The River of Stones: post your 17th Jan small stones here

This is the 17th 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 17th small stone of the challenge in the comments below.

“The concrete is better than the abstract. The detail is better than the commonplace. The sensual [through the senses] is better than the intellectual. The visual is better than the mental.”
~ Ellen Hunnicutt

Comments & replies

88 thoughts on “The River of Stones: post your 17th Jan small stones here

  1. Ems

    stepping over each brown crisp leaf

    scattered across the lush wet green grass

    my path zigzags over the ground

    and takes my feet further than they need

    but the focusing on each tiny leaf

    and its own tiny cosmos

    and my longer happier route

    is worth every tiny fragile vein

    sketched upon each vibrant little leaf

    and every tiny little smile that escapes

    from between my cold red lips.

  2. T

    Thank you for helping me clean my desk,
    But my coffee goes here
    (Where you’ve placed this stack of notepads).
    And under my coffee,
    Goes that marble coaster.
    (The one from Ireland! It was from a friend.
    There’s a small shamrock etched in the middle!
    You really have to study it to notice.)
    No other coaster will do.
    Thank you for helping me clean my desk,
    But I can’t find my special notebook…
    The one with the embroidered cover.
    I write in it just before I fall asleep.
    I’m sure it’s in one of these NEAT STACKS.
    Thank you for helping me clean my desk.
    We’re obsessive, but in different ways.
    You’ve eliminated the chaos,
    But you’ve reduced me.

  3. elisa

    I struggled out of my hypnotizing bed,
    The sky dark and the clock reads 5:50am,
    My spirit resolved, my soul immune to the daily life. To its beauty.
    I took a warm and cold shower and my spirit seems more resolved. Eager even.
    The day is long but my spirit is resolved to plunge through the day armed with hope, positivity and her dreams.

  4. Kate

    They held their corner of conversation, the tall bearded fellow in the hunting cap and the wee wizrd-fellow in a red plaid shirt. They crinkled at each other as their companions took turns being gracious. By the third round of coffee and the second of pie, they had reached an agreement over the heads

  5. Bodhirose

    Felt so tired today…after a long-enough sleep last night…I still needed a nap. Sita curled up with me to keep me company.


    In the kitchen

    Clear the counters

    Clean with caustic

    Scour, sweat, scowl

    Bash the Brillo

    Sing Cinderella

  7. Sandra Davies

    Scraping frost from the glass
    white from black interior
    I see another version
    of Tony Bevan’s ‘Rafters’

  8. Anne Weizel

    I gasp in shock, when I open the drawer, a bright,red, dogs leash ,caked with mud, sits defiantly on top of my clean silverware. My autistic son’s version of organization. Showing me with a jolt, some of the difficulties to come.

  9. J Cosmo Newbery

    Forty expected today, quite unpleasantly hot;
    That’s one oh four in the old Fahrenheit scale.
    Air-conditioned, the cinemas seem just the spot
    To escape from reality, in all it’s over heated detail.

  10. Revlahart

    Frosty cars
    rosy clouds in
    a sky of thin blue.
    In the cozy indoors
    I awake coughing,
    sneezing, achey.

  11. Kylie

    A water meter, painted a pleasing blue, hunches up out of a neat rectangle of lawn
    I wonder at the subterranean world of pipes, drains and cables beneath my feet

  12. Fi

    Open Sky

    The sky is white like the frosty pavements below, filled with wintry clouds that hold back the sunlight and bring a chill to my muscles. Behind the veil above I hear the sound of engines, an aeroplane flying through an unseen open sky.

  13. Roz Cawley

    Mindfully, I cube the wholemeal bread crusts
    Add grated cheese, sunflower seeds, mealworms.
    A tub of seed for the pheasant;
    Peanuts in a jug – to top up the feeder.

    Stepping out onto the rime-crusted, rock-hard earth
    I replenish the tray for the ground-feeders
    The eye level tray for the others.

    Refill the water bowls.

    Back in the conservatory, as I watch –
    Already a quivering queue in the trees,
    Amongst the bushes, on the grass.

    Mindlessly, tears run down my cheek.
    Dear fellow beings – do you know how much I love you?

  14. nan

    dark before dawn —
    snow outside my window
    illuminated by the street light
    shadows of trees
    and the only sound
    is that of the furnace
    quietly humming and blowing warm air
    through the house vents

    [*I love to wake before sunrise in the winter. The quietwaking time after sleep is peaceful.]

  15. Belinda @ Wild Acre

    Nature, even in its tiniest, quietest corners
    is cradled by an unseen, symbiotic web of numbers.
    Exquisite art, exquisite science
    blended by a maths so pure, so infinite
    that beauty seen is only fleeting inflorescence
    amid the never ending flow of perfect counting.
    Material moments in that numeric spiral,
    deliciously caught in light and protons
    delight my eye and cause my soul to sing.

