Sunday, January 31, 2021

Celebrate - Small Stone - 31

we don't need a special reason to celebrate
wake and be thankful
for a new day

find one good thing - pass it on
celebrate life

this is January's final stone
thank you to all who have visited the blog
I've enjoyed your e-mails

small stone
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Saturday, January 30, 2021

Unforgettable Moments - Small Stone - 30

snow hangs like gauze in the air
a silvery glow lighting the forest
as sunbeams filter through it

an ordinary moment becomes unforgettable
watch carefully for these moments or they slip away unnoticed

small stone
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Friday, January 29, 2021

Patterns - Small Stones - 29

 evergreens frosty sentinels, sun casting lacy shadows, patterns on snow
winter's chilly canvas

be present and mindful

small stone
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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Cotton Ball Trees - Small Stone - 28

cotton ball trees in the forest after a few inches of new snow
minus 4 F (-20 C) early but warmed to 28 F (-2 C) by midmorning
our skis complained about the cold but bundled in layers we were warm

gliding through a magical forest decorated with cotton balls

small stone
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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Nature's Promise - Small Stone - 27


the sleeping winter pond holds secrets

revealed in due time by summer's warmth

a time to rest and a time to bloom
Nature's promise 

if you enlarge the snow photo, you can see rabbit tracks on the opposite bank 

be mindful of promises made and kept

small stone
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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Night Terror - Small Stone - 26

fighting for release, breathing hard, battling to surface - night terror

adrenalin floods my body, escape means life or death
the dreamer is me but not me
hearing Bob's voice far away
terror subsides into sleep

I've had a handful of night terrors over the past 3 years. I scare Bob as much as myself because I thrash and call out. I never fully wake and never remember the dream. I only remember the fear.

small stone
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I created the double exposure using a selfie taken December 2020 with a photo of woven baskets casting shadows on a wall taken in Tucson, AZ, 2006. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Storm Watch - Small Stone - 25

the sky floats a white veil
to the mountain's shoulders
obscuring the peaks

storm watch

small stone
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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Bald Mountain - Small Stone - 22

I see Bald Mountain on my walks through the neighborhood. It rises above the valley opposite the Tenmile Range. I've hiked up Baldy several times, once on snowshoes when I was in my 50's. Hiking the ridgeline you encounter at least 2 false summits before finally reaching the top. It's about 10 miles to the summit and back. Hiking mountains is like navigating life. You must keep going, moving forward, and not be discouraged by setbacks (or false summits).
I must remember to tell my oldest grandchildren this! 
I hope they don't roll their eyes....

Baldy is 13,690' in altitude (4,173M). It is one of many 13,000' peaks surrounding Breckenridge.

small stone
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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Winter Shadow - Small Stone - 23

Days hover around freezing. However, high altitude sunshine is warm. As I walk, I feel body heat increasing. I tie my jacket around my waist and peel off my gloves. Some days, I walk over 6 miles. I don't feel tired and wonder if I should keep going. However,  I worry my legs might ache by evening with more mileage. 

So, I follow my shadow home.

small stone
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I hope you find time to be outdoors with your shadow, too.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Connections - Small Stone - 22

the plowed, unpaved road near my house where I like to walk

I met a neighbor and his dog this week while I was walking. They live several miles from us, and I haven't seen them since this Covid isolation began. Actually, we only recognize each other from meeting on the road - years ago we introduced ourselves, first names only. We usually stop and chat a bit. Of course, on this occasion, we stayed a road-width apart to keep our "social distance". His dog, Rosy, an ancient black lab, couldn't understand why I didn't approach to scratch her ears. I tried to ask "J" about his wife, but he raised his hand to his ear. "I'm so deaf now, I can't hear you," he said sadly. I put my hands around my mouth to funnel the sound and yelled, "Your wife! HOW IS YOUR WIFE FEELING?" A smile lit J's face, "Thanks for asking! She's great. We're both fine." 

