The River of Stones: post your 18th Jan small stones here

This is the 18th 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 18th small stone of the challenge in the comments below.

“Art is a microscope which the artist fixes on the secrets of his soul and shows to people these secrets which are common to all.”
~ Leo Tolstoy

Comments & replies

82 thoughts on “The River of Stones: post your 18th Jan small stones here

  1. Sue

    Ragdoll Style

    The naturopath’s cat lies on the paving outside. He wishes to be alone, facing away from newcomers. “Miaow,” he says as I walk past without looking at me, but the swish of his tail suggests a disinclination to be patted.

    When I finish my appointment, he has moved to the couch inside. He sleeps ragdoll style, his legs hanging over the edge.

  2. T

    The happiest thing of the day
    Was that I bought a clothes pin bag
    And filled it with clothes pins!
    Now we’re ready for spring.
    It reminded me of last summer.
    I had just brought in some blankets from the line.
    My daughter asked me why I hung them out
    Instead of running them through the dryer.
    I told her that hanging them outside to dry
    Traps the summer and spring in the blanket.
    “Smell them,” I told her, “And you’ll smell spring.”
    She inhaled the blankets deeply.
    “I do! They smell like outside!
    They smell just like the gas from Pawpaw’s lawnmower!”

  3. Jo Bryant

    ‘Wait’, he calls to no-one who can hear

    as they ride wave after imperfect wave,

    a better one will come

    the perfect ride

    the slapping water tells him,

    hours later he paddles ashore,

    looking over the water


    if tomorrow perfection would be as elusive

  4. Elisa

    A man in his late 40s dressed in casual jeans and shirt. He went up on the bus, paid 12 bucks and heaved a huge sigh. He stood in the middle of the curious passengers. With a certain braveness he asked for our help for his child who is undergoing dialysis. I could feel the crack in his voice and his dire need of money. I started rummaging through my purse and after picking up 10 bucks I dropped them back and pull out a 20 peso bill. I was in tears as he thanked us and prepared to ride on another bus.

  5. Anne Weizel

    My split second, lapse in judgement
    Sent me hurling,
    In hot pursuit
    Of two floppy, eared, beagles
    One, old and pudgy, and the other young, and lean.

    My cloudy thinking,
    Telling me, I could let them run freely on the beach,
    Chose to forget,
    Their obsession with seagulls.

    My eyes, squeezed into tiny slits, to block the sun.
    Saw, in the distance, two, tiny, dark sillouettes, running, and bouncing,
    On the horizon of an endless white, and grey sky
    Their voices echoing loudly,
    Calling to each other,
    No longer in competition,
    Working as a team in their futile pursuit.
    To try to call them now
    Would be equally futile.

    I walk over wet, hard sand,, crossing tiny rivers, and stepping into deep mud.
    The, rough carpeting of shells and rocks., crunches, under my now, filthy sneakers.
    My hair squished by my hood, is limp and wet from soft, misty , rain.
    All dignity lost, an hour ago.

    Marching forward like a soldier,
    In rhythym to shrill animal cries,
    And the music, streaming from my headphones.
    I move slowly and steadily, trailing the dogs
    Grateful for their booming sound,
    knowing eventually they will tire out.
    And then, when total bleakness was setting in
    , Two ,smiling wet, hounds, caked in mud,
    came barreling towards me , tails wagging in unison.
    Living only for the moment,
    Having no clue about my fear of losing them
    To them-“Life is Good.”


    Mop head with new-fangled

    Twisted hairdo

    An ice-covered glittering pleat.

    Silvered galvanised bucket


    Glasslike splinter sticks


    Ice-suspended leaves

    Fiercely frozen

    Russet, ruby,

    Browns rich and murky

    Reach for the exit

    Chillingly stuck

    In a decorative study.

  7. Patricia Anne McGoldrick

    January 18

    Creamy coloured ears perk up
    on eleven year old pup
    when he hears the word

  8. J Cosmo Newbery

    Meryl, as always, was right on the mark
    But pools of light flicker as cell phones intrude
    And strangers beside me, crunched stuff in the dark;
    Is two hours too long to go without food?

  9. Helen Lewis

    Now and then

    A fly lies submerged in a pool of amber wax, re-enacting the death of a distant ancestor engulfed by tree sap.

