A month of Small Stones

As I’ve mentioned it in my last blog post of 2012, I took part in January’s Mindful Writing Challenge.

I shared these on Facebook and G+, and eve Twitter when they were short enough, so I haven’t shared as some of my friends opted by setting up a separate page for them, like Deanna has, or sharing them on the blog every day, like Kevin has even while moving across the country.

To this end, I decided to save them all into one place over the course of the month and share in a blog post, here. Enjoy!


I practiced, writing these:

Fresh pine resin aroma fills the air and lingers on long after people got off the bus with their future Christmas trees.

The cats’ fur feels so much softer after handling the authentically sharp fake pine needled Christmas tree.

In bed, under fluffy warm covers and a purring cat by my side,
my cup of mint tea tastes like bedtime stories from when I was four.
Only now, I do the reading myself.


And throughout the month, mindfully wrote the following small stones:

1. After your alarm clock goes off and fills the morning calmness with the sharp beeps of waking up to reality,
the very moment when you have to tumble out of bed – is when your pillow and quilt feel the warmest, softest and comfiest they’ve ever felt.

2. The peaceful twinkling of one hundred tiny lights enveloping the Christmas tree,
The reflection of cherished books, paintings and the rest of the surroundings of the room off of shiny ornaments,
Some of the open presents placed under branches dressed in tinsel,
bring me to realize I haven’t been home much this Christmastime to actually enjoy their beauty…

3. Lingering while turning the pages, hanging on each word, as no souls come into the shop, I immerse myself in reading, blocking out, as much as possible, the hecticness and cacophony of mall music.

4. Looking out the window at white fluffy snowflakes making their way to the pavement, made me reminisce and miss the winters with meter high snow, sleigh bells ringing as kids play in the snow, hot meals and honest souls.

5. Going through my pics from last year, choosing only 12 for a blog post, I notice: beauty, kindness, adventure.
If 2013 ends up being only half as good, it’ll still be awesome!

6. Now as I write this, I keep looking out the window – it started snowing. At first I could barely tell, it wasn’t too visible on account of the lace curtains. But now I’m watching the big, white, fluffy flakes as the wind carries them in a different direction with each passing second. Despite my mind feeling the weight of information overload, I haven’t felt such calmness in quite a few months. I love that something as simple as snowfall has this effect on me.

(I’ll just go stand in the window for an hour or so now. ;) )

7. Feathery ice crystals on bus windows,
Nature’s improvisation for canvas art.

8. Snowy roads need deicing. Tonight, I walk home on white roads of melted and promptly frozen salt.

9. Left a note about my funny encounter tonight,
for my colleague to read in the morning.
To bring a smile to her face.

10. Sitting on the bed, finishing the third book for this year,
Enjoying a cup of pumpkin spice latte,
In the background, the cat lightly snores.

11. A look. A smile. A sweet gesture of bundling me up in his blanket to make sure I’m comfy and all warm.

12. One hundred and forty tiny yellow lights shining through the delicate golden red liquor bottle’s wall and narrow neck, turning it in an instant – into my favorite mood light.

13. Leaping, every day, hoping the net will appear.

14. Tears welled up in my eyes watching a flash of blinding green light and a rushing sound, then Dumbledore’s wise old face as he fell from the Astronomy tower after Snape’s casting of the Avada Kedavra spell.
Wishing to read all seven Harry Potter books, for the Nth time, but in English this time around!

15. Hearing his answer, after a nightful of sillier than silly dreams – reassures me.

16. Delicious pork chunks marinated in spicy sauce,
chilly, mustard seeds and coconut milk enveloping prawns,
Naan topped with flavored garlic butter and chilly,
steamed rice tossed with cumin and flavored with saffron,
sprinkled with love;
all make up the ingredients of one delicious dinner date.

17. Following with my gaze one single, delicate soap bubble float up up and away in the air as I take a citrus flower fragranced shower.
It transports my thoughts back to a stroll down narrow moonlit paths, breathing in the true, unforgettable flavor of a Sicilian citrus orchard.

18. The whistle of a train fast approaches. I think back to my childhood, when my grandpa and I used to count their cars. The most we counted one time were 20 something cars. Almost every time, the train stopped near where I stand, though it never became an official station.
The train now rolls into my line of vision, roaring across the iron bridge and I start counting. One… Two… Three… and then it disappears with a final blow of the whistle behind the old pharmaceutical factory building, continuing its way toward the main station.

19. Fabric rolling on the table,
scissors running through it
My hands afterward are silvery.

20. The seconds rush by, and so ends my hope of catching up with the other bus and switch lines.

This particular route doesn’t seem quite as scary as other streets to walk down on alone, after 10:30pm.

21. Chilly Wintery scene outside –
I drink warm spiced Autumn in a cup.

22. Reading a great historical novel about the sixteenth century, its pages coming alive with the wonderful writing style and attention to details.
Queens having to take orders and kept from their children by the kings’ mistresses, wars breaking out for no true reason, freedom of religion not being an option, bloody combats with innocent’s heads rolling on the battlefields…
It makes one truly reassess their own life in this day and age.