J is much more stooped than last winter. I'm glad he's still getting outside to walk Rosy, who seems more padded around the middle than a year ago. She waddles now and moves slowly. However, sweet Rosy still wags her tail so hard, her whole body shakes. She definitely remembers my head pats and ear scratches. 

None of us really "knows" people we meet. Our hopes, goals, beliefs, happiness, and sadness are usually private matters. We meet on the road of life, say a few words, then continue on, keeping to our own course. However, there are times when even brief encounters offer much-needed uplifting connections.

Though I'm sure J didn't hear, I said quietly,
 "May Love and Peace abide with you."
Rosy looked me right in the eye.
I'm sure she understood.

The J's and Rosy's of the world are my good things today...
and the connections we manage forge.

small stone
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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Walking in the Rain - Small Stone - 21

 15 years ago
walking in the rain
before the wedding
me following with the camera (of course)

photo taken January 2006, pier off Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA

Happy 15th Anniversary to our son and d-i-l!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Ethereal Beauty - Small Stone - 20

 when the sun glows off western peaks 
the sky softening with morning light
my breath catches in amazement
at such ethereal beauty

small stone
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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Gratitiude - Small Stone - 19

early morning stillness
an audio sent of my grandson playing 
Bach's Prelude in C Major for piano
closing my eyes, tears wash my face
my heart swells with love and gratitude

small stone

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unfortunately, Blogger won't let me insert audio so I can't share with you

Monday, January 18, 2021

Lake Etchings - Small Stone - 18

Lake Dillon

a frigid dawn, blown snow etching an icy lake

small stone
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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Tenmile Range - Small Stone - 17

 Over 30 years ago, I arrived in Breckenridge and was awed by the peaks of the Tenmile Range. 
It was love at first sight.

Imperial Peak (Peak 8) on far left looking toward Peak 5 of the Tenmile Range.
As you can see from the dark, rocky areas on the peaks, we need more snow.
The white ribbons are ski trails.

looking to the peaks
my heart finds home

small stone
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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Poop Bag - Small Stone - 16

When I walk the neighborhood, I wear Yak-Trax to keep from slipping on ice. I like to walk 5 miles, but if it's windy or frigid, I do less. Lately, I've been noticing plastic bags filled with dog poop on my route. I know none of my neighbors does this. So, I wondered, is a visitor discarding the poop-filled bags? 

Yesterday morning, I happened to look out the window when a tourist was walking down the street with two large dogs off-leash. (We have a leash law in Breckenridge.)  Of course, the dogs were happily running onto every property. Finally, one squatted, and the man walked into the driveway of the house to pick up. But, here's what happened: he picked up, walked out to the road, tied the bag shut, and dropped it! I couldn't believe my eyes. Why would someone pick up and then drop the plastic bag full of poop? I made an excuse for him: surely he'll pick up the bag when he returns from the walk. But, NO! The bag remained. 

I stewed about this for a couple hours. I know, I know - it's not life or death. But, who does this to the environment and also in a residential neighborhood? Finally, I called a friend up the street who knew the rental management company for the house where the man and his group are staying. The company got back to my friend last night by e-mail. They explained to the tourists that town ordinances require dogs be leashed and waste be picked up (and taken back to wherever you're renting before discarding bag).  The people apologized, saying they love the neighborhood and would follow the dog rules. Obviously, I'm not holding my breath thinking this will happen.

Am I missing something here?  Would you pick up with a plastic bag and then discard both bag and poop in a neighborhood or on a trail? Would you allow a dog to run willy-nilly in public spaces with no way (either by voice command or leash) to control them? (Especially in places where there is a lot of roaming wildlife.)

Unfortunately, this incident has badly impacted my attempt to be non-judgemental.

