My first job was in data processing. The night shift gave me the day to enjoy the city. I mounted magnetic tape onto drives as tall I was. It was a job that begged to be automated. That was long ago. Like Sisyphus, I can still see myself mounting those tapes only to take them down again.
My walk to work led past the Art Institute. I spent an hour each afternoon wandering through the exhibits. I can still see some of them.
One of the benefits of membership, at least in those days, long ago, in what I would even call the mysterious dark ages of my life, was the free coffee that the Institute offered in the afternoon. I became a regular around four in the afternoon with a dozen retirees who were always there and a few strangers who might wander in some afternoon and whom we would never see again. I can still taste that coffee.
Through daydreams blow the breeze of memory.
When shadows break I look and sometimes see.
Text: Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday. Jilly is hosted with the challenge to the traditional form.
Photos: “Blue and Green”, above, and “Red and Green”, below.
A tarot card reader told me I could predict the future, but I did not take advantage of my skill. She herself got many things right about me, or rather she got the details wrong, if one wanted to be technical about it, but the end results were all right on target, better than I expected.
That was long ago. It was the only time I ever had a reading done. I thought at the time I was skeptical enough, but I realize now that I believed every word she said. Today I am more skeptical of doctors tempting me with drugs than I am of tarot readers pushing what? Best wishes? Some good advice on what to be cautious about?
I looked for her when opportunity brought me back to that area to thank her and tell her that she was right about everything of value. I didn’t expect she would still be there, but I checked anyway. Her dark shop in the hotel lobby was replaced by a well-lit trinket merchant. No one knew what happened to her. So, instead of expressing my gratitude, I had to be satisfied with seeing a beautiful future for her through all the storms that might come to charm her life. It was basically the same future she predicted for me.
WHAT WILL COME OF US?
FLOWERS AREN’T REQUIRED TO ASK.
BLOOM, RECEIVE AND GIVE.
Text: Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday. Michelle (Mish) is hosting with the theme of “faith”.
Photos: “Morning Sands to Walk on”, above, and “The Way We Bloomed Last Year”, below.
Some use their souls to say there is no soul. Some use their freedom claiming we’re machines denying what we know of mystery. It’s hard to tell which hell builds bigger walls to bar eternity.
There’s time to walk if we can’t run. There’s time for trees and standing still. Eternity comes passing through, patiently as sparrows do, singing pleasantly.
COMING COLD OR COMING SPRING
SPARROWS BRING NEW SOUND
Text: Linked to dVerse Open Link Night where Bjorn is hosting. I am late for dVerse Poetics where Paul was hosting, but I am using Paul’s theme of “soul”.
Photos: “Lake Michigan at Evanston”, above, and “Lake Michigan from a Park”, below.
By second grade I learned to write well enough to make short sentences. My teacher wrote that they were “Very good”. So, I wrote more and I showed them to her. She gave me another sheet of paper which encouraged me. My third grade teacher was less impressed. I stopped showing her what I wrote. That gave her more time to focus on what was bothering her.
I am older now than either of those teachers were and I realize that I’ve been like both of them at different times of my life, sometimes unreasonably patient and other times unforgivably impatient. Looking back. I forgive the impatience in my third grade teacher and hope I can forgive it in myself as well. I understand the many reasons for impatience that torment adults. I hope her life was happy because today she looks more like my daughter than a teacher.
Given all the reasons for impatience, it amazes me that any of us are blessed enough to enjoy any patience. Nonetheless there it is again as a commonplace miracle.
MOTHER SAVES THE WORK
FLOWERS YEARN TO BLOOM AGAIN
LATER OLD LEAVES FADE
Text: Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday where Toni is hosting and to Debbie Roth’s Forgiving Fridays.
Photos: “Very Good”, above, and “Alice in Wonderland”, below.
Imaginary friends don’t talk back as much. That’s one reason to ask their opinions. They don’t know what’s really going on, but sometimes they have an interesting perspective. Real friends will try to set me straight according to their views of the direct path from here to there but they are often as wrong as I am.
I take a walk which takes me on a path temporarily away from all friends. There’s mystery before my eyes. The trees are budding. There will be Spring regardless of my wintery dreams.
BIRDSONG THROUGH BLUE SKY
WINTER’S BRANCHES TRUST AND BUD
WOULD THAT I COULD HEAR
Text: Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday. Victoria C. Slotto is hosting with the theme of tree buds.
Photos: “Tree Buds”, above, and “Early Blooms”, below.
I brew coffee in a French press and pour it into a blender. With a tablespoon I take a large amount of coconut oil and place it in the hot coffee. The heat slides it off the spoon. I often stop there, but one can always carry things beyond.
The full recipe which I am writing down for the first time right now goes further. I add a tablespoon of butter or some cream, but not always, and then spices because if I don’t eat them they will stay on the shelf: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, turmeric and pink salt.
I blend these ingredients for a few breaths and pour it into a mug. I wonder if it is still coffee? It doesn’t taste like a colada or Cuban espresso which wakes me up, since I drink it alone, on those dawn walks when I wait for the sunrise with the birds. It might even be a kind of soup, but the buzz of clarity that aligns my awareness to reality tells me it doesn’t matter.
MOST LEAVES HAVE LONG GONE
BERRIES PROUDLY ON DISPLAY
HOME FOR TINY BIRDS
Text: Linked to dVerse Poetics. Paul is hosting with the theme of poems about drinking.
Photos: “Berries”, above, “Winter Vegetation”, below.
The thought of riding my bicycle up and down Indiana State Road 55 and even getting as far as DeMotte, exhausted and proud because we also got back, makes me realize today how big I felt our world was back then no matter how small it actually was by other measurements. Like burrowing rodents on a communal challenge, we knew that trip my brother and I took to DeMotte broke important, new ground.
There was a hill half a mile from the prairie farm we had to climb to reach our destination. We were told to be careful because cars could not see us. We were careful, at least on our bikes, or lucky that few cars usually drive that rural road. I wondered why that hill was there at all considering how flat everywhere else was. At the time I reasoned that even the slightest elevation, say a foot, must be caused by a dinosaur’s body lying somewhere below. I wanted to dig them up and then keep going to China.
I can still see that hill, but I can’t find it for sure on Google Maps. The information online does put in perspective most of the places I heard and imagined as a child. “So that’s where they are!” I tell myself. However, I don’t need an online map for that hill. Even in my memory it remains difficult to bike up, but fun to ride down.
QUIET CORN AND BEANS
GROWING ON DEEP PRAIRIE SOIL
CHILDREN RUSHING BY
Text: Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday. Mish is hosting with the theme “hometown”.
Photo: “Trees in Winter”