Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Power of Words

It's been fun participating in River of Stones and committing to writing a small stone daily. Today, I'm using a long-ago post from my other blog, Live and Learn. I believe those of you who are readers and writers probably have similar stories from your childhood. Hopefully, those who are parents or mentors will share their love of words with children. Fostering a love of reading/writing is a gift that lasts forever.

Today's Stone:
This morning, I was thinking about books and reading. From the time I was a little girl, books were a lifeline for me and a window to a wider world. When I was very small, my father supplied made-up stories. I'd climb on his lap in the evenings before dinner, and he would begin to collect his thoughts with "Once upon a time..." He was a factory worker; he smelled of sweat and White Owl cigars.

Around the age of 4, he started taking me to the grocery store when he did the weekly grocery shopping. Since my parents both worked in factories, I think they were "enlightened" about the division of household labor long before it became a cultural phenomena. While he shopped in the tiny store, I'd park myself in front of the spiral, rotating, wire book shelf that held an offering of Golden Books. I'd carefully remove a book, look at the pictures, put it back, revolve the shelf, and remove another that caught my fancy. Too soon, my father would finish, and it was time for me to choose - he bought me a new Golden Book every Friday night. By the time I entered school when I was 6, I had quite a collection - a library of both Golden Books and comic books - though I didn't know the concept of "library" at that time.

I was already an avid reader when I entered first grade. School was a difficult transition for me. I was an introverted child who loved words and books. I was the only kid in first grade who could already read. In that once upon a time (1950), teachers taught from Basal Readers; you were not allowed to turn the page until the whole reading group took turns reading (excruciatingly slowly) through the small paragraph on each page. The books were of the Dick and Jane variety - not much going on except a game of ball with Spot. I was so bored that I began to feign sickness so I could stay home and do what I loved best - read. The teacher finally called my parents. The next day, my father stayed home from work to drive me to the front of the school. He gave me a pep talk about all I'd learn someday if I'd just stick it out. Since I thought he was always right (and I was prone to being a "good girl"), I never tried to play hooky again.

My father died suddenly when I was 9. Stories and books were the least of my mother's worries. Luckily, the seeds were already sown, so I could continue to blossom on my own. At that point, I knew how to use the power of imagination after thinking "once upon a time." I also knew that the words in books could save my life. They did.

My Grandchildren reading a book belonging to their Daddy 40 years ago

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Safe Keeping

Suddenly alert - panic surging
Blackness pressing from outside in
I creep through night's house
To check the Grandchildren
Cocooned in blankets, faces flushed
Dreams twitching eyelids
Safely sleeping, unaware
Of Night Monsters banished
By Grammy's vigilance

A River of Stones

Friday, January 28, 2011


Up high at break of day
Treasure glitters at the peak
Sliver Moon disappears
Sun rises in cloudless blue
Spreading a welcome warmth before
Dropping diamonds on the snow

A River of Stones

Looking toward Fourth of July Bowl from top of Peak 8
Breckenridge Ski Area

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day's End

Hushed in the forest
Skis glide over animal tracks
Low sun a prism
Friends heading home

A River of Stones

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Standing at the summit
Gauzy clouds and chilly mist
Wintery peaks fading to the horizon

Suddenly, I realize
Life is NOW:
No past, no future - just present

And the steady beating of my heart

A River of Stones

Ridge of Ten Mile Range (12,840'), Breckenridge Ski Area

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Folding wash, moist air enveloping
Smoothing the towels languidly
Feeling warmth penetrate cold
Hugging the pile chin to chest
Remembering summer beaches and sunshine
Before closing the dryer door

A River of Stones

Monday, January 24, 2011


Fresh snow at dawn
Landscape pristine
Sky and earth in blue repose
Tree tops bathed in silver light
Beckoning the beginning day

A River of Stones

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Deep inside the seed husk still resides
A faded memory of summer's color

(In the winter of my Life, the girl still lurks close to the surface)

A River of Stones

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Gift

When I first saw my Granddaughter
Behind the glass, in her little cot
Immediately I thought of my Mother
Whether a physical resemblance
Or just essence, I can't say
The child carries something forward
In smile or spirit
That was and is a gift

A River of Stones

Friday, January 21, 2011


Creeping silently, ears and eyes focused - alert
Suddenly pouncing, muzzle buried in snow - huntress
Trotting away, limp vole dangling - triumphant

Ruby on white marks the spot

A River of Stones

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Deep Freeze

Night's indigo dreams disperse
Erased by Dawn's frigid light
Mountains dress in purple haze
A new Day wakes shivering

A River of Stones

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Winter's Lullaby

A pewter day of sifting snow
Quilting the ground with feathery flakes
More upon much, winter's hush
A lullaby of white

A River of Stones

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Powder Day

Knee deep snow
Mountain full of locals
Whoops and hollers
Tracking fresh powder

A River of Stones

Powder Day at Breckenridge

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bare Bones

Skeleton structure
Looking fragile but withstanding
Weather - winds of change
In my mind I rest
Within similar strong
Bare bones

A River of Stones

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Nature's Treasure

Sometimes, just for an instant
A sparkling jewel falls
From Nature's treasure chest
Into consciousness -
Memory's trove of fleeting riches

A River of Stones

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Early morning
The face in the mirror smiles at me
I smile back
At myself

A River of Stones

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cross Country Ski

Gliding through sunlit forest
Snow creaks, skis sing
Glittering veils blow from branches
Turning gossamer in winter's light

A River of Stones

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Peppermint Winter

Cold seeps under doors
Windows are freezing
Hugging the tea mug
Peppermint steam warms my face

A River of Stones

Monday, January 10, 2011

Indigo Days

Weak winter light
Seeping blue onto snow
Indigo shadows pooling
As the day wanes

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Wonderful, as snow sifts from Heaven
To sit in meditation
The breath becoming an offering

A River of Stones

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hopeful Heart

One year today
My heart broke temporarily
It's fixed now
I hope the repair lasts

A River of Stones

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bone Chilling

Wispy clouds, bright sunshine, but
Oh so bone chilling
A Rocky Mountain winter

A River of Stones

Thursday, January 6, 2011


To feel unbelievably tired
Is actually euphoric
When it culminates
A happily memorable day.

A River of Stones

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Enveloped by snow fog
As we skied down the mountain
Up became down -

A River of Stones

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sweet Dreams

Faces chapped from cold and eyes glazed
Brush teeth, a final drink, a hunt for something missing
Calling "I love You'"
Small bodies to bed, already dreaming
Of more fun tomorrow

A River of Stones

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Old Friends

Meeting for brunch
White tablecloths
Chatter and Eggs Sardou
Content with old Friends

River of Stones

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Beginnings

Winter weary
A child's shy smile
Warms my day
New Beginnings

Visit River of Stones for other participants (or to participate yourself).