Finally, here is my stone:

There are no bad dogs, only bad owners.

small stone

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Friday, January 15, 2021

Tracks - Small Stone - 15


snowshoe hare tracks - the hare's fur turns white in winter - a great camouflage against the snow

morning light on snow
tracks leading into the forest
heading home

small stone
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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Wind - Small Stone - 14

wind buffeting through the night
screaming, growling, groaning
trees gyrating, snow blowing

daylight shows the damage
trees in forest down
house still standing

small stone

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

New Day Dawning - Small Stone - 13

Every week or 10 days, we drive for grocery pickup.
It's the only time we leave home.
The change of scenery makes us smile.
Hello morning!

clouds dressed in pink at dawn
quietly welcoming a new day

small stone

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Rave Reviews - Small Stone - 12

my banana cake flopped - too dense and dry
but I served a piece a day to the gray jays
with rave reviews

  remember - it all depends who the critics are

small stone
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Monday, January 11, 2021

Obsidian - Small Stone - 11

 Did you ever read or hear a word and it stays in your mind? You just wish for an opportunity to use it. Well, sometimes you must make your own opportunities.


sunset filters through storm clouds onto an obsidian sea

Photo from 2018 - the obsidian sea at Del Mar, CA during sunset
small stone

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

What We Sow, We Reap - Small Stone - 10

As a baby, a toddler, and a little boy, our oldest grandson spent a lot of time with us.
We shared our love of the outdoors with him and our respect for nature. 

Now, he's a big boy, a young man - he'll turn 18 next month.
He still likes spending time outdoors, learning from Nature.
He enjoys backpacking, rock climbing, biking, and skiing.
When I see photos of him balancing hundreds of feet up on a rock face, I get nervous.
I think he likes to scare his Grammy a little bit when he texts me photos of his adventures.
I warn him, "Be careful!" 

He's an excellent photographer.
I first handed him my camera when he was 5.
Now he has his own DSLR cameras and lenses.
His photos of wildlife and landscapes are amazing.

Excuse an old Grammy for bragging.
Sometimes, what we sow, we reap.

I'm proud of you Ben!

The photo was taken by one of his friends. I watermarked it because I prefer it not be reused.
Aren't the colors in the rock amazing?

small stone

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Saturday, January 9, 2021

Rules - Small Stone - 9

Photography has certain "rules". "Don't shoot directly into the sun" is one of them. When using my DSLR mirrorless, I'm aware of the damage the sun can do to the sensor. I avoid shooting directly into it. The sun creates flairs, blows out highlights, and over-saturates certain colors. For these very reasons, I sometimes shoot with the iPhone when I see a scene and think the sun's glare will add to the story I want to tell. 

We are often in the forest with the rising sun. Occasionally, I let the sun and the scene speak.

may light (both inner and outer) guide you today

small stone
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sometimes rules need to be broken....

Friday, January 8, 2021

My Beating Heart - Small Stone - 8

 On January 8, 2010, I woke at 4 AM experiencing classic signs of a heart attack: radiating pain across my shoulders down my left arm into the hand, sweating, nausea, aching jaw, and a disorienting feeling of shock and doom. I was 65 at the time, and a recent physical gave me a clean bill of health. Since I had fallen on skis several times the day before and struggled to right myself, I attributed my symptoms to pulled muscles. I didn't want to believe the obvious.

I thought of myself as a strong, intelligent woman. Instead, I was a fool! I delayed going to the ER for about 10 hours. Luckily, after our son called 3 times and begged me to stop wasting time and get to the hospital, I listened. He probably saved my life.

I was taken by ambulance from Breckenridge to Denver and met the young cardiologist who performed an angiogram and saw the tear in the inner lining of the LAD artery near my heart.  The tear was like a loose shutter, flapping in time to my beating heart. The arteries have no nerve cells so there was no painful warning when the tear occurred. The body started clotting immediately around the arterial injury and in the dark of night, a clot broke loose and traveled to my heart.  The heart is a muscle, and it definitely registers pain. The cardiologist had to stent the area of the tear to lift the flap and keep it out of the way of blood flow. I was put on strong medications to thin my blood and to keep the heart from working too hard. For a year after the attack, I struggled both physically and emotionally. Finally, after months of rehab and a year of doctors carefully monitoring my heart, the cardiologist allowed me to start weaning off the drugs which were causing unwanted side effects. 

