Birds

Birds line up near the water’s edge to watch the sunrise on the beach. So do a few people although not in such nice lines. Workers collect garbage from trash containers. Others drive tractors smoothing the sand roughed from yesterday’s play. Unintentionally they make raked Japanese Zen gardens, but without the stones. They are so perfect they need delicate footsteps. So much order also wants to be beautiful.

BIRDS OBSERVE THE SUN
ROUGH WAVES SOOTH THE WINTER SHORE
WALK THROUGH FRESH RAKED SAND


Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday.   Victoria C. Slotto is hosting with the theme Wabi-Sabi, the art of imperfection.
Photos: “Sunrise Watching” above and the collage “Bird Tracks on the Beach” below both by the author.  These are linked to K’lee and Dale’s Cosmic Photo Challenge with the theme “Birds and Bees”.
Come join us with your photos and haibun!

Bird Tracks on the Beach

Faces

I put the flower in a cup of water so it will not wilt. The cat puts her face in it as well. She wonders what that flower is doing here. The flower isn’t doing anything. It would have preferred to remain where it had been attached to its true source of nourishment and understanding, its roots. They miss each other.

Birds sit on a railing watching me approach. They aren’t struggling to survive. Survival is not that hard. They are not afraid I will pick one of them and put it in a cup of water so it will not wilt. I have no crumbs for them. They don’t mind.

SUMMER FLOWERS CUT
KIKI DRINKS BLOSSOM WATER
BIRDS WATCH AS I WALK.


Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday. Toni is hosting on any topic.  Come join us to write a haibun.
Photos: “Kiki Hiding Her Face” and “Birds on Boardwalk”, below, both by the author. These are linked to K’lee and Dale‘s Cosmic Photo Challenge with the theme “faces”. My cat Kiki’s face is hidden.  The birds don’t mind showing their faces anywhere.

Birds on Boardwalk

Midsummer Daydream

I walk toward Sunset Ridge Woods busy dreaming while this summer day is busy being beautiful.  Last night I read a fable telling about fairies guarding a forest glen.¹  They punished cutting trees in their creative ways using the imaginations of the trespasser. They were more effective than fines–and swifter. Natural retribution could take years or generations. Those fairies kept the riff-raff in line–if you believed in them.

Today governments take over guarding forest preserves. Perhaps they do permit what some might call over-harvesting where it’s out-of-sight and wild. Like beauty, one guy’s rightful use is another guy’s misuse. Governments keep the opportunists in line–if you believe they can.  I wonder how my mind would survive a trespass on a fairy glen? Maybe they still rule in these subtle ways even without my acknowledgment of their existence. If so, who could stop them?

SOUNDS OF SHRILL TRAFFIC
SUMMER WARMS THIS SUNSET TRAIL
SHELTERED BY STILL TREES

¹“The Man Who Had No Story” in Jane Yolen’s Favorite Folktales From Around the World.


Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday hosted by Grace with prompt “Summer”.
Photo: “Green Midsummer Madness” by the author linked to K’lee and Dale‘s Cosmic Photo Challenge with prompt “midsummer madness”.

Cracks and Wrinkles

I drink coffee and think of a handmade, blue cup that I used for decades. That cup felt right for my fingers and mouth. I remember being told how it fell and how the handle broke off while I was away. Were I home I would have tried repairing it (without success), but it was thrown away. I did not complain. One can always buy another cup, even a technically better one, like the one I am using now, handmade and blue.

I see wrinkles change the smoothness of my skin. They’re not like cracks in pottery. They age well or not so well. What makes them age well is worth more than the gold that I have heard some use to repair a beloved cup and it cannot be bought.  Whether mine have aged well or not, teenage cashiers now give me the senior discount I didn’t even know existed.

COFFEE HELD IN BLUE
SUMMER HELD IN HEATED AIR
BLUE LIKE OCEAN WRINKLES.


Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday hosted by Grace with the prompt “Kintsugi: The Art of Broken Pieces”.
Photo: “Low Tide Atlantic Ocean” by the author taken at Myrtle Beach, North South Carolina.

Pop

I wonder what it feels like to pop like a kernel of corn? No matter how many times I pour a bit of olive oil into the popper, turn on the heat, drop in a third cup of kernels stirring about three minutes until the sound dies, dump the now fluffy kernels into a bowl and bless them with sea salt–no matter how many times I run this experiment, no matter how accurately I measure, I have no clue what those kernels felt. Some don’t mind leaving mysteries veiled. Some impatiently assert those mysteries don’t exist, but even they can’t escape the mystery of eat, eat, eat and then pop some more.

MOMENTS POP AWAY
WARMER DAYS MARK WINTER DONE
TIME FOR ONE MORE WALK


Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday hosted by Björn Rudberg with the prompt “consider cooking in your haibun and give us a recipe in your prose”.  I have included my secret recipe for making popcorn.
Photo: “Popcorn Steps” by the author. Collage created using Google Photos.

