Ocean Bathing

Coastline Ocean Cliff –Labeled for Free Usage

Ocean Bathing

It may be in the middle of massive chaos, but all I ask—a few moments alone, closed eyes and the ability to dip into my bucket of memories and ladle out the balm of serenity.

Today, I’m sitting on that hunk of driftwood, a mere half mile from my home in Half Moon Bay. The scent of ocean air and steady roar of breakers crashing in upon the beach beneath my cliff, compete with squawking seagulls.

In spirit, I toss the detritus of today’s rough schedule and testy interactions into the ebbing tide, figuratively sending negativity out to sea. Cleansing, soothing, healing. The years collapse and though it’s been a lifetime since I walked those shores each day, the purity of those moments is distilled into a purifying bath and I emerge refreshed.

many years have passed
healing waters purify
winter doldrums flee

Today for dVerse Haibun Monday, Toni invites us to forest bathe, to go into nature to find healing and peace. I find that I have an archive of memories that enable me to do just that wherever and whenever I choose. When I worked a very intense job, setting up a designated unit to care for AIDS patients in San Francisco in the late 80’s, early 90’s, I had the blessing of living near the ocean. Many, many days, after work, I walked to the beach to let go of the burden of the day. 

Desert Mosaic–dVerse Haibun Monday

Desert Mosaic

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

A sharp breeze from the southwest snaps flags—reminders of Presidents’ Day and the aftermath of recent rain showers. White clouds pool in mountain crevices—fluffy bowls of whipped cream or meringue. Sunshine breaks through, coaxing the dogs and I to cross the street in an attempt to offset desert chill. Black crows that circle overhead caw furiously. Sparky and Zoe bark back as though to protect me but I press onward, ignoring the chaos, and I consider how nature gives freely of her beauty.

rainy winter days
rare but pregnant with promise
carpets of color

In the years when we are blessed with abundant rain, the desert floor blooms forth, splashing color everywhere.

Written for and posted to dVerse Haibun Monday where Kanzen Sakura asks us to consider how the best things in life are free.

 

Waiting at the Side of the Pond–dVerse Haibun

Photo: donjd2 on Flickr Labeled for noncommercial reuse

Photo: donjd2 on Flickr
Labeled for noncommercial reuse

Waiting at the Side of the Pond

I watch as he waits for death–his white body crouched over, shoulders hunched, still as the death he is about to impose. Of a sudden, he springs from his crouch, snatches his prey and soars on high, a flash of silver squirming in his beak.

Not long ago, I also watched for death—not the kind I would inflict, but one that would afflict me. And so did a friend across the pond, the big one. And, now, one across the continent. Its coming is inevitable, whether anticipated with hope or dread. It is inevitable.

early morning watch
egret fleeing winter climes
feeds on silver hope

Today is Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets and the theme is waiting. Hope to see you there.

Summer Fading, 1948

 

 

 

Summer Fading, 1948

Photo: Randy Robertson Labeled for non-commercial reuse

Photo: Randy Robertson
Labeled for non-commercial reuse

The leaves of my pepper tree tickle me as the gnarly bark scrapes the back of my legs. I take a leave and crush it, inhaling the pungent fragrance evokes a sense comfort in me. Red berries, peppercorns, hang in clusters. What better place for a 5 year old to consider all those important things that occupy her life.

Moments later, Mama beckons to me from the back door. I scurry down the tree with conflicting feelings of regret and anticipation and slam the screen door behind me. “Take your sweater, Vicki, it will be cool when you come home.” I grab it off the dining room chair and sprint down the hill, across the dirt road to Stewie’s house where, on his 12” black and white TV, Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent has just joined his buddies.

setting summer sun
slips gently behind our hill
peace-filled memory

Happy to have Lady Nyo hosting this week for dVerse Haibun. Please join us. 

And to All a Blessed Night

Photo: Wikipedia Labeled for non-commercial reuse

Photo: Wikipedia
Labeled for non-commercial reuse

And to All a Blessed Night

“You’re not going to sleep in her room, are you?” Already my nieces had questioned my plan to spend the night alone in Mom’s house, just hours after her death. “Of course; why not?”

