Tiny white snowflakes fill the air
As the cold squeezes and squeezes
Moisture from the overhanging clouds
Bella is glad
She wore her winter coat
When she looked up, she closed her eyes against the brilliance of the sun, feeling the warmth spread across her face. The brightness was still there, penetrating the darkness behind her eyelids. Bright, bold yellows radiated outwards in star-like patterns. Miniature suns in blazing reds and hot oranges danced and sparkled, the skin protecting the eyes unable to keep out the dazzling sunlight. She thought, “How wonderful to spend time with the sun once again!” as she felt the light fade and the warmth withdraw. The winter clouds had returned.
I used a prompt from A Writer’s Book of Days for today’s small stone. While standing at the kitchen window, soaking up the sunlight, I wrote (in my head) something similar although more like a poem, prior to reading the prompt I’d be using for today. After reading the prompt, I ended up with a longer version of what’s above, and chopped it down to a few sentences to make it a small stone.
The sun makes brief appearances here in the Bogs during the winter months and I’ve learned to mimic the cats, and follow the light around the house when it does come to visit.
rambling, chattering mind
moving off in all directions at once
words, words, and more words
vast, empty, barren
crowded, jammed, overflowing
i got nothin’
A small stone for day 24.
I can’t tell if there is too much going on in my head or nothing at all. This was the best I could do today. The photo is from last year’s winter trip to Erie, Pennsylvania. Lake Erie was frozen. The stretch of white and blue was vast and appeared empty from a distance, but once my eyes adjusted to the almost monochromatic scene, details started to appear and I could see that there was a lot going on.
Lately writing has felt like hitting a brick wall.
I sit at the table staring out at the darkness waiting for the pond to appear and listening to the rhythmic patter of the rain on the roof, avoiding today’s writing topic of “Shapes like stars,” and wondering how anyone can come up with such prompts. What does that mean? A car whizzes by and the house heat kicks on with the usual drone and hum, warm air swirls around my feet. I put the pen to paper, to the brick wall, seeing the worn rusty color of each brick, the mortar that holds them together, the nooks and crannies and dings. I think about the brick wall we built last summer. Mortar, made with cement. I write: ”Marilyn Monroe was shaped like a star and has a star on a sidewalk to show for it.” The bricks begin to crumble and fade as I write about those posing as the shapes of stars, and somehow journey in writing towards the miniature suns that appear on the waves of the water on a sunny day, and find my words in the shapes of stars.
I’m occasionally using writing prompts from A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves. I think the one I used this morning (“shapes of stars”) is for the 10th of January or thereabouts. I haven’t been using it daily as there are mornings when I prefer to empty out with morning pages or I spend time working on my small stone for the day. I don’t want to skip any of the prompts so it is going to take me more than the usual year to work my way through the book and prompts. I’ve noticed that those I find challenging and/or like the least tend to be the prompts that make me dig deeper.
The air is crisp and cool, biting on the inhale, an underlying essence of pine carried by the breeze in the coniferous forest. Sunlight streams through the trees, misty from the thawing snow and ice. Traversing the swampy and unstable pathways, we tread carefully, occasionally getting mired in the mud. A joyful January ramble in the woods.
The photo and thoughts are from a hike I took with my husband yesterday. I’m semi-disconnecting on Sundays and scheduled this to stand in for me until I return on Monday. A small stone for day 8.
bubbling, babbling, burbling
the gurgling gush of the January thaw
water sprites splashing in the stream
Because we have not had a proper winter — lots of rain, warm weather, and very little in the way of ice and snow — I hesitated to use the term January Thaw, but it is January and the snow and ice from the past few days is quickly thawing as it warms up again. Good enough. :)
I never before noticed the hissing sound the gas on the stove makes until the power went out last night and I had to cook dinner in the quiet absence of all electricity. Candles flickered in the darkness as we spent the evening playing a dice game at the dining room table, talking, laughing, losing, winning, spending time with each other instead of in the company of the television or computer. Flashlights guided us through the suddenly unfamiliar maze of the house. We camped out in the living room, a mattress on the floor, layers of blankets heaped on top. The curious cats massaged us with their feet, walking and sniffing and marveling at the movement and transformation of the everyday to the extraordinary. ”A mattress on the floor?” they seemed to ask, and then, “A mattress on the floor!” as they bounded around and finally settled in. Heat from the fireplace kept our toes toasty while the encroaching cold nipped and numbed our noses. Sleep was easy to come by and deep in dreams.
Day 4′s small stone, written in the wee hours of the morning when the power was restored. It’s shocking, especially in the middle of the night, when everything comes back on, beeping and clicking and rumbling.
Last night happened to be one of the coldest of the season so far, and I was amazed at how quickly the house cooled down once the electricity was gone.
Peeling the clementine, fingernails digging into the bumpy skin
Orange-y scent rises up
My body POPS! awake
Caffeine for the nose.
I place a segment in my mouth
and smile at the burst of citrus-y pleasure
that washes across my tongue.
The scent stays with me for hours
Released from my hands and into the air with a gesture.
