Thank you card

Thank you card

Hand holding stone

Hand holding stone

Weaving a Voice

September 3, 2014

Rocks and shadows

Rocks and shadows

“What we see and hear, what we value, what we remember, these are the small stones we collect and spill, collect and spill.  These are the threads that weave a voice.”
— Susan Power, from Views from the Loft: A Portable Writer’s Workshop, ed. by Daniel Slager

Stone garden, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art

Stone garden, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art

Round stones, line shadows

Round stones, line shadows



Water and Stone

September 5, 2013

Circle of stones

Circle of stones

“What’s softest in the world
rushes and runs
over what’s hardest in the world.
The immaterial
the impenetrable.
So I know the good in not doing.
The wordless teaching,
the profit in not doing —
not many people understand it.

— Ursula Le Guin, “Water and Stone,” from Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching:  A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way

Watercolor sketch of circle of stones

Watercolor sketch of circle of stones

This post is dedicated to Bonnie and Mike and circles of friends.

Pebbles and Friendship

October 29, 2012

Circle of stones, circle of friends

by Valerie Worth, from All the Small Poems and Fourteen More

Pebbles belong to no one
Until you pick them up —
Then they are yours.

But which, of all the world’s
Mountains of little broken stones,
Will you choose to keep?

The smooth black, the white,
The rough gray with sparks
Shining in its cracks?

Somewhere the best pebble must
Lie hidden, meant for you
If you can find it.

My new friend Bonnie gave me this collection of assorted stones with white lines.  She said the circle represents her circle of friends, and I will be reminded of her friendship, in particular, whenever I look upon my necklace of stones.

Making art from rocks and other natural objects reminds me of Andy Goldsworthy sculptures, such as this spiral of broken pebbles scratched white with another stone (1985, The Borders).

The book, Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature


A Stone is a Riddle

April 17, 2012

One stone from my collection of favorite found objects

by Charles Simic

Go inside a stone
That would be my way.
Let somebody else become a dove
Or gnash with a tiger’s tooth.
I am happy to be a stone.

From the outside the stone is a riddle:
No one knows how to answer it.
Yet within, it must be cool and quiet
Even though a cow steps on it full weight,
Even though a child throws it in a river;
The stone sinks, slow, unperturbed
To the river bottom
Where the fishes come to knock on it
And listen.

I have seen sparks fly out
When two stones are rubbed,
So perhaps it is not dark inside after all;
Perhaps there is a moon shining
From somewhere, as though behind a hill —
Just enough light to make out
The strange writings, the star charts
On the inner walls.

Gray stone with white ring

You can hear Simic read this poem at Poetry Everywhere.

“Sermons in stones, books in the running brooks, and good in everything . . .”
— Louisa May Alcott, Little Men

” . . . there is faithfulness in rocks.”
— Adam Nicholson, Sea Room

Dramatic stone forms of volcanic tuff in the Wheeler Geologic Area

I like “off-the-beaten-path” experiences when I travel, so when my sister-in-law and I were discussing itineraries for this road trip through Colorado, her suggestion to visit the Wheeler Geologic Area intrigued me.  I had never heard of this place.  It is so remote that the only access is via hiking trail or a bone-jarring drive along 14 miles of unimproved road.

The adage about the destination being only a part of the journey applied in this case.  The journey to Wheeler was certainly an adventure.  We rented a sturdy 4-wheel-drive jeep for creeping along at speeds of 5-miles-per-hour or less over a rocky, bumpy track with hairpin curves and dips and hills.  There were only a couple of worrisome, hair-raising spots, but the road was manageable.  We were relieved, though, to finally arrive and begin exploring the Wheeler formations.

The Wheeler Geologic Area reminded me of a little Bryce Canyon, with weird-shaped spires and forms carved out of volcanic rock.  It’s definitely a place to come to if you are seeking solitude.  We were the only people camping on the night we spent there.

Here are some photos:

Journeying down the unimproved road in our rented 4-wheel-drive jeep

Testing the water depth at a low spot in the road

The road to Wheeler Geologic Area

Our campsite at the Wheeler Geologic Area

First look at the weird rock formations

Wheeler Geologic Area

Natural amphitheater at Wheeler

Approaching early evening rain storm, Wheeler Geologic Area

Road near our campsite after the rain

Nearing sunset, Wheeler Geologic Area


by Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by Robert Bly

Slowly the west reaches for clothes of new colors
which it passes to a row of ancient trees.
You look, and soon these two worlds both leave you,
one part climbs toward heaven, one sinks to earth,

leaving you, not really belonging to either,
not so hopelessly dark as that house that is silent,
not so unswervingly given to the eternal as that thing
that turns to a star each night and climbs —

leaving you (it is impossible to untangle the threads)
your own life, timid and standing high and growing,
so that, sometimes blocked in, sometimes reaching out,
one moment your life is a stone in you, and the next a star.

Morning: First light hitting the spires