The River of Stones: post your 20th Jan small stones here

This is the 20th 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 20th small stone of the challenge in the comments below.

“”To live a creative life, we must lost our fear of being wrong.”
~ Joseph Chilton Pearce

Comments & replies

94 thoughts on “The River of Stones: post your 20th Jan small stones here

  1. T

    I take the dirty, rogue dishes,
    And dip them under the water, cleansing them.
    I find it gratifying to put them in the drainer,
    Forcing them to line up into conformity.
    I wonder…
    If the local church folk
    Wish they could do the same things to me.

  2. Elisa

    My heart and soul screaming to me every singe day. This very phrase. This scary but so beautiful words.
    “You have a very urgent task. Quit your job and start working on your dreams. The deadline is today!”

  3. Kel

    CRAP !
    magpie flew in through open door
    flapped its wings and panicked
    couldn’t get back out again
    dog alert, barking, chasing
    [get away from the door, dumb dog!]
    magpie poops all over floor
    grab dog in one hand
    broom in the other
    encourage magpie to fly back outside
    all with wiggling barking dog in tow

    …i know i needed to wash the floor
    but that’s just ridiculous!

  4. Anne Weizel

    I plunged into, the thick, frigid air,
    In early morning, darkness,
    Silently, screaming my bitter complaints
    In anger, at winter’s harshness,

    Telling it my wishes,
    To return to my warm bed
    And taste the sweet-ness, of sunny, spring air.

    The reply, of the wind’s forceful breath,
    Stung me with its icy needles,
    Overwhelming in its power,
    Causing me to gasp for breath.
    Turning my head ,
    Away from its furor,

    I looked down, at the glittering specks of silver stars
    Jumping up, to greet me, from the cold concrete.
    Lying in the center of the sidewalk
    Were a child’s tiny handprints.
    A permanent reminder,
    Of one moment in time.
    Making me smile and wonder
    Who they belonged to.

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  5. Patricia Anne McGoldrick

    January 20 2012

    Snow is thick on the deck.
    White layers of flakes are everywhere.

    Barbecue smiles,
    on winter staycation.

  6. Mish

    My aunt gave me a gift two Christmases ago
    – this fluffy, fleecy, polyester winter robe.
    I like it and am grateful for it. I just took it off
    and whoo! I can feel the air in the room!
    It’s seeping into my shirt sleeves and hem.


    Fingers ski
    Across white keys,
    Tap, tip, tap,
    Slalom down
    Tap, tip, tap
    Climb to figures
    One to zero,
    Tap, tip, tap,
    Arrow up to symbols
    Tap, tip, tap.

  8. alfred booth

    outdoors, metal and wood chimes accompany the gushing wind
    inside, the kettle bubbles, the furnace hums, my spoon clinks on the bowl
    the cat leaves paw prints on the blue linoleum, the sink has heard the song of running water on clean dishes,
    the sky is a used mothball grey, trees sway in the leftovers of yesterday’s storm
    no rain darkens the pavement
    no puddles to make footprints that will mark my passage here and there

    inside the outdoors

  9. J Cosmo Newbery

    On coming home on a hot afternoon:

    The day has knocked the plants around:
    The hydrangeas are hit quite hard,
    The lettuce lies limply on the ground
    And the raspberries, crisp and scarred.

  10. Annie

    When you’re 6

    It just has to be done.
    You stop to read out all the numbers on the currency exchange sign.
    Then you read them all out again.

  11. Roz Cawley

    In the second kitchen,
    I spy two empty cat-food tins,
    tossed into the festering maw of the general trash.

    Before they are swallowed up in that Hell-Hole,
    I fervently rescue them
    Reverentially wash and dry them
    Present them, smugly, as an offering
    To the open, waiting arms
    Of the Great Recycling Bin.

    I fear enslavement
    to a New Religion…

  12. Sandra Davies

    He wears an army parka
    goggles over eyes
    Holds a chainsaw double-handed
    and he’s chopping down the trees

  13. Jill

    A splash of paint on the floor, half way between my meditation cushion and shrine. Paint spilled and smeared by some previous tenant, it looks like a spirit, a floor fairy, a gray alien bird.

    As I meditate, my eyes lightly touch it, allowing it to be seen, to enter into my awareness, but not attaching to or focusing on it. Shamata meditation is done eyes open, with a soft gaze, giving the environment its place in experience.