  10. Kylie

    within the rectangle of my window is a crowd of straight lines – blinds, bricks, bars – and a towering wall of answering rectangles

  11. Debbie

    For days I have watched the hyacinths
    Growing inch by inch
    Slowly unfurling.
    I got up this morning to pretty blue flowers
    and no scent.

  12. poetcolette

           ~ Twice Krispies! ~

    As sunshine crept upon cold roof,
    the house snapped and crackled.
    As I turned to write down this observation,
    my joints crackled and popped.

  13. Lindsay

    You open your eyes. Red digits stare at you – 03:46. Oh no! The same time as last night and the night before. The digits are impassive, implacable, indifferent to your cry. What are you doing? No wonder you can’t sleep. You’re turning them into characters. They’re digits on a clock. They don’t feel anything. You turn away. Look back – 03:48. The 8 is jaunty, irrepressible – STOP!

  14. Linda Visman

    I sit on the grass and watch an ant
    scale the mountain of my shoe;
    a ladybird climbs a leaf blade
    and flies away when it reaches the top.

    How often do we even bother to see
    the creatures that live all about us;
    and how many of them do we destroy
    as we go about our own important business?

  15. bob

    The mangled bike crouches on a cement island in the middle of the intersection, its crumpled tires chained in perpetuity to a lightpost.

    Spraypainted white how many years ago, it’s now the color of greyish chalk, speckled with the grime of a city street.

    A solid spectre, waiting for the ghost of the cyclist who never finished their commute.

  16. Claudine G.

    A dear family home for the holidays. Laughter and talks between us. Insecurity and feelings of a neglected child amongst us. Baffled by how long a hurt like this lingers. Trying not to show it. Trying to bury it deeper. But won’t disown it. She has been ignored enough.

  17. Leslee

    If this winter’s winds were snow we’d have several feet by now. This morning it roars like a dorm party, every tree dancing.

  18. Jill

    Small Stone: Two Clocks

    Standing in the bathroom of my mostly quiet house, I hear the ticking of two clocks. Set to slightly different times, they sound out a call and response–one ticks and the other answers, half a second later. 86,400 times a day they do this, an ongoing conversation marking the passage of time, constant and dependable, until one or both’s battery dies and stops it, just like that. With picture.

  19. Walt Wojtanik

    In a cacophony of chaotic sound
    I can focus on a place deep within me,
    offering solace and comfort; a place where
    noise ceases and the music of a single heartbeat
    reminds me that all of life is a symphony
    composed by heart and by feeling.
    I am reeling with serenity. There’s plenty
    to go around. Listen for its sound.

  20. Fi

    The Letter

    I knew it was coming and I knew what it was as I opened the envelope. I felt my chest tighten as I unfolded the letter. I hoped for the best but, disappointingly, I found what I expected to find. My heart clenched, wrenched, twisted then released with my with-held breath. It was done and over and last year. I refolded the letter and put it away.

  21. R.S. Bohn

    cottony hiss of the humidifier
    burble of the aquarium
    even with the tv on
    I can still hear her labored breathing

  22. Roz Cawley

    Cold sausages in the fridge – how they sing to me a Siren song; the remains of last night’s home-made treacle tart call out my name!
    I nobly resist as I empty the Tesco shopping bags, falling at the last hurdle of Chocolate Limes and Cornish Fudge (only one of each, you understand!).

  23. Laurie Kolp

    He said we’d have to eat the sun
    five layers, downhill to the core
    yellow bell peppers… or orange?
    Sour cream and, and some Cool Whip dyed!
    Shredded carrots; no, no…mandarin oranges!
    How about some cake frosting, too?
    We better buy a lot of food coloring
    for this freak of a model
    oh, and a sliver of cottage cheese
    moon on the side, don’t you think?

  24. Robin

    perched on a stool in the kitchen
    bare feet gripping the rungs
    hands embracing the warmth of a cuppa
    I watch the snowflakes bob and boogie
    to the music on the radio

  25. Shamanic Winds

    “When in a Shadow of Doubt,
    Hold onto what love is received —
    and don’t be afraid to
    Follow Your Own Bliss!”

    ~Indigenous Shamanic Winds

  26. Revlahart

    ‘Are you on your way?’
    Peter’s voice on the mobile,
    making sure I’m all right, even
    though he doesn’t say it.
    I know I’m not well,
    not functioning,
    But I thought that my
    superpower of
    looking good kept
    it hidden.
    Not from him
    who cares for me,
    who really sees me,
    sometimes more than
    I can see myself.
    ‘I’m on my way.’
    I tell him. And though
    I don’t say, ‘thank you
    for loving me,’ I think it, and
    will tell him.