While Driving Home

The first time I drove these fast, multi-lane interstate highways connecting Chicago and northern Indiana I was alone and I thought I was going to die or get my butt kicked since I wasn’t supposed to be on them. I was driving a cheap, used car I bought from a classmate without asking my father’s advice because I didn’t have a brain in my head. A week later, after the car and I survived I-94, that car suddenly lost oil and brought me, safely, to its final stop on a country road. Driving back to my childhood town these memories take advantage of the opportunity to hold my attention. My sister is still there with her family. There is also my former teacher. His children, who have children now, I remember as children whom I baby sat while their youngest sibling was being born. My parents are both there, side by side, but where they really are, and perhaps who they really are, I will find out in the not too distant future. One by one, they joined my youngest brother whose misfortune with automobiles was worse than mine. I can still see my father opening the door for me as we gathered that day. How he cried! I hear Omar Alfanno’s “Un Hombre de Verdad” playing from my phone over the car’s speakers. My heart tells my mind that enough is enough and they give me a chance to listen. I touch repeat.

APRIL’S EYES HAVE CLEARED
EARTH WAITS WARM AND PATIENTLY
BLOOMS SMILE EVERYWHERE


Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday hosted by Toni with the prompt to write a haibun about singing to a song while driving.

Chicken Problem

They live free from lust and fear and anger.¹

I waste resources taking precautions against what I fear and nothing happens. It is what I don’t anticipate that messes me up. For example, while walking Fred that half mile we usually take through the forest I stay within view of the path so I won’t get lost. I don’t think about the problems Fred has been having with those chickens whom I allow to range freely near the cabin and who torment him chained to his doghouse. So when I unchain Fred, out of kindness, because we are buddies and all, and I see him turn back up the path briefly looking at me with scorn, I realize that I’m an idiot.

By the time I get back, Fred’s anger resolved his chicken problem. He is gnawing on one of them when he sees me and begins part two of his plan for domination. He rushes into the cabin defending his castle growling and baring his teeth. At this point I guess I felt fear, but mainly it was anger which is what fear turns into when it doesn’t care any more. I kneel down bracing for his charge with the chain in one hand and the forefinger of my other hand touching the floor beside me, “Get your ass over here.”

Fred is smarter than most animals I’ve met including myself. He bowed his head and submissively accepted the chain.

follow forrest trail
trees prepare for new spring growth
winter dying’s past


Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday hosted by Toni Spencer with the topic fear.
¹A quote about fear is required. Mine comes from the Bhagavad Gita, Eknath Easwaran translator.
Linked to NaPoWriMo2017 Day Seventeen.
Photo: “V” by the author

Tree Shadows

As a shadow moves it leaves little behind except a slightly cooler temperature that lasts briefly, but it will be back.

I enter Chipilly Woods looking for trees and finding their sharp shadows crossing the trail. I see the muddied path ahead from recent spring rains and so I turn back. I don’t mind the wetness but by returning now I would leave no more than a faint footprint behind.

footprints on the path
water filters through spring soil
shadows turn with day


Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday hosted by Toni Spencer with the theme of “The Shadow Knows”.
Linked also to NaPoWriMo2017 Day 3. My Day 2 poem was a limerick posted yesterday on Madeleine Begun Kane’s Limerick-Off.
Photo: “Shadows and Footprints” by the author.

Homemade Apple Strudel

This meal is a myth of partial perspectives. In one, my head peaks over the table and tries to pull the dough of the apple strudel to make sure some of it stretches over the edge proving that the dough was perfectly kneaded. In another I am taller placing apple slices carefully side by side. In a later one I help my mother knead the dough and my father peel and slice the apples while my siblings sprinkle on raisins.

In all of these there is the common perspective of the fork cutting a warm slice of apple strudel on a plate with ice cream. After having children of my own I understand how they must have enjoyed watching us help make and then eat this dessert which, as far as I can remember, was the meal.

After many years my sisters and I tried to make that meal for them one holiday afternoon when we were all together again since it was not something they did anymore, while there was still time. We read our mother’s handwritten recipe card and she explained what parts we could ignore and what we needed to add that she did not clearly write down. We could not get the dough as large as any of us remembered it being. We realized that none of us were as picky as we used to be with how apple slices should be placed. In the end, it tasted OK without reaching the level of mythic perfection we expected, but we think they enjoyed watching us try.

CHILDREN’S TINY HANDS
SPRING WARMS MEMORIES AGAIN
PARENTS WATCHING ON


Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday hosted by Toni Spencer.

Forest Bath

We bathe in wonders. Some manipulate aspects of these aided by theories of gravity or electromagnetism. I try to stand tall with shoulders back so I can breathe deeply which keeps my heart open to resonate with Whatever. I step off the street and enter a dense forest trail. As I move deeper into the woods human sounds smooth out into hums softer than the crunch of my feet on last autumn’s leaves.

Walking this path, I intend to pay attention, but I miss almost everything.

When I choose not to enter some woods, it sprinkles me with thoughts of regret. If I do enter, but pay no attention to anything, I am still caressed. Someday I might understand the rapture of every creature like that of the worms as they return autumn’s mulch to the trees, but, right now, I can’t separate out those drops of this forest bath. I walk. When the path ends I feel refreshed.

WORMS WORK WINTER MULCH
RIVER DRAINS AWAY THE SNOW
FOOTSTEPS CRUMPLE LEAVES


Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday hosted by Toni aka kanzen sakura (www.kanzensakura.wordpress.com)  who writes, “In 1980, the Japanese began a type of healing/meditation/relaxation process called shinrin-yoku (森林浴) or literally, forest bathing.” The prompt is to try this yourself and report on your experiences.