It’s Spring–Or Is It? Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge

Photo: Tomas Sobek via Flickr–labeled for non-commercial reuse.

It’s Spring—Or Is It?

The first year after we moved to Reno, my sister sent me a gardener’s diary. A thoughtful gift-giver, she knew of my newly born enthusiasm for the garden that we were able to plant in our large yard. Each week I dutifully entered notes: what we planted, sowed and dead-headed, the weeds we battled, the heights of the tomato plants and their yield, the weather conditions, what fared well, what needed more light or water, what didn’t make it. This journal offered us the surety that the following year we would know exactly what to do when spring first showed her colors.

The second year, I abandoned the diary. The slopes were open to skiers on the Fourth of July; tomatoes planted after the last snow on Peavine wilted; blossoms froze on the Stella cherry tree,which subsequently gave no fruit and the sweet peas and jasmine didn’t have a chance. Spring and each season that follows is a new experience every year. We have grown to love the adventure of extreme gardening.

Snow covers Peavine
Morning sun bronzes her slopes
Spring cowers behind clouds

Linked to Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge. Peavine Mountain is just northwest of Reno. Local lore has it that you don’t want to plant your tomato seedlings outside until the snow is off of Peavine.

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Death Scene–Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge

Death Scene

Written and linked to Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge.  This week’s challenge is CROW. The story is true. My Irish mother always claimed that the black bird was a sign of death. I used that as a theme in my novel: “The Sin of His Father.”

 

Photo: Wikipedia Commons–Labeled for Non-commercial reuse.

She only lasted four weeks from the day of her diagnosis. I spent much of that time with her–witnessed the rapid progression of her cancer, helped to manage her pain,tried to comfort my mother, her husband and children. I wallowed in a feeling of helplessness.

We watched tennis players enjoying nearby courts and a multitude of large blackbirds feeding on newly sown grass.

Life begins, life endures, life ends.

outside crows forage
black contrasts on summer green
inside, my sister’s waning

Winter, Midday, in the Desert

Winter, Midday, in the Desert

When I think of freedom, the image of birds come to mind–that ability to fly, to reach the heights. But even such freedom has its limits. Both wind and the anatomy and physiology of the bird species impose restraints–that is, forces both intrinsic and outside of the bird. True freedom, I believe, lies within the spirit: the ability to chose what we believe and to act according to our personal creed and the wonder of letting love guide us throughout life.

Warm sun unravels
winter chill. Gentle breeze bears
free-floating feathers.

Joining this to Frank Tassone’s Haikai challenge where, thinking of MLK Jr., we are writing of FREEDOM.

Feathers_cballou_2
Labeled for non-commercial reuse.

 

Still Water, Frozen Beauty

Photo: Sharon Knight
Darklings-2
January 27, 2015
Used with permission

Still Water, Frozen Beauty
a Haibun

We make our way down I-395, skirting the crowding of mountains, the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada, to my west. I snake along, at a near crawl. Overnight, nature has painted her landscape in a wash of pristine white. The black granite peaks are creviced with whipped cream and, to my east, the desert valley is likewise blanketed, sketched with paw prints of various critters. Blackbirds on telephone wires huddle together for warmth.

Slowly, we crest the hill leading into Topaz Lake. She lies there, still, in hues of silver and turquoise. In contrast, a few late autumn trees still hold on to their intense orange leaves. I search for a place to pull off the highway in order to take photos, but southbound semis and black ice remind me that I know better. A flock of Canadian geese lands on the lake, sending ripples, creating texture on her mirrored surface. They etch the scene into my storehouse of memories.

Lake Topaz stretches,
clothed in shimmering satin,
beckons her lover.

Posted for dVerse Poetics, with deep gratitude to Sharon Knight Photography. Sharon has given us permission to use one of her photos for a poetry prompt. They are stunning.

Chef David–Haibun Monday at dVerse

Photo and Pie by Chef David Slotto–Thanksgiving

Chef David

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

 

 

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.

In Praise of Early Dawn–dVerse Poetics

Photo: Phil Mosby

Photo: Phil Mosby

In Praise of Early Dawn
a Haibun

Five-thirty AM. Most of Reno still asleep, I join only a few cars traveling South on West McCarran Boulevard, elevated above the city. In darkness, stark cardboard-cutouts of the mountains to the East hug the basin of crystal lights. Earth holds her breath, waiting for the new day to unfold.

Within the hour, I’m driving back up the hill. Behind me, the sun peeps over the horizon, cracks open the cloud cover and spews blood-red streaks across the sky. I celebrate a new beginning.

early autumn morn
sun breaks through mysteries
pray always, he says

Written for Walt’s prompt at dVerse Poetics where we are celebrating.