The River of Stones: post your 19th Jan small stones here

This is the 19th 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 19th small stone of the challenge in the comments below.

“We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are.
Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing,
which is one reason why they write so little.”
~ Anne Lamott

Comments & replies

86 thoughts on “The River of Stones: post your 19th Jan small stones here

  1. T

    The bitter wind
    Makes the missin you harder.
    Lonely sinks deeper into cold bone.
    The sky is so gray, so overcast
    That even my shadow has left me alone.
    My only companions are a few snowflakes.
    They are refusing to allow sunshine,
    But they aren’t passionate enough to cause a storm.
    I’m flaky and ungrounded enough join their tribe,
    But the blanket of your memory is too thin to keep me warm
    So I’m forced to go back inside.

    (I don’t trust the snowflake gang, actually.
    They are meandering, indecisive, lacking focus,
    And most assuredly on a downward spiral.)

  2. Jo Bryant












    it’s the mixture

    that hold your gaze

  3. Elisa

    A Mcdo breakfast with a dear friend. Conversations on dreams, life, dreams, and more dreams. The lightness of our chats, the strengths and realizations that we didn’t know yet when we were still young. Nothing beats starting the day with positivity.

  4. Robin Chapman

    on the path,
    37 below, sunlight
    streaming through
    lodgepole trunks,
    snow-textured branches,
    breathing through
    my rainbow scarf,
    I forget to wave
    to my fellow artist

  5. H. Dooley

    All the pigeons are in the sun. All the assembled pigeons on the wall. The shattered glass of the bubble enclosing the escalator down to the subway looks like sun glinting on water, and the buildings are shining tall. All the feathers of the pigeons are puffed and the birds are huddled. The birds know where to be for now.

  6. Bodhirose

    As my mind rests on the grief being felt by loved ones…disbelief and compassion flood over me.


    Bottle bank bottles,
    Green, brown, clear,
    Pose in a plastic trug
    This time of year.
    Dimpled bottoms up,
    Emptied out of cheer,
    Waiting to be taken
    (Gently, dear),
    To join recycled friends
    At the bank

  8. J Cosmo Newbery

    On having been to a cinema on a hot day:

    We exit from our dark and plush cocoon
    Into a seething whirlpool of humanity.
    I feel out of place in this mad cartoon
    And leave at once, to protect my sanity.

  9. Keith Wallis

    Moving around the sun
    an unoiled universe
    clanks and cranks
    and scrapes through space.
    Tomorrow comes
    with the winding
    and the key
    is within reach.

  10. alfred booth

    my heart is a grey, blustery winter storm
    drenched in rain and the thunder of lost gods who do not understand
    the tormented folly of humanity

    winter storm

  11. Rena J. Traxel

    No Stone To Speak Of

    Yesterday has passed. I have no stone to speak of. I didn’t take the time. I was too busy living. I thought about the stone while lying in my bed. It was cold outside the blanket. I didn’t care to rise and shuffle in the cold. The ideas kept on swirling. My muse kept on pricking. I turned and tossed in bed.
    “I’ll write tomorrow. Now please, please, let me get some sleep.”
    So you see, I silenced the muse inside my head and that is why, there is no stone to speak of.

    2nd Small Stone: The Moon

    “Write about the moon,” she said. “Write about the cold. Show me, please do not tell me,” she said and sent me on my way.
    Where is the moon tonight? Outside, hovering in the cold. I am inside, trying my best to write. I will not go outside. I will not put my gloves on, zip my jacket or lace my boots. The cold is just too cold. So I close my eyes and picture what the moon looks like tonight: A shiny, blue light mass, a crescent, a mere sliver of itself. Hanging in the night to babysit the stars. Giving off its brilliance. Denying any warmth. Goodnight shiny crescent, it is time to go to bed, and dream of sunny beaches that are far away from here!

  12. Sandra Davies

    The hero in the novel I am reading
    receives a beating.
    Lies there, blood-stained, mucus, vomit, piss,
    and I wonder how he ever regains his self-esteem
    sufficiently to fully function later.

  13. Claudine G.

    A boy, about seven or eight, in a white singlet and bold sky-blue shorts, learns to skate on the pavement. He struts along, stops, tries to do an ‘S’ skate, doesn’t succeed, stomps on the end of his board to pick it up, jogs and sails the board slightly in front and hops on it. Again and again.