Night three, around four AM, a bright light awakens me from a sound sleep. I drag myself out of bed and creep to the doorway, peer to the right and left. The only lights were those I’d left on to give the impression that caregivers were still here, as they had been for several years.

I shrug, return to bed. An emergency radio/flashlight, previously unnoticed on the armoir, greets me with its intense rays, emanating a sense of peaceful energy and perhaps a bit of Mom’s most predictable sense of humor.

winter stars winking
illumine the new moon sky
most loving presence

Today at dVerse, Toni invites us to share a non-fiction account, in Haibun form, of a remembered good night, keeping in mind that phrase from Moore’s fun Christmas poem–and to all, a good night! True story, this.

 

October–dVerse OLN

Photo: jcookfisher via Flickr Labeled for non-commercial reuse

Photo: jcookfisher via Flickr
Labeled for non-commercial reuse

October
Haibun

Recently, a red tail hawk sat on our fence, watching an assortment of jays, robins, quail and doves fattening themselves on the seeds in our garden. Spent cosmos and coreopsis shrugged, let nature have her way.

Hawk, the Messenger,
seeks tomorrow’s sustenance,
dove feasts, unaware.

All the work of putting the garden to bed for the winter has claimed our attention, turning it from creative pursuits. The tasks of autumn bring to mind those chores that face us later in life—clearing away the debris of spent dreams, wasted efforts—preparing the soil for what is yet to come.

Autumn smells pungent—
leaves moldering in crannies,
poems forgotten.

A few brilliant roses still persist in their efforts to boast their beauty, proving that nature is not as fussy as we are when it comes to choosing the colors she will wear, or what’s deemed appropriate as defined by the expectations of others. Bright pink and orange: how freeing!

Late blooming roses
struggle in October frost,
clash with changing leaves.

The Truckee river, a block from our home, is feeling the effect of this summer’s lack of rain. It is fed by beautiful Lake Tahoe, flows east through Reno and ends up in Pyramid Lake, home of the Paiute Indians. Snow fell this week, just above our elevation, in the Sierra Nevada and we will see more soon, hopefully. Reno is high desert, receiving only 7” of rain annually. We depend on the snowfall in the mountains and at the Lake.

Truckee, languid now,
flows gently through our city,
hopes for winter snow.

Linking to dVerse OLN where you can post any one poem, any topic, any form. Please join us.

Driving Toward Town at 7:30 AM on Sunday Morning–dVerse Haibun Monday

Driving Toward Town at 7:30 AM on Sunday Morning
a Haibun

I ease through my neighborhood—streets soaked after a night of rain, awash in a blur of watercolor pastels. Turning east onto a main thoroughfare, the streets are deserted and sunshine backlights black clouds with bursts of silver. Trees bow beneath the weight of rains but shed tears, not the glory of their autumn wardrobe.

Further on, I turn onto West Fourth Street where trailers, weekly motels and liter replace beauty. The photographer has switched from color to a monochromatic vista of black, white and varying shades of gray. Here on the outskirts of Reno, images of drugs deals and prostitution are easy to imagine. I see a black jacket, soaked with rain, hanging over the guard rail that protects me from the gully and train tracks below. I consider pulling over, half-expecting to see its owner splayed in the ravine below. Fear restrains me.

autumn rains can’t cleanse
remnants of despair, poverty
song birds disappear
where trees can no longer thrive
where hope is bathed in darkness

This is a true story that happened yesterday morning. Bjorn invites us to write a contemporary haibun, focused on a cityscape, for dVerse Haibun Monday. Today we are given the option of tweaking the haiku portion of the poem. The pub opens soon, at 3:00 PM EDT. I hope you will join us.

This old photo is the actual portion of West Fourth Street I was driving. It used to be the main thoroughfare between Sacramento and Reno, through the Sierra Nevada, over Donner Pass. I was driving the opposite direction of the car in the photo, toward the city. You can see the ravine, the train tracks. On the opposite side of the street, it is as described in the haibun.

4th