Friday, January 31, 2020

Small Stone - The End

The last day of January means the last small stone. I want to thank you for visiting the blog and also for the many e-mails I've received about the stones. Since I don't have comments enabled, I write and post in a vacuum, not knowing if anyone is reading or enjoying the photos. It's fun to hear from you and to receive your feedback on the stones. It's always quite a commitment for me to post every day. Normally, I might post 2-3 times a month. However, I definitely gain something from sharpening my observations and encouraging my personal mindfulness. 

thank you for your presence
all endings are really beginnings
may love and peace abide with you


Thursday, January 30, 2020

Small Stone - Nature's Plan

deep in a lodgepole forest
3 small evergreens stand in a row
lovely with snow-covered branches
at equal intervals from each other

how were they magically planted
these spruce among pines
what force planned their birth
and watches over their growth

I pass these little spruce and marvel. I hope they stay healthy, spreading their branches over hundreds of years, bearing witness to something that is magical and unknowable.

The wonder of Nature is my Good Thing today.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Small Stone - Taking Notice

red bark dressed in sunshine
jaunty snow hat on stump
golden glitter on white

winter forest in its finery
waits for me to notice

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Small Stone - Alone in the Forest.

Just after dawn, snow is tinged blue with cold shadows.
I ready myself for a solo ski.

As the forest closes around me, I seek the sun's warmth.

Cold makes my skis squeak.
Fresh snow packs with a muted crunch.
Except for the tips of my fingers, I'm warm in my layers.
(I need to stop removing my glove to take photos!)
New snow is a blank page where I write my story.

Alone in the forest, I'm very alert.
I watch for moose and also for their tracks.
Today only small animal tracks crisscross the forest.
The bunnies have been busy during the night.

In the old growth pine forest, spruce and cedar add their stately beauty.
The stillness is a gift I receive with gladness.

After several miles, I loop homeward.
The sun warms me though the day is still cold.
Fox tracks lead the way.
I haven't met a soul.
Alone in the forest, I'm smiling.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Small Stone - Smile

I need to smile more
even when I'm low
worry on my mind
heart heavy

especially when
frustration looms
sadness gathers
anger brews

even a fake smile
lowers blood pressure
heightens immunity
slows the heart rate

Are you smiling back at this lady? I hope so! 

I went early this morning to walk through the entries in Breckenridge's International Snow Sculpture Championships. This is the Wisconsin entry which won 3rd place. Not only was I smiling at the lady, I was also smiling because there were no crowds. The weekend brought record visitors to town to view the sculptures. On a Monday, I could photograph them at leisure with nobody closeby.

Smile because it makes you feel good! 
(Also, a smile is contagious. It makes others feel good, too.)

Thank you for visiting.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Small Stone - What I'm Reading

I usually intersperse reading fiction with nonfiction. Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales is the first nonfiction I completed this year. It was written in 2004 but updated in 2016. It has some interesting information about all kinds of survival, not just in the wilderness but also in daily life. (Here's the gist: don't panic and let your emotions override your reason. Also, don't depend on anyone else to "save" you from a dangerous situation.) 

A friend sent me a list of 10 new nonfiction books for 2020, and from that list, I'm currently reading Physical Intelligence by Scott Grafton. I'm finding the information in that book helpful because he discusses current research on brain/body connections and includes footnotes.  He intersperses some rather dense information sections with some personal anecdotes about physical intelligence. I'm only about half way through, but his message seems to be "use it or lose it". The brain as well as the physical body (including nerves, muscles, and connective tissue)  must receive constant stimuli and must practice many intricate movements to remain in optimum condition for the challenges of daily living. I was happy to learn that physical balance is positively affected if a person continually practices in everyday life. Sitting on the couch is not a physical activity and will not lead to good balance!

Two other books from the list that I have as samples on my Kindle are You're Not Listening by Kate Murphy and The Joy of Movement by Kelly McGonigal. 

Books are my One Good Thing today - and will also serve as my Small Stone.

Here I am, practicing balance and trying to survive using my new touring skis and boots.

Happy reading to you!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Small Stone - Dawdling

At some point, he'll realize I'm not directly behind him.

That straight line of tracks to his distant red coat needs a photo.
After all these years, he'll wait patiently just out of sight.

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Friday, January 24, 2020

Small Stone - Nature's Canvas

A scene I've witnessed a thousand times is always unique.

