Thursday, January 31, 2013

9 Patch for Health

What do you do when you've been sick for days and you have been livin' on soups and such...and you are just feeling well enough to pick up some stitching?
 Well, it looks like you get a bit dingy from it all and try to stitch yourself back to health with a Saltine 9 Patch!  Because...well, because silly is fun!

 And then...why then, you eat more chicken noodle soup of course!

Photos by NAE @pomegranatetrail ©2013

I've been stitching on this colorful Mexican blanket.  It is in honor of a dear, dear friend of mine.  We used her similar blanket in our shared classroom for the 7 years we worked together.  It was a physical, visual cue to the toddlers that we were going to have Group Time.  We sang, read books, did fingerplays and flannel board stories.  We shared many good times together.  Our Teaching Assistant purchased my blanket on one of her trips home to Mexico.  My friend told me again and again that we could use my new blanket.  However, I refused.  Her blanket was our tradition together.  She used that blanket for 20 years in that classroom.  Twenty years worth of children is a lot of lives touched.
Mine maybe deepest of all.
Now, in a new classroom, in a new school, with new co-workers...
My blanket has been introduced and the children are already familiar with the routine of joining together in song and fun!  As an additional element, I have been adding the names of the staff and children along the outer edge.  Each name is written on muslin by the staff member or child's family member and a thread color is chosen.  Then I sew/embroider it on.  It is wonderful to see the enthusiasm this project was greeted with and now watching it coming together is rewarding.  Over time there will many names, in many hands symbolizing the building of community.
I call it the "Gathering Blanket".

Small Stone #31

Small Stone #31:

The white-brown squares, sprinkled with salt, punctured with 13 tiny holes are just the thing to add some life to my bowl of warm chicken noodle soup as I relax my way into healing.

January 31, 2013

*Please note this is my last official "Small Stone".  The challenge was for the month of January and since I consider it a huge success to have stuck with it (not my usual style!), I think I'll quit while I'm ahead!  Not that I will stop writing, just that I will not hold myself to the daily expectation.  Thank you to all who have read along with me!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Highway 126 - Sunday Drive

A couple of weeks ago....
A nice little Sunday drive down a favorite highway.  The 126 winds it's way through the Santa Clara River Valley, AKA Heritage Valley.  I've posted about this place before: The Sweet Life and Ojai Day & Ojai Night  (this is the highway we take to get to Ojai).  It is part of my old commute and every now and again I have to go visit that way again, like an old friend.
This day we stopped by the Honey store to restock with a large honey bear!  Then we took some side roads not traveled before.  Crossed over a beautiful bridge and stumbled on a pomegranate graveyard.
I saw "X's" and art everywhere.  Quilt and stitching ideas a'la Jude!
I saw the thin hanging- on of life and death.
Looking forward to another relaxing drive on another sunny Sunday soon!

Photos by NAE @pomegranatetrail ©2013

Small Stone #30

Small Stone #30:

I poke my head out of the front door and am surprised by the warmth and brightness.  After days of sleep and illness, I've forgotten what the world looks like and find myself missing it.  Could this be a sign that good health is returning?  Time will tell.

January 30, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Small Stone #29

Small Stone #29:

In anticipation, I pause and focus inward.  Gathering determination and saliva, I force myself to attempt swallowing.  The lump of molten knives squeezes through the narrow passageway, otherwise know as my throat.  Glands ache with the effort.  I pause, rather breathless, and rest before the need to swallow presents itself again.  

January 29,2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

Small Stone #28

Small Stone #28:

Brilliance slams into illness once again as we drive over to get modern medicine to help me heal.  I sink into the car seat , eyes roam the sky scape. Clouds sprinkle the sky.  He calls them by name, Culumus, Cirrus, remarking on seeing them together, one on top of the other.  I wallow in the light, shadow, starkness, the immense puffiness and silver linings.  Dreamer and Science traveling together.

January 28, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Small Stone #27

Small Stone #27:

I drag myself out into the early morning brightness, convinced I will overcome the feeling of low-grade illness.  Layers of clouds suspended over layers of mountainside.  Shades of gray float over shades of brown.  Back home the patches of blue disappear as the sheets of gray are pulled up tight under the sun's chin, inspiring me to pull up my own blanket and nap on the couch.

January 27, 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Small Stone #26

Small Stone #26:

Eyes on the road and the whole of the view through the windshield.  Patches of bright blue sky married to drifting thunderheads and marshmallow clouds.  Surrounded by people in cars, mountains and things man-made.  I travel, rubber to road, evenly paced and relaxed.
Eyes drift to hands, stationed on the wheel at 10 & 2, sunlight dances off two thin bands, one on each hand.  Old family pieces, new to me...yet completely at home already.  I glance and I am full.  I am full of family and history and sisterly love.  I am full.  In the mere moment of shine, I am content.

