Aside from the plastic owl, impaled on a stick in my neighbor’s vegetable garden, owls seem to be elusive, even though I live in a mostly rural corner of the world. One time, a friend who lived ten miles up in the North Valley’s, showed up at my house with an owl’s wing that she found in the middle of her infrequently traveled road. I studied the details of the feathers with a heavy heart, marking how the fragility of life makes it even more beautiful.
Of course, owls themselves are predators, a necessary, though painful reality that affects all living things. We kill to survive. We live in awareness of the transience of our beings. The more powerful use the weaker to obtain what they need or want. But still I dream that someday we shall live in peace. And that someday I shall see a snowy owl.
white streak across snowy night
longing in darkness
Monday begins the week with Haibun at dVerse Poets Pub. I’m hosting this week and turned to a Kigo closely associated with winter, which seems to be barreling in here in Northern Nevada. I developed a keen appreciation for Owls when I was given Mary Oliver’s book of poetry: Owls and Other Fantasies–my introduction to this poet, one of my favorites. The prompt this week is FUKUROO-OWL. The shirofukuroo is the snowy ow. Please join us at the pub with your Haibun of 200 words or less of nonfiction prose followed by a seasonal haiku. The pub opens at 12 Noon EST.
Photo: Labeled for reuse
I awaken this morning to temperatures of 28 degrees Fahrenheit, open the back door and breathe in the purity of crisp, fresh air. Hoar frost designs sparkle on the deck and the vegetable garden sags—leaves like tears hang from the tomato and cucumber plants, light splashes of color awash on our maple and ash trees. The glory of the cerulean sky sings joy. Reality intervenes.
blood-red leaves appear
fall gently on the pavement
Today, I’m hosting Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets. The prompt is Shimo No Koe–Voice of First Frost. Please join in. The prompt is open all week.
The Sounds of Summer
Last night, for the first time this year, we heard crickets’ song. Not that it hasn’t been hot. We are in the midst of record-breaking heat—37 days’ worth of temperatures in the upper 90’s or 100’s. My guess, though, is that smoke from the many wild fires in our area was subduing them. Or, more likely, until now, we couldn’t hear them because we couldn’t open our windows.
This morning I was greeted by the raucous sound of blue jays, asserting their command over the suet feeder in the pear tree. Robins sang counterpoint, defying stridency and filling the air with melody. The forlorn call of a dove echoed in the background. With thunderstorms predicted this afternoon, I pray there will be no lightning-induced wildfires. Open windows bring joy.
crickets sing freely
summer’s joy resounds above
deer flee raging flames
So happy to welcome Toni back to the pub with her wide-open haibun prompt. I chose to go with a situation that we are currently facing here in Northern Nevada. You have all week to join in!
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I remember the scent of summers from my childhood—the sweet waft of delicate blossoms abuzz with bees, followed later by that of the small golden globes that grew from them. Oh, the soft touch of ripening skin, carefully tended by my watchful grandpa, who allowed no one close to them until they had come unto their fullness.
He’d let me watch the harvest, but not squeeze the fruit, almost as protective of it as he was with me. Then he’d pile me between Mama and him into his 1940-something red Ford pickup and we’d tootle down the hill to Mr. Dinwiddie’s whose enormous yard held a number of sprawling trees like our own.
At last, the day had come: let the games begin! He and Mama set out on their annual quest for gold—the gold of apricot jam. The competition was fierce. Grandma and I watched from afar as she read to me—“Once upon a time…” When the battle concluded, we tasted, but never declared the winner. We all savored gold.
spring blossoms give way
to succulent summer fruit
birds feast on the scraps
Photo: maxipixel: labeled for non-commercial reuse.
This week Grace is hosting Haibun Monday at dVerse and asks us to share a nonfiction account from our warehouse of memories, followed by a haiku. This one goes way back to my very young childhood when my widowed mother and I still lived with my grandparents. And Dinwiddie was the man’s real name–not hard to forget!
Photo: David Slotto
A few years ago we were so lucky to win a trip to golf Pinehurst #2. I drove the green on Hole 16 but missed my 4 foot birdie putt. :0(
Golf— the Sport of Fools
If you are serious about golf, I recommend that you stay away from any opportunity to join a foursome of which I am a part. It will take me about three strokes to catch up with your drive. I’m too old and too skinny to do otherwise. Frankly, I doubt if I have an athletic gene in my DNA. Ask any member of my 9-hole golf league. Or ask my long-suffering husband.
Why do I golf, you may ask. That’s a question I ask myself each morning I awaken and know that I have a scheduled tee time. But as soon as I walk approach the tee box on the first hole, look down the fairway at an expanse of green surrounded by trees, standing like a guard of honor to welcome me, as soon as I hear the songs of mockingbirds, wrens (and even those crows just waiting to really mock me), and as soon as the words of encouragement of friends raise my spirits or I hit that unexpected long fairway shot or make that troublesome putt, then I remember. Plus, I’ve golfed with 90-plus year-old’s. How better to keep our older bodies agile and alive. When I post my score at the end of the round, I only pray that no one waiting behind to do the same is peeking over my shoulder.
my drive soars skyward
boosted on by spring breezes
sun breaks through the clouds
This week’s Haibun challenge at dVerse Poets, hosted by Bjorn, is asking us to write of sports. Well, the Warriors beat out Cleveland last night for the NBA Championship, and that makes me happy (Sorry, Cleveland cousins and other fans) but, lets just say I never excelled in any sport other than swimming–that happens when you grow up in Southern California. But there is one sport that does keep me moving, other than dog-walking. And now you know.
Coastline Ocean Cliff –Labeled for Free Usage
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.
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.