When I went out for a walk this morning, it was strangely quiet except for the occasional caw of a crow in the distance and the gentle dry rustling of the phragmites at the edge of the marsh whenever a slight breeze would whisper through them. As I walked and walked, I noticed that the outer stillness of the morning had become an inner stillness within me, a gap between thoughts, to-do lists, and all the other chatter that usually goes on in the mind. The noticing, of course, became a thought, and the babble came pouring back in.
A small stone from this morning’s walk.
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.