I remember when my children were small, they often came home with found treasures in their pockets. They picked up stones and gravel by the roadside. We went orienteering, and while they waited for the older ones to return from their courses, the younger ones would fossick under the trees for pine cones, or in the paddock for bleached animal bones. When a school class was studying bones, I was able to present the teacher with a large box full - once the treasures of the day, now forgotten. I was glad to get them out of the house.
I think of the childrens' stone collections when I read Fiona's blog, a handful of small stones. Fiona says a small stone is a polished moment of paying proper attention.
During January, a large number of people will be writing a small stone each day - a project called A River of Stones or International Small Stones Writing Month (not NaSmaStoMo, as it was originally conceived, because the internet is international).
So, I have decided to take part. Polished, though? I'm not sure about that. Some of the stones my children gathered were shiny. Most were not. They seemed to delight in the ordinary - things that were part of the dailiness of life. I've decided not to obsess too much about the "polished" part, and just pay attention, as it were, to the "paying attention" part.
This seems rather like an exercise of Linda Gregg's, that I have followed, rather erratically off and on over the past few months. In her essay, The Art of Finding, she says "I have my students keep a journal in which they must write, very briefly, six things they have seen each day — not beautiful or remarkable things, just things." She talks about being available to seeing. It's an essay well worth reading. I've neglected Linda's exercise for quite a few weeks now, so January will help me get back into it.
My daily "small stones" will have the label "aros" for "a river of stones". It's not too late to join in, head on over and check it out.