Sometimes, I can't believe the beauty I see.
Trees are laden with their burden of white.
A glitter of diamonds bejewels the trees.

Fox tracks string a dainty necklace into the woods.

Nature's canvas is ever-changing.
May you see something today that feeds your spirit.
There are treasures waiting just outside your door.

Thank you for visiting.

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Small Stone - Fresh Snow

through a maze of snow-splattered trunks
breaking trail in fresh powder
sounds muffled by white

Breckenridge records 15" (38cm) of powdery snow in 24 hours.
Bundled into warm layers, we venture into the quiet of the forest.
Our skis buried in white, snow creeps up to our knees on the downhills.
Two 75 year olds play like children as snow keeps falling.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Small Stone - Winter's Treat

snow sifts downward, sometimes salt, sometimes popcorn
winter's treat

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Small Stone - Past Expiration

I'm embarrassed to admit this:

I finished a massive cleanup job this morning.
It involved our medicine cabinet and the drawers in our bath.
I also tackled the area under the sinks - that nether region of forgotten items.

For two people who don't take much medication except an occasional Tylenol,
I couldn't believe all the outdated prescriptions and potions in the medicine cabinet.
Speaking of Tylenol, why did we think we were low on supply?
Bottle after bottle were hiding in there.

We moved into this house in 1995.
Some of the dates on the bottles preceded our move!
I think they were definitely "past expiration date"!
Truthfully, I can't remember ever getting rid of stuff in that cabinet.
We just kept adding to it until the disarrayed shelves could take no more.
"Out of sight, out of mind" seemed to be our motto.
(This travesty of clutter sprang from a couple who tend to be tidy.)

Now all is pristine, and I'm feeling a pride that I hope doesn't go before a fall.

No photos today obviously - I've shocked you enough.

My challenge to you is this:

Before you judge, go to your own bath and start opening doors and drawers.
Unless you've moved recently, I bet you'll be as appalled as I was.
Happy reorganizing and cleaning!

PS If you need any Tylenol, let me know...

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Monday, January 20, 2020

Small Stone - Blessings

In the sanctuary of the forest, I count my blessings.

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Small Stone - Morning Waits

forest stills
morning waits
moon stands sentry

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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Small Stone - Gliding Homeward

frigid morning skiing through white
breaking trail through old-growth woods
gently gliding homeward

Some days we must force ourselves into the cold. When we do, we're rewarded by the purity of new-fallen snow and the quiet welcome of the forest.

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Small Stone - Content

before dawn, lodgepoles diffuse moonlight through the forest

at sunrise, an eerie glow lights the landscape

late afternoon, the sun naps and snow starts falling

a changeable day with a Winter Storm Warning 
high winds expected
we sit by the fire watching the swirling snow


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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Small Stone - Bloom

sometimes change happens overnight
in darkness, something stirs
by morning - unfolding
a scarlet surprise
crimson glory

I chose two Amaryllis bulbs this season.
The first to bloom offers several opening buds -
in my favorite color - RED!

from bulb to bloom - One Good Thing

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Small Stone - Beginning, Middle, and End

I have a friend who starts reading a book, then goes to the last chapter because she wants to know how it ends. I'm appalled. 
Would you do that? 

I want the mystery, the excitement, the adventure of not knowing. Maybe I try to figure out how the story ends and then feel surprise when it veers in a different direction. 
I like the tension of delayed gratification. 

Life is story, of course. I'm glad that we can't look to the last chapter or read the last page before we move through the days and hours and minutes and seconds of our lives. 
When I'm close to the end, I hope I think,
"That was a really good story!"

The photo is about stones but (possibly) has nothing to do with what I wrote previously. I took it at Dog Beach in Del Mar, CA last spring. The names on the stones are of beloved pets who died.
Their lives are over, but I think the stories about them continue.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Small Stone - Be Mindful

an appointment in town
blue sky and sunshine
snow swirling off the high peaks
I tell myself' "be mindful"
on icy walkways

I'm walking more like an old lady this winter, cautious with every step.  I correct my posture and concentrate on balance. "Better safe than sorry!" my mother used to say.

