Category Archives: Small stones

Small stones: The last stone

SchuykillExpresswayJanuaryIceFromRockBlack rock abrim with
Water that seeps to cold air,
Turning to white rock.

This photo was taken along the Schuylkill Expressway – the main road into Center City Philadelphia from the west. The Expressway is built in a notch hacked (or more likely blasted) out of the high, steep southern bank of the Schuykill River. Where the bedrock is exposed, water oozes out of the rock, and in winter it freezes into miniglaciers on the rock face.

Small stone 6: Weather forecast

Snow showers, they told us yesterday. Expect an illusion, the look of something falling, something that vanishes as if it never was.

Midnight and snow

Midnight and snow

All evening and all night flecks of whiteness dropped through the air. They couldn’t resist us, our houses and yards and streets, our world. They wanted to stay. So they did.

Lavender in the Snow

Lavender in the Snow

The sun set last night on faded winter beige. It rose today on a different world, bleached to white, punctuated by black stones and gray-green lavender. Winter’s here.

Small stone 5: Impossible.

It isn’t the flu.
No, it can’t be the flu.
My shoulders don’t ache
And I had my shot, too.

I don’t have the flu.
No, I won’t have the flu.
It drags on so long;
I have so much to do.

But I’m coughing all night
And I’m coughing all day
And I’m so very tired
And it won’t go away
Not whatever I do…
do you think it’s the flu?

Small stone 4: 3 a.m.

It’s dark, it’s quiet. Why am I awake?

Oh, that’s right. I have to cough. Again.

What time is it, anyway? That early? How can I be awake after only two hours of sleep? I’ll just lie here until the world fades out.

No. Cough. No, I won’t. Cough. Cough.

You know, I’m not having a good January.

Small stone # 3: For yesterday

I’ve been disturbing the dust, picking up things that have lain comfortably in one place for months, sorting through them, moving them to different locations, even throwing them away. The poor neglected dust particles were left to float through the air and search for new homes…and some of them relocated to my sinuses. Pain in my cheekbones. Pain in my forehead just to either side of the bridge of my nose. Pain. I think my sinuses want a divorce.

Small stones #2: Gloves

Through this past spring and summer and fall, I didn’t remember where I left my winter gloves. If I thought about them at all, I assumed I had left them in a coat pocket.

Then it got cold. My hands got blotchy red and the skin over my knuckles cracked so that it hurt to wash my hands or bend my fingers. And the gloves weren’t in my coat. Or my rain jacket. Or my old battered jacket I wear to shovel snow. Or anyplace reasonable.

And practically everything I did made my hands hurt.

So, having looked everyplace a reasonable woman would put her gloves when the weather turned warm, I started looking in unreasonable places. And there they were, out of sight behind a pile of books. Ah, the joy of pulling gloves on over my poor sore knuckles before walking out into January.

Small stone 1: New Year’s Day

An ordinary day, gray sky, bare branches, and cold air. About the same as yesterday. No sign of any change.

Only our minds insist that time has cycled new again, as if we saw an old friend’s face, reason enough to celebrate. And so, we do, and look – the day turns strange and special.