I'm now 11 years past the heart attack and counting.
On January 8 each year I celebrate my beating heart.
I'm grateful for the bonus years I was given.
I'm hoping for a few more.

The photo I'm sharing is a summer wildflower field on Peak 8 at Breckenridge Ski Area.
I love the "heart rock" in the midst of the flowers. 

Take care of yourself. Listen to your body. We all have an expiration date. 
I'm glad mine wasn't 11 years ago!

small stone
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Thursday, January 7, 2021

Before and After - Small Stone - 7

 Eleven years ago on this date, I fell on my skis 3 times in deep, heavy snow in the back bowls of Breckenridge. I was 65 and felt strong and well, but I struggled quite a bit to dig out my skis, stand, and continue down the steep slope. When I finally arrived where Bob was waiting, I laughed about my falls and my struggles. We decided to continue skiing. Those falls that day would change my life. But, I wouldn't realize it until the next day. We never really know what's right around the bend in life (and that's for the best).
To be continued tomorrow....

I took this photo of Bob just a couple weeks ago. He fell on the touring skis, and I waited in the sunshine for him to take off the skis, get up, find a level spot, and put the skis on again. While waiting, I thought of that day 11 years ago.

small stone

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

After a Storm - Small Stone - 6

 after a storm, trees are wrapped in cotton batting

small stone
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Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The Wrinklies - Small Stone - 5

Bob calls us "the Wrinklies".

From youth until encroaching old age, I used potions and lotions. This spring, during the start of the virus, I turned 76. We began a long isolation that continues to this day. Going into public is infrequent. Masks are now my fashion statement. I have several favorites, some made by friends. When outside, I wear sunglasses and a hat pulled low over my brow. I am literally incognito. In the morning, I slap on some moisturizer and call it good. No anti-aging formula, no lipstick, no concealer, wrinkles (when I'm maskless) on full display. Perhaps I've become a poster woman for Wabi-Sabi. Where has my former vanity gone? 

I wonder if it will ever return?

texture - tree bark on snow - my skin is not quite this wrinkly

small stone
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Monday, January 4, 2021

Clearing in the Forest - Small Stone - 4

There is a clearing in the dense forest near my house. In winter, pristine snow showcases towering evergreens backdropped by sky. In summer, the clearing becomes a meadow filled with wildflowers and alpine grasses. In every season, I give thanks for its ever-changing beauty.

at the edge of a clearing
in the midst of forest
an ancient evergreen
regal in bearing
standing tall

small stone
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Sunday, January 3, 2021

Winter's Forest - Small Stone - 3

in winter's forest
seedlings, stumps, and elders gather
wind combing dried needles onto the snow

small stone
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Saturday, January 2, 2021

Making Tracks - Small Stone - 2

Write your story on the clean canvas of a new year.

small stone

using negative space - iPhone 11Pro
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Friday, January 1, 2021

Goodbye and Hello - Small Stone

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 daily introspection and creativity. And so for the month of January, I begin writing stones to welcome 2021. 
As is my practice, I often use a photo along with the stone.

Often, in the hour before dawn, I sat quietly to meditate and to think.
Routine and habits offered safety and comfort to start the day.
Moonlight and firelight cast glows - one cold, one warm.
Fragrant steam from black tea caressed my face.

Yesterday, I said farewell to to the aging year.
2020 demanded change and adaptation. 
I didn't (and won't) malign it.
It taught me so much.


This predawn morning, I greeted the baby new year with no expectations.
I was no more or no less than I was yesterday (except another day older).
Soft darkness, flickering flames, fragrant tea were the same.
I made no specific resolutions/promises for the coming year.
I sat quietly.
I meditated.
I thought -

perhaps I thought of you....


May 2021 offer a new beginning leading to personal growth.
May 2021 bring many good things.

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