I joined a river of stones for fun and challenge. I originally thought I might post my small stones (if I posted them at all) over at Life in the Bogs, but now I’m thinking Bountiful Healing will be a good place for these little moments of life. It’s sort of a safe space, with fewer followers. I can hear a voice in my head calling, “Chicken!” This is a different type of writing for me so, yes… call me Chicken. For now.
(January 2006. Photo by Robin)
“Antisthenes says that in a certain faraway land the cold is so intense that words freeze as soon as they are uttered, and after some time then thaw and become audible, so that words spoken in winter go unheard until the next summer.” — Plutarch, Moralia
Early morning in Quail Hollow. The LovelyMan and I are hiking along the woodlands path, following it up the hill and then down into the hollow where it connects with the peat bog pathway and boardwalk. The woods are still, frozen in quiet on this wintry morning. The only sound is that of our footsteps crunching on the frozen leaves which cover the path.
Our words don’t freeze, but our breaths do, crystalizing as we exhale. My nose feels frozen from the inside out and my cheeks are numb. I’m thankful for the layers of clothing I put on, starting with the thermal undergarments, because other than my extremities, I’m pretty toasty. The hiking keeps me warm, too.
We reach the boardwalk and I see that things aren’t as still and quiet as I’d thought. There are raccoon prints everywhere on the boardwalk, going in all directions. The prints are still wet, standing out on the frosty wood of the boardwalk. Raccoons are nocturnal animals. This one must have been late in going to bed for the day, perhaps dousing (as raccoons will do) one last snack before settling in to sleep.
I look, hoping to catch a glimpse of the masked and dexterous creature. It is said that masks are powerful and magical tools, and that the curious raccoon is a master of disguise and transformation.
I wonder what power and magic the raccoon brought to these woods on this frosty morn. We follow in the footsteps of the raccoon, walking along the boardwalk until we are led back into the mystery of the woods.
(Snow in the Bogs. January 2006. Photo by Robin)
“A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself.” —Maya Angelou
Lying in bed, my head on my husband’s chest, nothing between us, not the sheets or the blankets or clothing of any kind. I feel the rise and fall of his chest, the silky-scratchiness of the hair on his body, the rhythm of his heartbeat, and the slight breeze of his breath whispering through my hair. I open my eyes and stare out the window and watch the silence of the snowflakes falling from the sky. My body is light. I am floating in a sea of peace, contentment, relaxation, and love.
Steel-cut oats with apples added at the last minute so that they’re still slightly crisp when you bite into them. The oats have a smooth crunchiness to them, hard to describe….a kind of snap occurs when you bite down. The scent of cinnamon wafting up with the steam from the oatmeal. The food is comforting, warm and filling. Perfect for this cold and snowy Saturday.
I sit at the table and the music from the radio washes over me. I’ve never been much of a fidgeter, but now I can’t sit still. The music moves throughout my muscles, into my blood and I find myself moving with it, slight movements at first. I rise out of my chair and dance my way to the kitchen to put my empty bowl in the dishwasher and clean up after breakfast.
I stand at the kitchen sink, once again watching the snow fall and flurry and whirl. I hear M laugh at something our youngest son just said. Youngest Son laughs with him.
I am frozen in this moment, stretching it out in order to experience every last little bit of it. It’s a moment of contentment and peace. A moment of family bliss.
I move to the kitchen counter, and begin making a grocery list. The pen is hard and cold between my fingers, the paper smooth. Pen scritch-scratching as the list grows. I’m thinking about making soup for dinner tonight. I came across a recipe for Thai Tomato Soup that intrigued me….ginger, basil, tomato juice, bok choy, cocount milk. It’s not a combination I’m familiar with and I’m looking forward to trying it.
I sip on a cup of yerba matte tea, enjoying the heat as it moves down my throat and into my stomach. The taste is peppery with a hint of bitterness. The drowsiness of the morning starts to lift as the tea does its thing.
Grocery list and tea finished, I get ready to leave. We’re going out to our new home today to install the baseboards. Fun with hammers and nails. I put on a few layers of clothing because we keep the heat turned down low at our new house. Besides, I might want to jump in the sled and slide down the hill while I’m out there.
I step outside into the cold morning and my eyes are assaulted by the blinding whiteness of the landscape. The snow is falling so heavily now that even the sky appears to be a bright shade of the purest white. I take a deep breath of the icy cold air and feel winter rush through me, invigorating me from the inside out. A gust of wind whips by and rustles the tree branches. Snow comes tumbling down the spruce tree like a mini avalanche.
I make my way carefully down the sidewalk and to the driveway. It’s slippery in spots and I do a little slide-skid thing every now and then. I reach my destination and climb into the truck which is filled with the lingering scent of the hot pizza my husband brought home for dinner last night. It makes my stomach rumble with hunger even though I just finished breakfast not all that long ago.
As I wait for my husband to join me, I watch a black squirrel speed across the snow, racing from tree to tree, occasionally stopping to dig in the snow and pull out some buried treasure — food put away in the ground during warmer days.
It’s a good beginning for a winter’s day.
(I wrote this a couple of years ago, when we were still fixing up our home in the Bogs.)