The River of Stones: post your 21st Jan small stones here

This is the 21st 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 21st small stone of the challenge in the comments below.

“”Nobody cares much whether you write or not. You just have to do it.”
~ Natalie Goldberg

Comments & replies

83 thoughts on “The River of Stones: post your 21st Jan small stones here

  1. -k

    For j cosmo:

    Without giving it a thought, without even trying, the snowy countryside dazzles with its quiet brilliance.

  2. Anne Weizel

    The daily morning struggle,
    A clash of wills
    A 15 year old , boy
    Struggling, bravely, with disabilities
    Wanting so desperately,
    To be independent,
    And just like his peers
    Steps out
    Ready, once again, to battle the world
    Determined to meet its challenges.
    And I ,his mother,
    Trying to help him,
    And protect him from bullies.
    Is perceived with utter annoyance
    As he knows most 15 year old boys don’t need their mother’s help.
    I listen to the hum of the motor,
    As the school bus rolls away
    Feeling pulled and stretched,
    Like Salt Water Taffy.
    As I get the dog ready for her walk,
    I am lifted from exhaustion,
    Touched, by the sight,
    Of her delicate paw
    Lifting up so gently and tenderly,
    With utter sweetness
    Trying to help me
    Put on her harness.

    Her soft, brown eyes
    With their delight , and innocence
    Bring tears to my eyes,
    And sooth my soul.

  3. Linda Visman

    I wake up to nature’s summer music;-

    the magpies carol with enthusiasm,

    encouraging those who hear

    to join them in celebrating the day.

    Well, that’s what it seems like –

    even if they are just saying,

    ‘Keep out; this is my territory!’

  4. Patricia Anne McGoldrick

    January 21

    red and bright
    resting in pear tree branch
    blankets of white snow
    spread all around
    the backyard trees.

  5. Helen Lewis


    Lying back on sun-warmed concrete, I watch the ever-changing sky and smile. Next step: to watch my ever-changing life and do the same.

    P.S. Love your witty and glittery stone today, Kel! 🙂

  6. PoetColette

                      ~ Blow Job ~
    Fresh marine air heaved through today
    and blew the valley smog away.
    The blue eyes of the sky sparkled
    brighter all afternoon,
    its clearer air seemed to sigh
    with a breezy afterglow,
    and the billowy cheeks of the clouds flushed
    rosier at sunset this evening,
    thanks to this incredible blow job
    from the jet stream!

  7. Claudine G.

    The sky is a dirty pale yellow, like an aged photograph, cleansing itself of past hurt through the downpour. It’s bringing Renewal.

  8. Connie L. Peters

    After the wagon ride
    the two great horses,
    stood side by side,
    one looking bored
    one looking quizzical
    as if to ask,
    “One more time?”

  9. Annie


    Bus out of town.
    That spot where the view opens up.
    Forest, river, estuary, cliffs, sea.
    All under a huge sky.
    It makes the tourists go quiet.
    Then some of them burst into applause.

  10. Sandra Davies

    The jigsaw he did last week, when ill
    is still sitting on the dining table
    Now he’s better can I clear it?
    Or do I need to wait
    until he decides he’s well enough?

  11. Polly

    Blue, blue sky
    Shines through
    Incredible iced herb
    Glittering, glinting
    In the sunlight
    Frost shards shimmer
    Stalk and stamen glister
    Minute seedheads sparkle
    A wonder in a new winter morning

  12. Gypsy-K

    Bright green, sicilian, un-pitted olives; a slice of off-white ricotta cheese, fresh, soft and loose; slices of bocconcini oozing milky salt paired with bright red grape tomatoes sliced lengthways drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with salt; chunks of octopus with bruised rings dotted with red chilli; rustic bread sliced; golden white wine, its coldness condensing on the glass. Indulging favourites.

  13. vivinfrance

    Low grey sky, wind and rain
    I’m finding this winter a pain
    Mild but wild
    no snow as yet
    but very wet
    How soon will Spring come again?

  14. Jill

    As part of my resolve for this year, I made a list of all the books I wanted to read. Some of the books I’ve read before, even twice, but many are new to me. The list is only non-fiction, because fiction for me is pure pleasure and I want to leave those textual choices up to chance, desire, whimsy. As for non-fiction, there is a plan.