23. Memories. I can recall every single one of them. Only a few. Distant, scattered in the past. And yet, they seem to make up a lifetime.

24. Ducks on the river. Complete calmness floating as if in one single spot on the surface; tiny orange legs kicking as fast as they can underwater to keep the appearance afloat.

25. The weather uses my head as a barometer thingy. However, I couldn’t help but stop and stare at how beautiful the back yard became overnight. All it took was one proper night’s snowfall and everything looks like they’re about to party in their beautiful, sparkly white gowns.

26. When the smooth, very thin batter meets the heat of the pan it sizzles with delight.
When the edge all around starts curling up it jumps in a start to swivel around in midair; it lands back with a thump.
When this deliciousness fills my taste buds, it reminds me of the authenticity of delicate French crêpes I once had.

27. Infallibly, whenever I touch their pages, the books I took with me on different trips emanate the collected memories of the sights I’ve seen, the scents I smelled, the food I ate.

28. The January sidewalks stayed relatively dry for days. Then, as if to make up for it, a whole nightful of snow came down all at once. Looking up, they give the impression of ash falling from the sky, turning into greyish black slush as cars drive through them.

29. Despite my warm coat, hat, fluffy scarf and gloves –
as I step out the door, early morning shivers me awake.

30. With distant eyes, she regards me, sits opposite my seat in the bus.
The commute is long, yet she never looks at me again.
I wonder where friendships go after one leaves a workplace behind.

31. The sound of pen to paper – weekly planner filled as much as possible into February;
The calmness reading brings – yet interrupted every ten minutes;
The hustle and bustle of getting ready for work – now starts.
Looking forward to tonight – when calmness hopefully envelopes me as I fall asleep.


It wasn’t always easy. On some days when I felt drained, I simply couldn’t write one word. On others, I couldn’t bring myself to turn my laptop on and post the small stones I have written in my notebook during the day. I made up for these things, on different days.

The conclusion? As challenging as it was on some days (hence the name, I’m sure), it was so beneficial to my soul. It got me into the habit of writing nearly every day again, and the introspection and simple act of truly noticing what happens all around me managed to slow my days down, at least a little bit.

I feel so much more at ease with my current work/Life situation than I was before this challenge. And I feel truly grateful for it, every day!

14 Comments to “A month of Small Stones”

  1. These are so beautiful Estrella! I can especially relate to the first one about the bed being the warmest ever when you have to get up, (I’m not a morning person in any case). And those about the snow being lovely makes me nearly believe it is (I hate snow). :)
    Thanks for mentioning my page! I was sick for a couple days so missed writing my stones but yesterday I wrote a long one that I attempted to turn into a poem and posted it as a blog.
    Thanks again for bringing my attention to small stones. Like you, writing them has helped me to slow down and take notice as I should be, rather than skipping over what’s truly important in life.

    • Deanna, thank you so much! That is the best compliment, someone who hates snow saying she almost believed it is lovely ;) It was so much fun doing this with friend, feeling much the same way while being half way across the world and “comparing notes”, glad you joined in!

  2. Thanks for sharing these. I’m glad doing them helped you center. Reflection is good for that.

    I really loved this one:

    Feathery ice crystals on bus windows,
    Nature’s improvisation for canvas art.

    Downright poetic.

    • I love that about reflection myself, Jon. Thanks for dropping by, and that is one of my favorite small stones as well. Even if it was freezing as heck in there all during the trip to work! :)

  3. Wow. I loved all of these. It was probably a good thing I didn’t finish this challenge. I’d never be brave enough to post them. I apparently put too much pressure on myself because I wanted to sketch something after I wrote. I didn’t get very far once I started school.

    • Thank you, Lynn!
      I’m sorry you put so much pressure on yourself with the sketching, it would’ve been nice to see how your month went by reading your small observations stones. However, you could join in on Sundays sometime if you want to for it’ll be a weekly “thing” ;) Life does get in the way though, I can relate to that myself.

  4. I especially love the ones about snow — 7 and 10 are my favorites. :-)

    • Aww, I am so, so happy you liked the small stones about snow, and that January gifted me with some to capture in words. :) Thank you for dropping by, honey, glad to have you over – any time!

  5. I loved all of these, thanks for sharing with us :)

  6. These are beautiful, Estrella. This one:

    7. Feathery ice crystals on bus windows,
    Nature’s improvisation for canvas art.

    really appeals to me. But, it’s one of many.

    Thank you for the kind words at the start of this blog entry. Like you, I found the introspection, the needing to notice, a valuable exercise. But, much more, a terrific way to be in the world.

    Very nice work with your small stones.

    • Thank you, Kevin! Both for playing and the kind words :)

      Yes, a terrific way to be in the world this challenge was. I’ll be keeping it up on Sundays, even if I won’t always share the small stones an they’ll remain in my notebook.

  7. Your stones are beautiful. ;-)

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