  27. Larry Piper

    A bit of milder weather
    breaks up the ice on
    the submerged soccer field of summer.
    My duck and goose friends have returned.
    They segregate themselves:
    the geese to the south east,
    the ducks the north-central.
    Apparently, temporarily homelessness
    is preferable to dodging good ol’ boys’ guns,
    a bug in the southern migration program.

  28. alfred booth

    lost, one small hour at a time
    drunken stupor, that first hour of sleep, the slow returning reality after the grace of “Om Nama Shivaya”
    she forever remains dead
    and I damned by her lack of love


  29. Kathleen Brewin Lewis


    Who knew ’til now,
    ’til this leafless January,
    that the tree before me
    was full of nests?
    –a natural highrise.

  30. Cathy

    Three crows pecking through rows of corn stubble that cut through half a foot of snow: an expected Wisconsin scene, remarkable only in that I witnessed it while walking to the supermarket on a city sidewalk, granny cart in tow, Amy Winehouse on the iPod.

  31. Zin Walker

    apanese Garden

    Leaves collected in the fall
    and put into a press, the better to keep the crimson and orange
    of the Japanese maples; and the yellow gold ginkgo fans.
    I got them out today
    the fall’s embers in winter
    and the bamboo spears still spring green.

  32. Midwife Ann

    When I open a Thesaurus, I do so with awe and respect, like when I open a fresh journal, a birthday gift, a secret door in my uncle’s workshop, a clasp on an unknown music box, a friend’s toolkit. Something incredible flies out!

  33. Lightverse

    brilliant crystal shards
    scorched glass skewers a hot mess:
    one ruined dinner

    Last night, I put a pork loin in my old and well-used 9 x 13 baking dish. It’s so old, I don’t even remember when or where I got it. I placed the baking dish in the oven, checked the time and then walked out of the kitchen. A few minutes later, my son found me (in the laundry) and told me he heard a popping noise coming from the oven. I brushed it off, saying it was probably a cooking sound.

    Later, I came back into the kitchen, and went over to the oven in order to remove the finished pork loin. Much to my surprise (and frustration) I discovered that the baking dish had shattered (the popping noise, obviously) and therefore, the inside of my oven was literally ‘a hot mess.’

    We sent out for dinner last night.

  34. W J Wood

    The cold waves of wind from up North have once again made an appearance. The trash cans are once again moving faster than most of us two legged ones.

  35. Renee

    Liquid Coffee Bean

    Coffee brewing wafting
    aroma of fresh ground
    coffee beans creating
    transformation into
    pure energy liquid to
    warm you from the
    inside out on a very
    chilling winter day

    © January 2012 Renee Espriu

  36. Michelle

    Opening the door
    in the predawn morn,
    Mother Nature greets me
    with a cold, bitter slap in the face –
    subzero temperatures have arrived

  37. Lesley

    Nothing but a Hound Dog

    I imagine you stepping elegantly from a medieval tapestry to run beside horses through the yellowed winter grass. Lips held in a smile as you fly, ears flapping in joyful, random bounds before stopping, head high, eye to the horizon. Attuned to the slightest movement, you stop, stand motionless, head still, and stare. A sudden sighting of something too distant or minuscule for my eyes and you are off. The chase is on. Hunter and hunted sharing the same open field. A bird launches itself into the pale blue sky, swerves teasingly above your head and flies high. Back trotting by my side, paws held high in a wet grass avoiding prance, you nudge my pocket as if to say “I’ve come back. I deserve my reward.”

  38. Lanita

    As I climb out of bed, stiff joints rebel, and it takes a few staggered steps to overpower the pain of another cold morning.

  39. Laurie Granieri

    He straddles his battered bicycle parked near the corner of Nassau St. A green windbreaker is pulled tight to his face, a Styrofoam cup of something I hope is hot is perched near the handlebars. His head is dipped low into his chest, drawing in, tightening up, willing himself to be anywhere else this Wednesday morning in January.

  40. Kathleen Jones

    Leaving Italy:
    We are reluctant to leave, and the train is late; time to sit on the platform deciphering Italian graffiti. My mind is full of after-thoughts. Did I turn the taps off properly? Lock the door?
    Perhaps we’ll miss the plane and sit at the airport cafe drinking coffee like treacle, looking at the marble mountains of Carrarra pricking the impossibly blue sky.