    The instruction is that just like you can’t ask your eyes not to see, as it is what they do, their natural state of being, you can’t ask your mind not to think. However, you also don’t have to get carried away, hooked by thoughts, and just because they come and invite you to follow doesn’t mean you must. You notice, gently acknowledge them as they arise, peacefully abide, and let them go as they dissolve. They fly away like birds, float off like clouds in the sky, are no more real than this paint creature on my floor. With picture.

  14. Fi


    The rain traces a lace of intricate lines on the window glass. The wind, snatching at bushes and trees, worries the dogs next door. I hear their barks and howls through the wall between our houses. I sit snug with my thoughts.

  15. nan

    golden sunlight bathes
    the frosted feeder.
    eight finches flit and
    rock the perches as they
    vie for position to gulp
    black seeds —
    minus seven degrees.

    [That’s Fahrenheit degrees where I live… for those of you who measure in Celsius… that would be -22!]

  16. Walt Wojtanik

    Gone are the yesterdays of disappointment.
    And unseen are the tomorrows of great promise.
    All we have is this instance to matter. And so we are cursed.
    It could be worse. Regret and anticipation have no value.
    Our worth is in the living for the love of today.

  17. quillfyre

    a morning of small cold thoughts
    outside the temperature minus 19 C
    inside only 17
    furnace doesn’t hum his usual tune
    brain hums one worry after another

  18. vivinfrance

    Colourless day
    melancholy weather
    depletes my joy

    My friend’s birthday was yesterday.
    I forgot, a heinous sin.
    She rang to tell me of her birthday outing,
    just rubbing it in.

  19. Ina

    The further you’ll be gone in time from me
    the more your face will be around in thought
    and shall I look in places, never sought
    before, to find you in eternity.

  20. Connie L. Peters

    I in my boat
    felt small
    in the vast lake
    towering pines
    magnificent mountains
    looming dark clouds
    expansive blue sky
    yet, large, too.

  21. Debbie

    My first vegetable box delivery arrived,stacked full of lovely organic produce. I opened the box to find, amongst the familiar items,strange alien objects I have no idea how to cook.
    Artichoke sandwich, anyone?
    Chicory soup?
    Chard risotto?

  22. Larry Piper

    The frigid powers of darkness
    sealed off the sunken soccer fields of summer,
    adding an inch of snow by way of emphasis,
    thereby, evicting the occupy protestors,
    rendering them, once again, homeless.
    The light of the world
    works to reverse the affront,
    and we see early signs of reopening.

  23. Robin

    fifteen minutes at zero degrees
    even with layers
    – fleece gloves, mittens on top –
    the cold nips, snaps, bites
    invades my fingertips
    inducing clumsiness
    benumbed, dipping them in warm water
    color and feeling return
    with excruciating pain
    not one good photo to show for it

  24. Lindsay

    One plump pigeon, puffed and proud,
    Four busy blackbirds, golden beaks on fire,
    Six stocky wrens, cocked tails aloft
    … a nursery rhyme in my garden

  25. -k

    Sidewalk becomes street. Earth becomes sky. No way to say exactly where or how, as snow tumbles down, swathing all things in white.

  26. Hannah Gosselin


    I see you learning,
    Churning mind;
    Under the dining table,
    In your choo-choo jammas.
    You found a cloth,
    Dilligently you try
    To remove a spot of sun
    That found its way
    To light brightly
    Upon wooden floor.
    Quietly you stare
    Pondering its brightness;
    Following mystifying dust motes.
    And you are so there
    In this present moment;
    Upon a reflection.
    Silently observing
    Swiftly learning,
    All there is to know.
    My son.

    © Hannah Gosselin and Metaphors and Smiles, 2012.

  27. Lightverse

    blue does not describe
    a sad emotional state…
    at least, not for me

    The other day, I mentioned periwinkle was one of my favorite colors. That’s probably because it’s a shade of blue. Blue – in all its hues and tints and shades – is my absolute favorite color. That got me to thinking…as a matter of curiosity (and because I’m a word geek), I looked up different ways to say ‘blue’ – in the English language, since it’s my native tongue – and came up with this partial list:

    aqua, azuline, azure, baby blue, beryl, blueberry, caesious, celeste, cerulean, cobalt, cornflower, cyan, cyaneous, denim, glaucous, hyacinthine, indigo, lapis lazuli, mauve, mazarine, midnight, navy, pavonated, periwinkle, perse, Prussian blue, robin’s egg, royal, sapphire, sky, slate, smalt, teal, turquoise, ultramarine, violet and watchet.

