As I get further and further from the holidays, my life gets more and more real. Work, which slows during the winter break, comes more alive as students and faculty return to school. More work means less creative space for me. To add to the challenges, Aaron got violently ill with a stomach virus. So, just as I struggled to balance creative work, family life, and my job, I needed to pick up the (many, many) tasks he does each day while he convalesced. I’m, of course, happy to do it, but it just means left time for the non-essentials.
Suffice to say, my small stones suffered. I often crawled into bed at the end of the day, only to think, “Crap, small stone.” Then, I would search my brain for the one or two moments of mindful observation that I may have managed amidst my schedule. The quality of my writing was less than I desired, but I wrote a small stone every day. Which causes me to wonder: which is important, the practice or the product? For me, this week, the practice kept me sane.
Here are this week’s small stones:
A copse of trees draws parallel shadows on the pock marked lawn. The snow crackles and melts.
Nursing to Sleep
Her fingers poke and drift over the soft flesh on my upper arm. Breath slows as her eyelashes flutter and fall against my skin. Outside, the neighbor’s dog barks an alarm to the neighborhood.
Everything in this moment is holy.
Bare branches curl and stretch, a fractal unfurling across the open sky.
The rain crackles and spits, hardening to glass as it falls towards the earth.
Her head burrows closer to my chest. The cat stretches lengthwise between my feet. I fold limb over limb to hold my space, listen to their synchronous snores.
She lets the Cheerios fall from her fingers, as if they are rose petals. She stomps and squeals with every crunch.
Each shovel scrape echoes off the other houses. With each sharp push, I erase the steps of this morning’s dog walkers and travelers. Behind me, dormant brown hydrangeas rattle.in the breeze.