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Small Stones - Musical Interlude

Our son always brings his guitar when he visits.
He plays for me in the early morning while I'm getting breakfast ready.
When we relax in the evening, he strums and sings for us.

hearing him play, I think of when he was a little boy
he always had his fingers on the beat of our family
a sensitive boy grew into a kind hearted man

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Small Stone - Family Time

Our son and grandsons visited this weekend.
The teens skied with their dad.
The little guy played with Grammy.
He says he can't stay on electronics too long:
"It fries my brain!"
So endless games of Zingo and Parcheesi kept our brains happy.

Our oldest grandson who is soon 17 with his brother, our youngest grandson who is 7.

The house is suddenly quiet.
I miss them already.


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Saturday, January 11, 2020

Small Stone - Defib

We went to dinner with friends on January 8, the 10th anniversary of my heart attack.
Waiting for the restaurant to open, I looked inside.
Peering beyond the reflected images,  I couldn't believe my eyes.
On the wall hung a defibrillator which gave me a strange feeling.
Glad it was there, I sure hoped I wouldn't have need for it.

My beating heart is my one good thing today and every day.

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Friday, January 10, 2020

Small Stone - Narcissus Blooming

narcissus look peachy under soft lighting
making me smile
as snow falls

portrait setting - iPhone 11 Pro
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Thursday, January 9, 2020

Small Stone - California Dreaming

I spent today thinking of the beach.
I'm trying to make rental arrangements in CA for the spring.
As snow fell outside, I could hear the faraway ocean.
It was calling my name.

I can dream, can't I?

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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Small Stone - My Beating Heart

Ten years ago, on January 8, 2010, I suffered a heart attack.
Today, I celebrate life.

An end became a beginning.
The journey continues.

Find one good thing.
Pass it on.

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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Small Stone - City Lights

Bob on Larimer Street in Denver

In the city, there are lights everywhere.
Yet, I miss seeing the glimmer of starlight on the velvet tapestry of night.

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Monday, January 6, 2020

Small Stone - Storm Warning

winter storm warning
wind and swirling snow
temperatures plummeting

tall lodgepoles frenzied
fear of frostbite and falling trees
keep me from the forest

candles and a flickering fire
something hot to drink
the start of a new book

inside looking out

I'm alone today. I thought I'd have a solitary forest adventure. Weather changed my mind.
I'm reading Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why - perhaps an appropriate title.

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Sunday, January 5, 2020

Small Stone - Waning Light

late afternoon
weary sun casting shadows
making pillows on the snow
as I glide homeward

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Small Stone - Rebirth

I start my day in inky darkness lit only by moon and star glow.
I sit quietly in my big chair watching firelight flicker.
Steam from black tea warms my face.

Slowly, light from the east leaks into darkness.
For a few moments, I sit transfixed.
Each dawn unveils a different palette.

My heart soars with the awakening sun.
The western peaks receive a glow that seems to light them from within.
That glow spreads inside and around me.

Each day a rebirth.
The chance for new beginnings.

Dawn is always the first of my good things for the day.
Think of me sometimes as you watch the sun rise in your part of the world.
I just might be thinking of you.

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Friday, January 3, 2020

Small Stone - Immaculate Beauty

A blog friend from India used  "immaculate" beauty to describe one of my snow scenes on Instagram. 
That description seems totally apt for the fresh fallen snow I often photograph. 
I'm charmed by the implications of the word.

the purity of first light on fresh snow scrubs my soul clean
time stands still - the pristine landscape unfolds
a world unto itself - perfection
immaculate beauty

Thank you Arti for being an inspiration - you're my one good thing today.

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Thursday, January 2, 2020

Small Stone - The Old Sled

The sled was already old when I was young.
I could barely lift it to run the few steps to the crest of the hill.
Flinging it downward, I'd belly flop and hold on tight.
Tears from cold and wind trickled from the corners of my eyes.
My heart hammered with exhilaration and fear.
Would I be able to drag my boots hard enough to stop before the creek?

Through many moves, the sled stayed with me.
Both of us are considered antiques now.
To me the sled is more than wood and steel.
The ghost of my childhood lives in it.

The gift of memory is my good thing today.

Thank you for visiting.
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Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Small Stone - Happy 2020!

I started this blog in 2011 to participate in an international Small Stone writing challenge. A Small Stone is a brief, mindful observation that may take the form of poetry or journaling. Some of the blog friends I made through the years of writing stones still use the practice to encourage introspection and creativity. 

Daily, for the month of January, I share stones to welcome a fresh start. 
I often use a photo as part of the stone.

golden light offers the illusion of warmth on this chilly dawn of a new year

Happy 2020!

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