    There are, I am quite sure, many more ways to state that particular color. Especially as I didn’t even begin to search for words in any other language. So for now, this partial list will have to do. And to be honest, it kinda makes me happy.

    I am blue.

  28. Renee

    Precious Energy

    Electric lines carrying
    precious energy now
    left lying in the snow
    leaving lives without
    heat to warm homes
    disconnecting work as
    our world becomes a
    motionless landscape

    © January 2012

  29. Karen

    Chocolate Cai Tea

    the steam rises in shimmering ribbons
    carrying with it…a divine essence
    that permeates the air

    the fragrant waft…deliciously intoxicating
    prompts me to lift the cup to my lips
    sip slowly… and relish this delightful indulgence

  30. Kate

    Bits of color on pieces of paper. Lines I’ve carved deep in hazel tree wood. The sun along the slant of a cloud. A blackbird lifting to join a friend in the air. It’s hard for me to believe the Universe doesn’t know my language. S/he speaks loud enough for me to follow on the thread of her whisper.

  31. Marian Veverka

    Sunshine sparkles on a newly laid blanket of snow. The world is
    so bright I have to shield my eyes to look at it. Birds have arrived at the feeder, leaving specks of spilled seed and a tangle of small prints on the surface of the snow. The rest of the yard remains an undisturbed white.

  32. vivinfrance

    Stone 20

    The valley of Neath far West in Wales,
    where a noisy wall of water falls in beauty,
    and elderly working men sing heartily,
    in richest harmony, joyful in their amity.

  33. Laurie Kolp

    The lady in the checkout line
    says she wishes they’d stop
    saying each year was the end
    of the world and then asked
    for a pack of Marlboro Lights.

  34. Jean Mishra

    Tuning in. Head TV is airing and blaring 100 different programs again, simultaneously on the tv screen. I try to watch intently. A miasma of commercial messages, melodramas, documentaries, thrillers, comedies, sci fi, my eyes dart from one to the other and back again. Sound bites blaring. Colors colliding. Ear and eye madness. I desperately try to focus on one channel looking for inspiration, but it’s deafening; impossible. Reruns! Exasperated. I want to turn it off but there’s no “off” button. This mind TV can’t be unplugged! I wheel the thing into the other room and close the door, ignoring it. Peace at last. I’ll watch it later. Maybe.

    As it appears on my blog:

  35. DrS

    the corner tightens
    we glide towards the wall
    a flurry of adrenaline
    a squeeze on the throttle
    the van and me, we shimmy a little
    we straighten up
    a hippo tiptoeing round the white corners

  36. jake chambers

    1.20.2012 ~ Spent a part of the morning looking at a ceiling, listening to the whirring from the MRI machine doing its magic. Modern technology peeking in on your situation

  37. Judith Richards Shubert

    It is warm today giving me time to sit and bask in the sun.
    Gentle breeze lifted my hair;
    A dried seed pod from the tree above floated down
    To join the many other brown twelve-inch long pods littering the ground.

    The skeleton of a backyard swing sat forlorn
    Above the stepping stones I brought on the plane from Carolina.
    No children now skipped upon the stones nor leapt into the once swinging chair;
    Broken, it stood bare and alone, the frame waiting for a new occupant.

  38. Claudine G.

    The wind blows. Brown leaves clatter down the road. The wind goes on harder; the clatterings grow fierce and loud.

  39. paula jordan

    pswith hand lenses around their neck, i take my little group outside. they are five and six years old. they ‘see’ animal tracks everywhere, quietly sneak up on noisy fat sparrows, plant seeds and are so happy in the winter sunshine. in her little hat with cat ears, jill hugs me goodbye.

  40. De

    To tell the truth,
    Dr. of Tooth,
    it’s the horrible sucking sounds
    and the scrapingscrapingscrapingscraping
    and the drill in the next room (glad I’m not that guy)
    and the needle-sharp water thingy that makes my gums bleed
    and my shoulders’ need for residing somewhere up around my ears
    in anticipatory fear of probing latex fingers not-so-tickling my ivories.
    Nothing personal.

  41. Snowbourne

    Night enfolds the socially isolated, but in doing so may provoke uncontrollable fear in those who already wander the streets by day measuring the shadows.

