The warm mid-summer sun hovered above, as wispy blue clouds casually passed it by. Fresh cut grass barely tickled her calves as she sat Indian style, an old ragged bucket in the circle created by her knees. Katie looked down, holding a tiny shovel that now doubled as a ladle, and the bucket was now an old-timey cauldron.

Her sun-bleached bangs fell into her eyes, and she pushed them away with an open-palmed, dirty hand. In the other hand were three small stones, all of them smooth to the touch, all matching shades of matte slate. Carefully, Katie placed them into the bucket, half-filled with water straight from the hose.

She’d been playing by her lonesome, passing the time away with make believe stories where she envisioned herself as an old witch, casting spells on meanies and creating potions in her cauldron bucket. Her mother had read her “Stone Soup” just the night before and although she can’t quite remember the story, the idea of stone soup has inspired today’s activities.

Katie placed the shovel into the bucket and grasped the handle in an overly dramatic fashion, as if her hands belonged to a giant. As she began to stir her stones, her mind drifted, and soon she was stirring her very own stone soup. In her mind, it bubbled and boiled, spewing an arid odor into the humid July air.

Katie cackled to herself and her voice reflected that of an old wizard. “Perhaps I shall feed this to my lowly minions!” she exclaimed. Katie sat back, released her hand from the shovel and admired her handiwork. She began to think of ingredients to add to her stones. Dandelions? Cricket legs? Suddenly, a voice broke her concentration:

“Katie, dear! It’s time for dinner!”

She bounced up from her comfy position, slapped the grass off her legs and ran to the back door.