rich nutrients
    Soothing hormones
    Releasing oneself,
    Relinquishing wakefulness
    Suckled into baby dreamland.

    © Hannah Gosselin and Metaphors and Smiles, 2012.

  54. Michelle

    That’s not the way I do it, I think as I watch him wash the dishes. But I will bit my tongue because if he is washing the dishes, that means I am not.

  55. forever dorothy

    I go about so pre-occupied with my troubles
    i don’t notice the mountains circling us
    protecting us
    so we must protect them

  56. Kelly E

    That muffled drum-roll sound my dog’s ears make when he shakes water from his fur: Would I still love the sound if I did not love him so much?

  57. susan christensen

    Heading out:
    suspended in crystal, the waning moon
    hangs in the morning sky.
    Returning, she’s a flake of ivory
    embedded in opal.

  58. Revlahart

    Peter sets the
    cut cucumber spears
    on the table.
    The scent of summer
    and fresh growing
    things fills
    the air even
    in the midst
    of winter.

  59. Noodle Notes


    (Stone #16 by Rhonda L. Johnson)

    a clamorous symphony of
    cellphone alarms, drills, and vacuums
    sings me from a feathered, drowsy sleep
    to face another week

  60. Lynn Tatro

    The wind always brings change. Chunks of sea ice collide into unbreakable ranges. Miles grow longer. Eventually, everything surrenders to the persistent wind.

  61. Persephone!

    Smiling as she watched them walking side by side, holding hands. One day, she thought, there will be room again.

  62. John Ross Barnes

    #16 So – if sound waves are capable of molecular changes to matter, might constant 8k MHz tinnitus ring change brain, or is wave even there?

  63. Steve Pardue

    Switching off

    Houses huddled
    And dark
    People frozen in
    A power cut
    Waiting for the switch
    A spark of life

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