January 26, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

Small Stone #25

Small Stone #25:

4 black crows perch upon the bare bone branches of the 3 white birch trees.  Contrast perfected against the gray, wet sky on the rainy morning.

January 25, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Small Stone #24

Small Stone #24:

Just beyond the bridge, in the darkness, shadows form.  They move together as one. Slowly, across the road.  Light shines through a pair of legs, then more...distinguishing the mass as horses led into the night.

January 24, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Small Stone #23

Small Stone #23:

In the empty field, one old large tree stands.  Branches, dark pencil lines against the gray winter sky, but the branch tips hold yellow leaves.  Autumn's last stand catching what little morning light there is.

January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Small Stone #22

Small Stone #22:

The warm, familiar flavors of vegetable filled lentil soup slide easily down my tired throat.  Spoonful after spoonful, mundane really.  Until, BAM an invisible jalapeno morsel in the pico de gallo topping explodes in my mouth.  Seeing stars through watering eyes.

January 22, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Small Stone #21

Small Stone #21:

The soft fibers of the embroidery floss slips between my fingers.  Thumbs press on index fingers, holding the strands to stillness.  Over, between.  Pulling, adjusting, keeping flat.  Braiding the threads while the news speaks of this day, weaving thoughts of hope and justice through my mind.  Tie a knot, then another...a pause in the braid, a pause in my reflections. My nimble fingers begin the braid again, floating forward into our future.

January 21, 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Small Stone #20

Small Stone #20:

"The leaden eyelids begging for a nap, tip me over on the couch.  It is where I stay swaddled in sleep until the bone-like clang of wooden wind chimes stirs me.  Slowly eyelids agree to open, only to be pierced by sunlight reflecting off interior appliances.  The television, while turned off, screams at me in sharp beams of light.  Closing my eyes again does not help, I know the awake world is waiting."

January 20, 2013

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Small Stone #19

Small Stone #19:

The English muffin mountains splay out in front of me, their nooks and crannies dotted with shades of California scrub brush green.  Stark, gleaming in the morning sun, causing my eyes to dart and search the shades of sandy colored earth, trying to capture all of the brilliance this view brings.

January 19, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

Small Stone #18

Small Stone #18:

"Moving from the early morning light to the cool darkness under the freeway overpass, a flash of color catches my eye.  Closer I see the stark white cross surrounded by flowers pushing up from the rich earth.  Someone's days ended here in the spooky shadowed space beneath freeways.  Hearing the rush of cars above, I wonder if this is a recent passing, or have I somehow missed it in my focus on getting to work."

January 18, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Small Stone #17

Small Stone #17:

"An anonymous voice out of the darkness, car radio.  Announcement of the 19 year anniversary of a local earthquake.  Nineteen years have past since the quake and twenty since another earth shaking event took place.  The time since...the 20 years, is longer than the totality of the life event itself.  The time past him is now longer than the time with him.   Why does this surprise me?"

January 17, 2013

Small Stone #16 (day late)

Small Stone #16:

Eyes closing, slowly.  Reopen and then heavy with the day's end, close again.  I realize all of the words in my head have remained there.  Small Stone, a day late.

January 16, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Small Stone #15

Small Stone #15:

The darkness of the empty road, engulfs me.  Small lights, embedded in the asphalt form a track into the tunnel of forward, while thoughts float to the past.  Held tight in the moment by edges...where mountain meets roadway.

January 15, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Small Stone #14

Small Stone #14:

Sailboat moon in the blue-black sky, watching.  Leaves and trash skittering across the road in front of me, winds rocking my car back and forth...back and forth on the asphalt sea.  Slowing for the all day shadowed spots for fear of ice, driving on a winter's night.  Homeward bound.

January 14, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Small Stone #13

Small Stone #13:

Darting out to an early morning meeting, car waits.  Frozen.  Sitting inside, engine running...trying to warm-up car and self.  Clear, bright sky shines through the frost flowers on the windshield.  Wipers slide right over the sheet of frozen night.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Moments later, loud defroster interrupting the serene and melts just enough and I push some slush to the side.  Ready to drive.

January 13, 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Small Stone #12

Small Stone #12:

The rough weave of the brightly colored Mexican blanket rubs against my winter rough fingers, loose skin catching individual threads.   Muslin pinned in place, needle stabbing through the layers, the audible poke punctuating the still air as I rhythmically move the long strand of cotton floss from one side to the other.  Mind focused, engrossed in the sensory experience...stitching.