  42. SharonW

    My Mother’s Cat Greets Visitors

    He comes to meet us slowly, thinking hard,
    with eyes and ears and nose. He holds his tail
    cautiously straight and level, looks and sniffs –
    “Oh, people, good! But wait. I don’t think – No.
    I don’t know them.” And through the cellar door
    (kept always open just as wide as him)
    and out of sight. Then safe at last he twists
    exchanging tail for head and peeks at us again.

    On my blog at

  43. John Ross Barnes

    #20 Half past January. In the last two hours the precipitation has gone from rain to snow and back again, three times. Snowing out the window now, flakes the size of quarters. Fire place going. The Ring is up loud. Now it’s Winter in Portland.

  44. Judith C Evans

    Today the real me browsed in a second-hand book store, sipped on gourmet root beer, and found the perfect red- and blue- striped espadrilles in a magazine ad.

  45. Hildred and Charles

    A small stone from the Similkameen
    January 20th, 2012

    It is approaching dusk
    when I go to fill the bird feeders.
    The quail, just nicely settled in the fir trees
    rise as one, and in a great rush of wings
    seek safety in the taller trees.

  46. Cathy

    Snowball fights aren’t allowed on school grounds, so kids make up for it at the bus stop, creaming each other with haphazard lumps of mooshed powder. Everyone gets on the bus with a dusting of snow, as if white moss grew on their hats and jackets.

  47. Lanita

    I’m drunk on hammock-worthy sunshine that saturates me in heat, bone-deep, so when I have to open my eyes, it’s like raising plutonium.


  48. Noodle Notes

    “Central Heating”

    (Stone# 20 by Rhonda L. Johnson)

    Thankful for the central heating that
    blows its hot breath at me from behind
    the couch, I watch the cold quivering in
    tiny round waves that slip along the dry,
    glittering nighttime cityscape, hissing
    at the cracks in the patio door, trying
    desperately to get in where it’s warm.

  49. Michelle

    Reading unlimited bedtime stories to sleepover nephews……can hear my Grandma’s voice and the rhythm of Arthur Cluck and Little Bear……I hope I sound just like that as I read Green Eggs and Ham.

  50. Shamanic Winds

    “…and then there are the days where I just want to curl up like our Cisco in his PRIMITIVE style of sleep and dream away in viewing the world through the eyes beyond the mischief and cunning actions of his everyday life…”

    ~Indigenous Shamanic Winds

  51. Josephine Faith Gibbs

    One More Stitch

    No good place to stop
    knitting in the round
    one more stitch
    one more stitch
    one more stitch
    one more…

  52. Revlahart

    Jenny is speaking.
    Three of us lean in
    waiting for the final
    sentence. She
    blurts it out in a rush.
    We explode in laughter.
    Real, from your gut
    laughter. No one
    can speak for several
    It is holy time,
    even if the joke
    is x-rated.

  53. Gypsy-K

    On a round white plate, two lemonade scones, warm, fluffy, imperfectly round, dusted with sweet icing sugar.

    To the right, home-made conserve, dark red, strewn with seeds and shrunken stawberries, sits plump in a small white round ceramic dish.

    To the left, double cream, thick, off-white, spiralling to a flattened peak, dolloped in an identical ceramic dish.

    All waiting to layer together.

  54. Lynn Tatro

    My dogs and I patiently wait out the winter together. They store tummy rubs and ear scritches for the time when their now soulful dark eyes will be gleaming with the sun’s mischievousness and this time of waiting will be but a memory.

  55. Steve Pardue

    Washed up

    Washed up jewel
    of the sea

    A Jelly once

    Reflecting a low shining sun

    Sinking below the sea

  56. Zin Walker

    Ain’t ya got no rhymes for me?

    Today the interviewer says, “You’re bright and creative, did you not want
    A different career?”
    I am nonplussed. What other life
    Than my life? It would be another life.

    And I walk down Kingsway, and think, but my life, my loves,
    my voice,
    Here in the sound of my footsteps and softness of my gloves.

  57. Mary

    Sounding out the first syllable,
    of the first word,
    of the first sentence,
    he begins to read.

    His fingers trace the words, mark his place.
    With a wrinkled nose and narrowed eyes,
    he is a storyteller.

  58. teri

    January 20, 2012- Small Stones
    shedding by Teri H Hoover

    Cold winter day-
    Tree trunks shedding fringes of themselves.
    We both need a long hot soak.

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