  14. Fi


    My shoulders ache, muscles cramped and creaking as I step out into the morning. No amount of neck stretching or pummelling of skin will release this pain. Acceptance weighs heavy on me, like a thick, dark cloak that drags along the ground. Release only comes when I untie the cords that hold this shroud around me, letting it slip behind. What is done is done. What is said can’t be unsaid. I move forward, away from the heavy, stagnant fabric. My neck clicks, releases, relaxes and my shoulders begin to tingle. I breathe.

  15. Annie

    The first snowdrop

    One thin white petal emerges from shy green.
    I check every day,
    want proof of a new season coming closer,
    but it still looks the same.

  16. Lesley

    I dreamed of glistening caves, their walls streaming with rivulets of ice-cold water.
    I woke to rain running along the guttering below my open window.

  17. Connie L. Peters

    A shady place sheltered me.
    The river whispered as it rushed past.
    The rocky path invited me for a stroll.

  18. Debbie

    I think of a deliciously simple lunch.
    Salted tomatoes on soft white bread.
    A cup of tea.

    But the vegetable box isn’t here yet.
    The fridge is bare
    And we have no milk.

  19. Roz Cawley

    Tree surgeons in hob-nailed boots, taking such care to delicately tip-toe and pirouette through the emerging daffs and crocuses under the apple tree. In the field next door, their saws and chipper cut logs and mulch for me…The kindness of strangers.

  20. nan

    gossamer frost
    shrouds every capillary branch
    of every tree
    and even the mailbox
    in the bitter chill of morning.


  21. Lindsay

    Grey-black clouds roll across the sky. Fragments of white, specks of blue peep through – tantalise, like a glimpse of the first snowdrop. My mind searches for its own fragments of white, its own specks of blue – its own snowdrop.

  22. Hannah Gosselin


    Air is cool on waking,
    Crackle of wood burning.
    Whir of ceiling fan,
    Dog licking her forearm.
    Sudden squeal, boys…
    Wooden blocks hit wood floor.
    Rich whiff of nutty coffee.
    Clean smells linger too,
    Hands still damp from dishes,
    Luandry folded waiting.
    Low rumble, truck enroute,
    Glow still low on horizon.
    Windows are steamed.
    Emotions fill,
    Dawning on news
    A friend’s illness
    Fresh on my heart.
    Whispered prayer.

    © Hannah Gosselin and Metaphors and Smiles, 2012.

  23. Walt Wojtanik

    Be it a longing look,
    a tender touch,
    a serene smile,
    or well-spoken word,
    we communicate
    what our hearts feel.
    A mile between smiles
    is closed in connection.

  24. Kathleen Jones

    Everything is grey – the sky, the bare branches of trees, the rail-tracks, even my mood. Sitting on the train, watching people walk past.
    Why are they all wearing black? Men in suits, anoraks, overcoats; women in jackets, leggings, short skirts. All black. A state of mind?
    A red train in a grey station. Coloured scarves on a rack. A girl with purple hair. Highlights of a drab day.

  25. Linda Visman

    A phone call, unexpected;

    a voice from the past,

    welcome and full of good memories.

    Ties across the years that cannot be broken.

    I cannot go back, but I can remember.

  26. Larry Piper

    Scores of young nerds in blue Tee shirts
    assault my eyes upon entering The Apple store,
    each sporting an iPad or iPhone.
    I wonder if they would hire a geezer nerd?
    A cute nerdette ushers me to a table
    and demonstrates my battery is dead.
    We replace it with a new one,
    thanks, in part, to my having a handy coin
    to effect removal of the old battery.
    We determine that my old charger
    does indeed still work.
    My finger signs my name on her iPhone,
    an email address receives the receipt,
    and am soon on my way.

  27. Leslie Waugh

    A short trip out
    and the return
    turns into a test
    stopped by a train
    at every artery
    sit still and wait
    knowing it’s the fastest route
    or foolishly try to go around it
    no way over
    no way under
    the skulking iron beast stops
    STOPS on the tracks
    for the love of god
    I itch to move
    so drive in pointless circles
    and half-arcs
    being brought to a stop each time anyway
    in feats of geometric futility
    my effort to condense fixed time
    only protracts it
    a minute is a minute
    no matter how you spend it
    on this path
    there’s only one way home

  28. Karen

    a small treasure found
    tucked away
    among the debris of what once was

    shinning brightly…beckoning
    longing to be remembered
    and loved once again

  29. Snowbourne

    Sometimes it is less disturbing to take off my glasses and see the world through the distortion of my own lenses despite their imperfections.