January 12, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

Small Stone #11

Small Stone #11:

Cold air biting cheeks, arms wrapped around self.  Walking very fast.  Eyes sting with wind and migraine, but notice seed pods piled just outside the chain-link.  Pushed through by small hands moving through a world of imagination.  Birdsong and laughter floating over the tall hedges lining the perimeter, greeting me with glee.

January 11, 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Small Stone #10

Small Stone #10:

The miniature sink meets my knees and his chest.  Water on, he reaches forward.  He wiggles his fingers and tickles the water with one hand.  Then, pivoting his body, he lets the water flow over his other hand and wrist.  I place a mall squirt of soap on his tiny palm and he rubs both hands together.  But, he rinses them one at a time, turning his body slightly as he switches hands.  This is what hand washing looks like when you're 18 months old and too little to reach the back of the sink, where the faucet resides.

January 10, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Small Stone #9

Small Stone #9:

Morning drive.  Numerous contrails shooting across the valley sky.  North-South-East-West.  Newer lines thin and layered, stacked side by side.  Older arcs, puffing into obliteration.  A few waves adding variety.  A vertical rainbow, barely visible..  Moving forward towards the sunrise, lifting between the mountain peeks.  Hugging the mountainside, rising up...curving around...slipping down into the next valley.  The same contrails escort me.  More appear as the larger view of sky spreads out in front.  Sun blazing behind a gauze cover of orangish-yellow rings.  Scattered metal hoodoos, towers made by man stand erect.  Their long wire arms criss-crossing the expansive airspace.  On the ground, concrete platforms filled with red lights, snake along on my right, while the asphalt and sidewalks burst with movement in all directions, my eyes darting with it.  Moving through the business of starting a day...alive...bustling.  Still the sky holds peace.

January 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Small Stone #8

Small Stone #8

Redness alarms, pain fills, thoughts become muddled.

January 8, 2013

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Small Stone #6

Small Stone #6:

Early morning air bites at face, sending a chill throughout body.  Wipers push the previous night's rain off the smooth glass, bringing the sky into clearer view.  Monet grays, pinks, whites and a dab of blue meld together whispering cold, punctuating the season as it should be.

January 6, 2013

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Small Stone #5

Small Stone #5:

Stepping on the cold porcelain, arm brushes against the even colder tile.  Head tips back letting the hot water pulse onto my head, down my back, warm and engulfing, holding me in a luxurious pause.  Eye catches the neighbors porch light, the spontaneous flicker of passing aircraft.  Winter smells floating through the open window, the darkness stops time still.  Showering in the dark knows peace.

January 5, 2013

Today I found this treat on a fellow Small Stones writer...
moth magic

You can read Cindy's Small Stones or explore her work here.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Small Stone #4

Small Stone #4:

"Empty lots turned green, rimmed by golden trees, leaves twittering in the morning sunlight.  Dancing the seasonal dance."

January 4, 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Small Stone #3

Small Stone #3:
Walking across the morning asphalt, shadows and sunlight - a speckled harmony,  In the drop off/pick up zone, eye catches the glint of a small tan circle.  Moving near I see it as a Cheerio.  I continue into work, the preschool.

January 3, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Small Stone #2

"Woke to melody floating through drowsy, held by the dark room, head. A word or two, here and there dropping in. Words and melody of the childhood lullaby, written by the favorite aunt, sung by the beloved Mama. Later sung to own children, still later daughter sings to son. Laying still for moments, embraced by deep love, inner light, melancholy seeps in."
January 2, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Giving it a Whirl!

 This year I decided to try's not new, for I've tried to do this in the past.  The thing is this: I get all excited and pumped up and roarin' to go...and then after 1, 2 or many days, I stop.  I'm not sure why I don't carry through, and I am not going to analyze it...I'm just going to try again.

So, I am going to try to meet the Mindful Writing Challenge January 2013.
It seems as if I should be able to do this if I keep it in the forefront of my mind.  I would like to because it is a way to be in the moment, noticing life around me...a way to keep centered and calm.  These are all good things.  Additionally, I like to write...a lot!  This writing is short, small...doable.  So why not?!  I'd really like to practice and consider my writing more this year.  My dear friend who gifted me with the 2 Mary Oliver books further gifted me by revealing that she enjoys reading my written works and wanted to inspire me!!!  Thank you!

For the next 31 days I plan to write one 'small stone'.  I will post them in the newly added tab up top and on my FaceBook page for my friends/family that know me there too.  I've also added the badge at the bottom of the pomegranate trail home page.

Without further adieu...

SMALL STONE: "Stripes of light and shadow dance across the dusty landscape of the quieted television, evoking peace with reminders of things not yet done."
~Nancy January 1, 2013