    I collected and organized the books on a shelf in my studio. It seemed auspicious that they so neatly and perfectly fit on a single shelf. All but one (The War of Art) are ones I already owned.

    As I was writing this morning, I thought of one that I wanted to look at, turned to view the shelf, and felt a wave of open-hearted appreciation and joy. Look at all the great things I get to read, to learn about, to contemplate! For the hundredth time, I think “this is going to be a really good year.”

    Full reading list with picture and links,

  15. Lesley

    Searing irons thrust upwards through the raging inferno. In a self-induced medieval torture of rising bile, sharp, acrid explosions in poppy red burn raw tracts through my chest. In a bitter malady of regret I recall why I stopped drinking red wine.

  16. eirenety

    ~ sometimes . . .
    ~ when the moon shines through your window
    ~ or light strikes unexpectedly
    ~ it pulls you back into memories

    ~ you may pass by an old garden
    ~ or a dilapidated shed
    ~ hidden behind a crumbling wall

    ~ an ancient shrine guarded by fallen stones
    ~ yew and briar barring your way

    ~ you may feel that behind that wall
    ~ or through the tangle of old brambles
    ~ something secret is happening
    ~ quietly mysterious yet magnificient

    ~ if you happen to creep through
    ~ you will behold a magical contentment ~ ♥ ~

  17. Marian Veverka

    A field of unbroken snow stretches from our front door,over our yard, across the lane, all the way to a little wooded area that surrounds a neighbor’s home. No one has yet to drive up or down our lane. It is early, just barely enough light to make out objects. The sky is overcast and spitting a little snow. A quiet morning in the middle of January in a resort area that in the summer bustles with all sorts of activity. In the winter, we are content merely to doze away the hours.

  18. alfred booth

    there is always a smile in her soft girlish voice
    she rarely speaks of her life as an exile
    of her homeland close to war
    of indiscriminate death colliding with family and friends
    the heartache of seeing too much…
    what has to happened to her youth?

    for Amani

  19. R.S. Bohn

    bending down
    after shoveling
    i can hear
    the hush of snow settling on
    last fall’s ornamental grass

  20. Shamanic Winds

    “Through the Land of my very being where the snow sparkles like precious diamonds and the bitter cold lingers in the air — BRIGID has appeared back into my Spiritual Life once again as Her shining Fires of the Sun cascading Arrows of Rays back into my Heart.

    “I realize that Everything is important in my Daily Life, for Her gentle Spirit of Life and Death melts away my frigid thoughts and feelings of the Past, and Renews my Soul with Her Kindness and Love.”

    ~Indigenous Shamanic Winds

  21. Roz Cawley

    BLEEERRGHHH!!! Roars the wolf
    Through the backdrop curtain…
    Half a dozen tots startle and wail –
    …within seconds, Mr. Wolf is a soppy sycophant
    Telling fart and wee-wee jokes –
    Generations double up with laughter together
    Subversion wins the day!

  22. Robin

    Fresh snow accumulated overnight, redrawing the lines of the landscape. The birds gather around the feeder, some on the ground scratching for fallen seeds buried in the snow. A red-tailed hawk perches on a high branch in a tree at the edge of the meadow, watching. Waiting. A fine white powder, barely visible, is being squeezed and sifted from the clouds overhead, falling softly, silently, in a straight line from sky to ground. The air is still. The raspy screech of another hawk somewhere off in the distance is carried across the hills and the pond.

    I wonder why all the birds don’t fly south to escape the cold and snow, leaving us birdless for a season.

  23. jake chambers

    1.21.2012 ~ Our inside dog is teaching me telepathic powers. By moving to and fro within my line of sight, causes me to make eye contact with him…and he doesn’t blink during the stare down

  24. Hannah


    Finding myself without pen
    I pattern paisley poems;
    Simply, invisibly
    across expanse of mind.
    Words written in
    Swift, smokey plumes;
    Rising skyward from chimneys.
    Scribbled in pale pallor
    Of snow snakes,
    Tailing across pavement.
    Pleasant paths
    Iced, spliced to thoughts
    Captured in crystal flakes,
    Falling in a sideways drift.

    © Hannah Gosselin and Metaphors and Smiles, 2012.

  25. SharonW


    The snow remembers. In the night
    a rabbit came this way. Its long
    back feet left vees to say that it
    was here. And over there, a line
    of dots commemorates a squirrel,
    or else perhaps the local cat.