  41. Justine

    My reluctance to get up and leave for work before daylight has even broken is soon replaced by a smile when my journey is smooth and uncluttered.

  42. Marian Veverka

    Yesterday’s rain melted the snow cover and the earth is bare. In the ruins of the garden, where some of the leaves we put on have blown away, the earth is a dull gray color – not the healthy brown of a fertile patch of ground. We need a new blanket of snow to protect the plants that winter over.

  43. Anne Stormont (@writeanne)

    Now, in this moment, it’s all ok. All, being everything that really matters, is presently in order. When I take the time to stop and listen, to filter out all the crazy static interference, when I disengage from what is gone and stop second-guessing the future, then I know that all is well – and now is all that matters. The gift of the present.

  44. Hildred and Charles

    A small stone from the Similkameen
    January 18th, 2012

    White mounds of snow
    shaped by a bitter wind
    so dry they squeak in protest
    at each footfall
    Posted by Hildred and Charles at 2:11 PM

  45. francesca perry

    I’m supposed to be rushing around the market, feeling up the aubergines and sniffin out the oranges while he goes off on other business but instead I go into a bar, get an espresso to go and stand in the sun and drink it. Hee hee, how delicious this sneaky little moment is, just me and my ego playing hookey.

  46. Hannah


    Silence is obsolete,
    My day making a mockery
    Of said, “peace.”
    One wishing for sacred
    Space, just my own.
    Life is molding a
    Marionette out of me.
    I hear the hungry whisper
    Calling me into sanctuary,
    Beckoning me to believe;
    It is good, all is good.

    © Hannah Gosselin and Metaphors and Smiles, 2012.

  47. Hannah

    I couldn’t get my wordpress account to post. It kept saying word verification didn’t match when I know I didn’t mistype it. I guess I really am a robot today. This is a test. Still didn’t work. Hope this is only a today thing as I prefer to use wordpress it links to my blog. Is anybody else having problems with this today, Fiona? Sorry if this is not the appropriate place for this comment…

  48. Frannie

    Going for an afternoon nap i snuggle under the duvet. Cosy and warm with a book in my hand I doze

  49. rohsgirl

    What is black and builds up behind the tiny fingernails of four-year-old boys? The remnants of a backyard adventure? A mystery solved? The discovery that right below the surface is a treasure waiting to be found? As I run a file gently underneath each nail, I hope to remove the grime, leaving the memories intact. #smallstone

  50. Noodle Notes

    “Evening Flurries”

    (Stone #18 by Rhonda L. Johnson)

    The sky goes fuzzy white
    broken by sharp outlines
    of silken black feathers
    as a thousand crows take
    flight to the tenuous safety of
    bare and twisted branches
    in the park far below us

  51. Terri / CloakedMonk

    smallstone: procrastination

    click tick click.

    jeweled fishies and adventure stored in megabytes of fun while a tap snap tap of synapses whirls in my mind with constant reminders of more bytes than i can chew.

    tasks to be done.

  52. Michelle

    My toes are frigid bits of ice, which I tuck against his warm legs. The rest of me is hot, covers thrown off and fan turned on. He tucks the rest of his cold self around me.

  53. susan christensen

    Dashboard lights make the cab cozy,
    Counterpoint to my headlights on this snowy road;
    Long drive home through the frozen night.

  54. Lynn Tatro

    Picking cherries, feeling the warm summer breeze. The sun offers a reassuring mother’s touch. Fluffy clouds, grassy carpet, luscious red cherries – In meditation I can go anywhere and no where at all.

  55. Kate

    Small Stone — January 18 — With Poi, I try to learn poise. Hitting myself with a tennisball in a sock and pretending I meant it that way. Writing these bits of something that echo like pennies tossed in a wishingwell is as well-wished as any firedancers dream. But there is fresh baked bread on the table — tea in pottery. Today found something to content itself.

  56. John Ross Barnes

    #18 Standing in the Portland rain, watching the cherry tree, its branches bare in winter. Feeling the wind, feeling it’s curves.

  57. Steve Pardue

    An old man told me …

    Cairns cover fallen heroes
    A made up story to stop a road
    The heroes won this time

  58. teri

    January 18, 2012- Small Stones
    relief by Teri H Hoover

    Physicians cool hands
    Pressure upon my shoulder
    Instant relief.

    A set of 3 options-
    pausing and waiting
    for days
    When will the second doctor read my MRI?

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