  16. poetcolette

    Apples, oranges, and bananas,
    from various parts of the country and the world beyond,
    congegrate in a bowl on my kitchen counter.

    The Moon, the Sun, and some stars,
    from scattered parts of the solar system and the cosmos beyond,
    hang out together in a sculpture on my wall.

  17. Claudine G.

    Listening to a mournful piano piece and a clear, bell-spirited voice. Quiet sorrow. Eyes revealing Hurt. Pain that you’re sure no one else knows. You don’t need them to understand either. You might not even want them to find out. About that precious pain that belongs solely to you. What if, you kind of like it, that no one will know or find out?

  18. Beth

    In the silent dewy dawn
    a slight mist is hovering.
    Posing in my driveway
    is a white and tan plumpish rabbit staring at me.
    We lock eyes in a wordless greeting.

  19. Jill

    Small Stone: Surprise Snow

    Maybe it had been forecast and I just wasn’t paying attention, but on a later than normal walk at City Park, we are surprised by the snow. It falls slowly at first, but quickly gets more intense. Some people at the park are exercising in shorts, so I guess they hadn’t expected snow either.

    Half way around the park, the snow and wind are blowing hard enough I have to look down at my feet, can’t easily see or breathe if I look straight ahead. The snow muffles everything, turning the park cold, white, and quiet.

    With pictures.

  20. John Ross Barnes

    5am The ring is very loud. #amwritiing miniscule bits and pieces. All my weary and troubled mind seems capable of right now.

  21. Walt Wojtanik

    The flash of a single photograph
    is a memory sealed in time.
    A moment shared and cherished;
    sometimes that’s all that we get.

  22. Jojo

    Today the stone morphs into boulder
    heavy and oppressive as a dark cloud.
    It takes all my strength to nudge it uphill.
    Self-pity saps the soul.

  23. R.S. Bohn

    rain water pools in the dips
    and cracked basins of the driveway
    clear water, cold, a spa for
    winter ghosts

  24. Cathy

    I’m trying to remember what it felt like to kiss my husband, and to be kissed–his hands on my waist, Viking beard brushing against my chin, the baby hair I used to love to touch, the arrangement of noses. But the part about the mouths escapes my memory.

  25. quillfyre

    3 Kokopellis dance,
    each casts three shadows,
    a distortion of design
    and light. If I could
    hear their flutes,
    how many notes would play?

    Carol A. Stephen

  26. Kathleen Brewin Lewis

    Cold, clear days look like picture postcards: all shiny and bright-blue-skyed. It is the naked trees that tell the real story.

  27. Lesley

    The conversation was important so I wrote it down, taking copious notes in one of my green, hard backed journals. For days now I have spent frustrated hours on fruitless searches – over shelves, through drawers and rummaging in my mind – until I even doubt the green book. Maybe they were on loose leaves of lined paper? Fretting fills up neural pathways, overtakes my silent time, and now I cannot hold all the words in my head. They are falling away like grains of sand. The one I want begins with ‘dis’. I’m sure it does, but then I was sure about the green book.

  28. Shamanic Winds

    Windblown Spirits Whispering Through the Sacred Trees

    Looking out beyond the Fog
    the misty rain falls densely
    upon the bare branches that
    await their rebirth in the woods.

    Their arms reach out as the
    wind blows gently, swaying
    back and forth — reaching out
    for something concrete and tangible.

    They can only feel
    the whispering of the breeze
    touching their delicate bark
    and know they must sense
    a note of change in the air —

    And as they twist towards
    the center of their being,
    the water courses down their
    body and into the depths of
    roots in the Earth in replenishment.

    It is then they know
    and understand
    the Sacredness of Spirit
    has whispered their
    Song and Dance
    to the Windblown Trees
    In the Woods.

    ~Indigenous Shamanic Winds

  29. Marian Veverka

    The sky -a practical shade of cement gray covers everything.
    The earth – Grass! am incredible shade of bright spring green
    The atmosphere – wind following early morning storms of heavy rain and thunder
    The wind – Backing from east to north to north west. Now the air feels cold. The grass shivers and bends closer to the ground. The atmosphere smells of approaching snow.

  30. Karen

    the sound of the rain’s rhythmatic beat
    synchronizes my thoughts
    orchestrating harmonious activity
    from the cacophony in my mind

  31. Connie L. Peters

    Mounds of snow
    Like plump doves perching
    Soft, silent
    Tangled, maze
    Black branches, silver-blue white
    Lovely work of art

  32. francesca perry

    Tea Ceremony Stone

    Keys on table
    Bag on chair
    Kiss kiss everything ok?
    Kiss kiss fine
    Kettle on
    Washing machine on
    Ok? You just asked! Oh ok
    Hot water into teapot hot water from teapot into mug empty teapot two pinches of green leaves in pot, wait, ok hot water from mug back into teapot and…

    Now. Here. Finally.
    Three minutes and the world slows, and I’m looking at the turquoise glaze of the pot lid,
    and I’m breathing slowly
    and looking at the reflected lights winking and twinkling on the surface of the creamy worktop and I’m thinking tea.