    I leave no tracks. Instead I pick
    up shovelfuls of snow and toss
    them left or right before my feet
    arrive. A tropic creature, wrapped
    in shirt and sweatshirt, coat, gloves, hat,
    pretending to be warm, erased,
    unwritten, from this snowy history.

    On my blog at

  26. Sue B

    streaks of strawberry milkshake are etched against
    a pale ice blue sky
    charcoal clouds float by at speed
    suspended in a vanilla light

  27. Hildred and Charles

    A small stone from the Similkameen
    January 21st, 2012

    three inches of fresh snow
    cat tracks through the yard!
    at the window Callie’s tail swishes
    reaching bottlebrush dimensions…..

  28. Larry Piper

    Rock salt, it seems,
    hurts dog pads.
    My old friend flops on his belly
    and lifts his front paws in protest.

  29. Lightverse

    cold, wet, crystalline
    fashion statement for canines…
    snowdreads on my dog:

    I have a small, adorable Cairn terrier (think Toto from The Wizard of Oz.) She will be 15 years old next week. My pretty, shaggy little puppygirl likes to go outside when it snows, but because she’s low to the ground, she gets snowdreads all over her feet, legs and underbelly. I am certain that she must be really cold, but she’s never articulated anything of the sort to me.

    I guess she believes in suffering for her beauty, too.

  30. Walt Wojtanik

    The colorless sky beckons
    crooking her windblown finger.
    She wishes to linger until
    the spring brings her rest.
    The winter of her malcontent
    has sent the sun into hiding.

  31. T

    The old, rusted, broken down, Ford truck
    is permanently parked by the abandoned farm.
    I drive by and try to imagine:
    Who wrecked it?
    Who was last in the cab?
    Maybe a young boy just learning to drive?
    Maybe an old man who should’ve quit driving long ago?
    What about the farm?
    Who decided to stop painting the barn?
    Who sold the last cow?
    Who just stopped using the plow?
    Likely nobody made these decisions.
    Decline seeps in slowly, methodically, invisibly,
    Like arthritis in the farmer’s bones,
    Like dirty oil in the truck’s engine,
    Like rain drip, drip, dripping on untended wood.

  32. Revlahart

    How has it been? I asked.
    And around the circle,
    the answered.
    Taking notice of
    their hearts,
    their lives,
    their attention to others.
    A small circle of
    people, strangers really,
    speaking deep
    truths to each other.
    It’s not all happy,
    it is all reall.
    Blessings all around.

  33. Lorelei

    A smooth puddle reflecting the gray sky suddenly shatters from a big drop from above, bounces it back, then absorbs the water into itself, smooth again.

    ~Laura Hoopes

  34. W J Wood

    I enjoyed watching some kids down the street making a snowman. The smallest child, a girl, stayed outside after the others went indoors. She walked around the snowman many times as she adjusted the snow in various places. She was in the moment also.

  35. Fi


    This is our first dinner at this table in our new house. No television, just my children, my husband and me, together, actually talking. Talking about something and nothing. It doesn’t matter. Talking, together.

  36. Kathleen Jones

    What do you do when the switch inside your head decides it’s morning in the middle of the night?

  37. francesca perry

    Reading the overture to Swann’s way it strikes me that this is a veritable tsunami of stones..

  38. Snowbourne

    “Progress” and “mankind” appear
    on the tragic signage proudly erected wherever another
    forest has been felled.

  39. searching serendipity

    Again 2 at a time…server down yesterday for awhile.

    Jan 20 Stone
    In the cold of the north and the warmth of the west, the gulf stream allows palm trees to flourish in summer. At this time of year their dead skirts of leaves droop decorously downwards, listless dun-coloured and tattered.
    Yet, look up: the palm crowns battle darkly green against the South Westerly and protect a few lighter green leaves that peer, almost shly, from deep within the tree top. A warm winter results in signs of early spring.
    Look down: the shoots of daffodils are cutting, lance-like, through the grass.

    Jan 21 Stone
    Watercolour wash blends seamlessly, unbidden, with whatever comes next; just like this one moment blends into the next hour into the next day. Painting in the specifics turns a background into a picture, just as memory writes the remembered detailed portrait of today.