  30. Cathy Douglas

    Zero (-18 C) with shocks of north wind is bearable under four layers, but my fingers, toes and face are cold. Then a hot flash arrives. My back sweats, my chest and arms prickle, and warmth spreads out to every toe and finger. The blessing of menopause!

  31. Marian Veverka

    Busy, busy snowflakes – Armies of snowflakes, all in a hurry, all with the same mission – “everything in sight
    must be covered in white!”
    They are doing a good job. Yesterday’s dull world of browns and grays now rests beneath a blanket of unblemished whiteness.

  32. Leslee

    Day off. House no cleaner, but I saw the klatsch of paper birches at the edge of the meadow, their graceful ghostly limbs.

  33. searching serendipity

    Jan 18 Stone & Jan 19 Stone
    again a day when the stone failed to crystallise! but looking back on it I did notice:-
    As a friend put on a fleece cardigan, the warm heather blue and light claret patterning lifted his whole appearance. The colours banished the cold grey pallor the weather had injected to his skin. We perceive warmth with more than one of senses.
    (today 19th)
    tackling the new and unfamiliar is scary, frustrating and fun

  34. Anne Stormont (@writeanne)

    It’s warm, soft and a perfect fit. Its smooth, golden surface reflects and radiates a golden light. The inside is engraved, etched with significance. My wedding ring’s embracing circumference holds thirty-four years and the possibility of many more.

  35. Belinda @ Wild Acre

    Give me a big blue sky and I will be free.

    I will breathe it in and the wrinkles in my mind will smooth, my soul will stretch to fill that place,
    and if the sky is partly hidden, I will funnel my mind towards that smaller space.

    and if only a little patch of blue is there, I will seek it out and fix my sight on the light I find.

    and if there is no blue at all, no light to free my mind, I will close my eyes and dream of blue and scudding clouds and streaks of light until my mind is washed and free again.

  36. Zin Walker

    Driving back from the coast
    the sky melting in three levels of cloud
    On the horizon, a striped pink curtain hangs then
    Layers of washes, bleeding and running upwards where
    high cumulo nimbus, Payne’s Grey, almost
    solid, dark overhead. Yet the land is illuminated.

  37. Mark Sargeant

    a clutch of starlings glide and shimmer,
    transfixed by the sun, so low in the sky that
    it sits in the trees’ canopies like a great eagle,
    a mystical force, seeing beneath your skin
    and clutching your bones tight.

  38. De

    Sky looms like unplowed snowy streets
    the graywhite of winters elsewhere
    in anticipation of precipitation
    not yet known: sweat, or tears.

  39. Lightverse

    eyelash on my cheek
    mascara-free adventure
    on a tiny tear

    After I washed my face today, I noticed that I had an eyelash on my cheek. I decided that that one single lash was making a personal statement about breaking away from the pack, being an individual – and NOT keeping it under the lid, so to speak. I thought, ‘What do I do to make myself stand out in the world? How am I an individual?’


  40. Renee

    Frozen Images

    Images iced and frozen
    held captive in a
    storms frozen embrace
    where time and the
    cycle of nature only
    will release them

    © January 2012

  41. John Oliver

    TODAY I am grateful for ATMs.

    Most of my shopping and banking is done online.
    So I am using less cash and very few checks.
    But when I need cash I am grateful there are ATMs.
    They are available 24 hours contrasted to bank tellers.

    On a related note I am grateful that the grocery store gives cash back.
    This is a standard part of my life that I choose not to take for granted.

  42. Lorelei

    The tall camellia bush beside the door is covered with fat, green buds, and one showing red along the top side as a promise for the future.

    ~Laura Hoopes

  43. Noodle Notes

    “Wind Chill -33”

    (Stone #19 by Rhonda L. Johnson)

    Walking the three blocks to my car
    the raw air bites my exposed wrists
    and neck with blue steel jaws,
    invading the gaps in my flimsy
    coat like an indignant wraith
    seeking shelter from mortality–
    it crawls along my goose-bumped skin
    searching for an opening–
    it clings to my bones ’til I am
    vibrating through and through,
    and I am sure I will not feel warmth ’til June!

  44. Laurie Granieri

    Debby sings out a goodbye. She is inside, behind the storm windows with the cat and the amaryllis and the orchid in its last days. Warmth.