  33. Robin

    Sheets of rain dash across the surface of the pond, driven by bursts of wind. Streamlets of mud snake their way downhill, bleeding into the water, great brown blotches spreading out across the grayish-green reflection from the sky. Spruce trees shimmy and shake to the tune of the whistling wind while a chorus of traveling geese honk overhead. Raindrops caught in the twisted branches of bare trees hang like jewels. The wind careens through the wildflower meadow, dried grasses and flowers pitching and swaying, blurring and blending, the storm creating its own exhibit: Rainy Day Abstracts in the Meadow. It smells like spring has come for an early and temporary visit. Winter will return tonight, riding in with the wind.

  34. Lightverse

    wet punctuation
    and diacritical marks …
    accent-weathered deck

    Did you ever notice that precipitation which settles on one’s backyard deck forms its own private language? I’m not talking about the music (or white noise, if you prefer) of the raindrops here, but rather, written word. Of sorts.

    See, I think that somehow, the wet spatter and icy crystals give secret clues on how to read (silently or out loud) the message.

    My dog likes to go out on the deck in this dreary weather for some strange reason. Well, strange to me, anyway. When she does this, she seems to just stand and stare. I’m not sure at what she is staring, but perhaps she reads the cryptic messages and subsequently understands much more than I will ever hope to ‘get.’

  35. Lindsay

    A patch of sunlight glows on the top right-hand corner of the pine door. I imagine the glow spreading, growing, flowing. Its promise warms my thoughts.

  36. Michelle

    an absolute for all living creatures
    but memories linger
    and written words can last …

  37. DrS

    hoar, like fresh wood shavings
    star-like umbrellas of ice on glass
    bright sun but dull flat cold at minus twelve

  38. Leslee

    Blue patches stitched with cloud silk, enough for a Dutchman’s pants: clearing. Matrilineal thread of lore, me at the loose end.

  39. Patricia Anne McGoldrick

    January 17

    Fog frames silver maple today.
    No red cardinals are caught in the sway of my lens.

  40. Laurie Kolp

    Nature’s connect the dots:
    a bevy of crows ~ dark spots
    in a winter-stripped tree ~ pencilled-in lines
    on a cloudy day ~ white paper.
    What will you see?

  41. Josephine Faith Gibbs

    Morning Interjection

    Dim edge of dawn
    beyond these walls
    chickadee’s bright note.


  42. Belinda @ Wild Acre

    Eek, the word ‘protons’ in my small stone should read ‘photons’ – science faux pas!!

  43. searching serendipity

    Jan 17 Stone(s)
    Yesterday (16th) wrote quite a few..
    boulders ,grains of sand, even pebbles but could not manage a stone!

    But 2 for today:

    Walking beside a stream moving towards its source hear the sound of labouring effort – uphill. Returning the other way the trickle, splash and flow over obstacles is smoother. The sound is faster, even rushed – a downhill noise.

    Even leafless trees make very good umbrellas in a drizzle!

  44. Larry Piper

    The mother of the wild, mop-topped, red headed twins
    tells me the snow is beautiful.
    So beautiful in fact,
    her shoveling is merely adult snow play.
    Beautiful, perhaps last night,
    as its falling created a fuzzy cast
    to the gentle orange sodium street lights.
    In the morning light of the cold winter sun,
    harshley muted now by scattered clouds,
    I scrape 4 millimeters off the steps, grimly,
    heedless of the mop-tops’ mother’s admonition,
    hoping rather that my friend, Sol,
    comes out to finish the job.

  45. Persephone!

    With so much paperwork to deal with. It was a good thing that the Postman
    had not delivered any mail for three days.

  46. Anne Stormont (@writeanne)

    Twenty nine of them now. Twenty nine times that I’ve been taken back to that cold, snowy morning. The two-year-old whisked from her bed and taken next door. The car, the ambulance, the pain. The operating theatre – and then, “It’s a boy!” said the midwife. “We don’t have boys in my family,” I said. “You do now!” said the doctor. And I marvelled, instantly in love – my perfect wee son. And every 17th of January, I’m taken right back there to marvel once more. Happy Birthday, son.