  40. basho42

    Sitting…with discomfort; as it turns out for a good part of the day.
    Thinking…I have to be “doing” something on my weekend that has value as these 2 days are so precious and NOT work!
    Crankiness, fear, anxiety, low blood sugar?
    And now, dusk is here I’ve eaten and taken the body outside and realized how raw I was and needed to get back home! Grief comes in many disguises and asks quite a lot of one. And now, having given this feeling ample time I think, what a luxury to be able to let myself be okay with feeling cranky and uncomfortable and all those other descriptions that sound negative but are really no more usual or regular than joy or happiness or contentment. Now, I’m smiling at myself and writing it all down. I am a work in progress…

  41. Kate

    I walked into the kitchen and it hit me — I’m not hungry.

    It may be dark moon and the energy is low and I’ve these worries all added up to carry around with me and tally once in a while or when the sun goes down.

    But there I was in a kitchen. I turned on the light and it worked and I turned on the water and it worked and I twirled a couple of times and my bones did not complain. The house was all yeasty-fine with the smell of bread I’d baked, my man was playing music on his guitar, and there was that fact — I’m not hungry.

    I wanted to thank someone. Or pass it on — cause you can’t keep it. I’ve got the moment — like this — and then the world moves.

    It’s still the dark of this crazy moon. We’re still not wholly out of what last year was, nor will we ever be, and yet some page turned. I put the kettle on for tea and laughed out loud. It had been awhile.

    Moon, you’ll come new and I’ll say something’s begun, but the intent of the candle I lit this morning while dragging my feet and crying without tears, was to rise.

  42. susan christensen

    Frozen trees
    in the gusts.
    Snow hurls
    from branches
    in swirls.
    We brave the blizzard.

  43. Judith Richards Shubert

    Curly haired Anna gave her mother a quarter when asked.
    Another, said her mother, and then another.
    Can you press the round green button?
    Standing on tip-toes, stretching her little arm, her tiny finger made contact.

    The striped, purple, yellow, pink and green of her shirts and socks flew
    Around and around as the girl stood in wonder and cocked her head
    First one way, and then another.
    A whirling bumpy noise then snagged her attention.

    Quizzical look upon her face, Anna looked up at her mother,
    Then in the most grown-up of voices, she declared, “This machine is very jumpy.”

  44. Michelle

    The snow is melting…..slushy lake sized puddles outside…..inside two pairs of gloves and one pair of boots sit by the heater, one lone sock under the table, one glove without a mate on the counter, a pile of scarfs and hats on the dryer…..the snow is melting, leaving behind the accouterments of snow days well played.

  45. Noodle Notes


    (Stone #21 by Rhonda L.Johnson)

    Lines of cars,
    like strings of
    Christmas lights,
    snake along the
    slick grey highway
    –guiding us home

  46. Renee

    Silent Tracks

    Trains sounding in the
    distance of darkest
    night remind me of
    how many tracks are
    now abandoned left
    silent without wheels
    without destination

    © January 2012

  47. Rena J. Traxel

    The Dangers of Writing

    Tap. Tap. My fingers move up and down and across the keyboard. Something is burning. Again. No fire, but a little smoke, a result of losing myself in my writing.

  48. Lynn Tatro

    Celebrating his birthday the polar bear at the zoo chose the red frozen treat over the yellow one, of course.

  49. Steve Pardue

    Lapwings on Blue

    Lapwings flight
    Wings collecting sunlight
    On wings that flap
    Black and white
    a mono world
    Against a screen
    Of blue

  50. Mary

    The autofocus hums
    Fine details come into view
    Pine needles topped with snow.

    A background of bokeh
    Red box, green light. Beep.
    This moment is locked.

  51. Lanita

    We look at each other in the filtered light of a gloomy day which has seeped into our room between wood shutters. It’s only mid-day, but our kids are gone for the night, so we lie in our bed, basking in naked silence and love for one another.

  52. Kathleen Jones

    In the pub, watching the firelight through a glass of wine. A good place to be on a cold evening.

  53. teri

    January 21, 2012- Small Stones
    denial by Teri H Hoover

    Vainly raised awareness.
    The tree trunk mind
    does not admit the burden.

  54. John Ross Barnes

    #smallstones A frosty Portland morning / sitting at the tire store / eating free pop corn / the Ring is loud / the coffee is hot. #5lines

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