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.
Photo: Victoria Slotto
Ash Tree, Barren
The ash tree that we planted, probably twenty years past, flourished until a few years ago. She not only offered the loveliness of her leaf-laden branches, she protected us from late afternoon sun and winds that howl from the west through Sierra Nevada’s Donner Pass. In autumn, she sheds dazzling gilt foliage and in spring an eruption of lime green buds poke out of her apparently dead branches.
A couple of years ago, after five years of severe drought, many of the branches failed to show growth. The dire shortage of rain, coupled with water restrictions, took their toll. This year, we had dead limbs removed and our tree is spouting out limbs from the places you would least expect.
harsh summers take toll
water, source of leaf-life, fails
on dead branch finch sings
This week I’m hosting dVerse Haibun Monday. The theme is Wabi-Sabi: the Japanese concept of imperfect beauty. To learn more please head over to dVerse, read the prompt and links offered, and add a poem of your own. Have a blessed week. The link will be open till Saturday.
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.
I am afraid to grieve—afraid that if I open that door a crack those other monsters hidden in the shadows will creep in and invade my peace. Is it because that loss began so long ago, when the brilliance of her mind began to dim, when judgment fled and anger peeked between the clouds? Or has the “business” of dying obscured the underlying pain? And when that’s done (if ever) what awaits? I dread am afraid of grief.
ducklings romp outside
april joy plays in sunshine
hawk swoops in, devours
Kanzen Sakura asks for Haibuns written on the subject of our most honest fears. Visit dVerse Haibun Monday to share.
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Photo and Pie by Chef David Slotto–Thanksgiving
Have you ever wondered if the one you love, loves you in return? With the same intensity? With the same care?
I watch him stir, measure, taste, chop, add, stir again. I watch him labor over a pot of lactose-free milk slowly simmering, evaporating so that I can enjoy the same Thanksgiving pumpkin pie as everyone else in spite of my finicky digestive system. I watch him unload groceries carefully chosen after meticulous examination of labels to rule out dairy. Do you know how many cheeses are made of the easier-to-digest goats’ milk?
It’s that measure of attention, that extra spice that flavors every meal he prepares with that delicious spice of love.
on a green hillside
ewes drop spring lambs one-by-one
cheese in the offing
Note: Once when making a silent retreat in Pennsylvania in April, I stood and witnessed the birth of a couple of dozen lambs, all within a few hours of each other. Truly amazing.
Today for Haibun Monday, Kanzen Sakura asks us to remember one of our favorite meals–a hard task for me since I have enjoyed so many thanks to my husband who does all the cooking. I chose Thanksgiving.
Photo: David Slotto–herbs from the chef’s garden
Photo: David Sl