  47. Leslie Waugh

    At the bottom of my breath
    black space
    hangs over the precipice
    of the choice
    to let in new air
    and loosen the ancient knot
    just as waves roll in and glide out
    the wind laps at the soul
    channeling currents of possibility

  48. isobelandcat

    I’ve worn the pedometer all day. I was given it as part of the short course I started yesterday; a nice blend of Pilates and walking. I’ve been on my feet most of the day. There’s been some cycling; lots of going up and down stairs; general walking back and forth; a short but brisk walk this evening. The top doesn’t open at first. I look at the face expectantly, then frown and look again: one hundred and twelve recorded steps.

  49. Debbie

    A Christmas present from my brother,
    I spent this evening in 1982
    with the Kids from Fame.
    I still remember the words to all the songs.

  50. Gypsy-K

    The avocado with blackish brown rough crinkled skin, sliced vertcally open around its round wood-like stone, reveals creamy flesh tinged pale lemon but mostly brown.

  51. Zin Walker

    Le debris d’un poete

    Le poete
    ramasse ses feuilles

    en reprend une
    une autre

    les poemes

    des plumes qui tombent
    en l’air

    forme d’effraie.

  52. -k

    Probably best to keep your distance. Today’s small stone is slippery with sneeze droplets, mucus and ignominious snot.

  53. Hildred and Charles

    A small stone from the Similkameen
    January 17th, 2012

    A fine snow, swirling in great gusts eastgward.
    The small bird scurry for cover
    in the friendly pines.

    Posted by Hildred and Charles at 5:34 PM

  54. Nancy

    The buzzards, taking a break
    from their slow circling, converge
    on a long branch, which cracks
    under their weight, sending them
    flapping in all directions before
    resuming their ominous rounds,
    like truant boys flushed from
    the pool hall, back on the streets.

  55. basho42

    and this is how to get through this experience;
    Today is my last day…and I immediately feel so
    buoyant and it helps me get to 5 pm. From here on
    out every day will be my last day. Is this another
    way of saying stay in the present? Playing
    tricks with my mind to stay sane.

  56. Elizabeth Howard

    My neighbor I don’t
    Know him, except he
    Grins and hellos us
    On our way to school.

    My neighbor he parks
    Beater cars in the
    Road, rims resting
    On blacktop.

    My neighbor wears
    Dark hoodies, and has scruff
    On his face. If he has a wife,
    I’ve never seen her.

    My neighbor I don’t
    Know him, except this
    Long rail fence we pass by
    Which, I notice,

    He repairs
    For the sake of, it seems,
    The beautifully organized
    Orange coneflowers

    That lean on the rails
    Come September,
    And clingy
    Morning glories which

    The kids marvel at–
    How different they can
    Be from evening to day.

  57. De

    The trickling bathwater over head
    draining away the draining day
    is a flowing, glowing song that says
    in just a little while these
    maddening creatures will be in bed
    and I will have
    quiet house and hot hubbie
    to myself.

  58. Judith C Evans

    For the first time this week, my husband smiles with his eyes. I will have to bake more sugar-free chocolate cupcakes.

  59. Michelle

    The trees are alive with birds….round, plump, fluffy feathered birds….perching on tree limbs, snow falling. They look cold. Maybe we should invite them in? We’ll send the invitation out via the dogs….funny thing, no takers. The sky is alive with birds in fright.

  60. susan christensen

    We stop on the bridge.
    In the bitter darkness
    cold stars glare down.
    Rising tide
    makes ice music.

  61. wordrustling

    ~ON SET~

    Morning script
    Written in black
    And burst of white.
    Fresh snow spells
    Crisp contrast,
    Layers of foliage
    Found in the effect.
    Night brings rain.
    Reflecting light,
    Limbs dripping silver.
    Dark curtain closes
    Cloud covering moon,
    Stage set for dreamscape.

    © Hannah Gosselin and Metaphors and Smiles, 2012.

  62. Lynn Tatro

    Mom has a brand new knee. The old knee worn from scrubbing floors and bending in prayer, from climbing stairs carrying stock for the shelves and from kneeling to pull up daughters’ knee-highs. What serves can become weak and painful.

  63. Lanita

    It didn’t wither or turn brittle in it’s death, like a leaf, or frond, or petal;  instead, the cactus decomposed from the inside out, leaving a hollow – but fully intact – spiny grey shell, ready to deflate at the slightest touch.

  64. Noodle Notes

    “Sublime Duet”

    (Stone #17 by Rhonda L. Johnson)

    Cradled in the ethereal
    light from the television,
    we lounge together at the
    close of this dreary winter day,
    arms looped together like the
    knotted center of a figure eight,
    breathing connected in a
    sublime duet in perfect rhythm

  65. John Ross Barnes

    #17 Sitting in the waiting room, which is louder, The Ring or the white noise machines? Um, The Ring. #amwriting #tinnitus

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