    I plod the driveway in a pair of heels I’ve worn for nearly 11 hours; the ache at the base of my toes reminds me each time my feet touch asphalt. Everywhere, darkness, except for a sky tinged a sickly orange from the highway lights.

    I lean my head forward, sniff, inhale: snow.

  45. Hildred and Charles

    A small stone from the Similkameen
    January 19th, 2012

    frosted silver globes
    to entice small birds to partake
    of exotic dessert

    Posted by Hildred and Charles at 7:06 PM

  46. Shamanic Winds

    Ode to Goldenrod During Our Cold Winter Months!

    I ask thee kindly with warmth and love
    in keeping me ‘Whole’ all-year round.
    May Your medicines I gathered from You last year
    and my Goldenrod friends Bless me
    with Healing until You bloom again.

    As I do will it,

    Blessed Be.

    ~Indigenous Shamanic Winds

  47. Michelle

    Three dogs on the couch….a nest made from a blanket and a pillow and warm furry bodies. I’d sink into it too, but I don’t want to disturb them. I’ll find my own spot, albeit colder and less dogged and not as good.

  48. Judith Richards Shubert

    Fuzzy blue thread right
    Smooth white threads left and middle
    Needle moves up, down
    Blade cuts excess fabric strip
    Cow jumps over moon emerges

  49. susan christensen

    The stars flash signals
    in this morning hour
    punctuated by a sliver of moon.
    Brilliant messages
    in a language I have forgotten.

  50. rohsgirl

    Fourteen below and the black and white dog rolls in the ice-crusted snow. What does he know that I don’t know?

  51. Mish

    Shortly after me blurting questions for answers out at Jeopardy! time, Greg took off from his chair so fast, like he hadn’t done before, and darted off into the garage and clicked open the garage door. A rocket had launched from Canaveral. It was a cloudless night, and Orion and the other stars dotted the sky. I didn’t have my glasses on. I saw a yellowish orange spark, diffused into rays, tracing a short trail behind it west to east to the sea. The two of us stood there on the driveway looking up at something like a wonder. When the light became too small, we walked back into the house like Clark Kent’s foster parents after he flew away to find Krypton. Then, Greg leaned his ear, motioning to me with a thumb back towards the outdoors. He meant the rocket “rumble” and I darted off and strained to hear it while cars zoomed by. My ears did not so much hear but they felt the rumble coming in waves or a force that was flapping my eardrums, the way I feel when I have a cold. It is so much more fun seeing a rocket and listening for its shockwaves than reading an article about its launch and finding out what the rocket was for.

  52. Kelly E

    Walking quickly, late for work. Every surface rain-soaked, glistening, dripping. A translucent-gray caterpillar moves in slow motion across my path.

  53. Revlahart

    The day passed in
    Not the bright
    sharp flavour
    and scent of
    nor the warm arms
    of my husband,
    not the comfort of my
    daughter’s sweet
    head in my lap
    whilst I knitted
    cleared it away.
    Foot in front of
    It will get better.

  54. Lynn Tatro

    The wicked wind ruthlessly perpetrates its crimes. It violates, penetrates, deranges, binds, gags, steals, rages, rampages, maims, and murders. A spree unceasing on helpless victims.

  55. Nancy

    You lunatic Moon, 
     don’t you know I spy 
    you there, over my shoulder,
    lurking in the shadows
    of the earth, following
    me all the way to work?

  56. Laurie Kolp

    Hubby’s first day of classes
    it’s back to the rat race again
    as I play single mom to three
    my head begins to spin.

  57. John Ross Barnes

    #19 Half light, just pre-dawn / driving my son to his school / Small blizzard, huge flakes // #senryu #haiku #amwriting

  58. Mary

    Warm air
    bursts from my mouth
    over clasped hands
    tight against my lips

    Relief to stiff hands.
    My numb fingers
    tingle to life.
    Need mitts.

  59. teri

    January 19, 2012- Small Stones
    conversation by Teri H Hoover

    Hours of talking at a Mexican Restaurant.
    I study the painting on and off throughout the conversation.

    The afternoon sun
    falling between
    the rustic well kept buildings
    attending the perfect cobbles
    that wind through the center
    of this quiet Mexican village.
    The perfectly formed cobbles blue with shade
    suddenly glow warmly at the the lone travelers feet
    Shoulders drenched in sunshine
    walking toward
    green golden hills holding the steeple of a church.`

    Conversations, winding the perfect cobbles, through sunshine and shadow,
    enfolding each other, in green hills and golden afternoon warmth.

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