Planting and Blooming: Haibun

The sun rises every day, but each dawn is unique, a doorway to a new room waiting to be furnished, or a tilled field ready for planting.

When I became a mother for the first time, it was all new to me—the birth, bringing our daughter home on a cold February day to our recently purchased house, and then learning to take care of an infant. Breastfeeding was easy; trying to figure out how to unfold the heavy baby carriage and get it and her out the door and down the steps was not. But—the second time I became a mother, it was new again. There were similarities–it was another cold February day, but the labor was different, and I was different. Caring for a toddler and a baby at the same time was also a new experience. Like each day, each birth is both similar and singular, as is every child.

Frost-laced ground
incubates hopes and dreams–
daffodils rise

This is a haibun for dVerse, where Lillian has asked us to write about a something we’ve experienced that’s new. We first planted daffodils when I was pregnant with our older daughter, and this year, we planted more because it seemed like something hopeful for the spring. (By we, I mean I ordered them, and my husband planted them. Teamwork. 😏 )

November Clouds

Nearly every day I find something in the natural world that astounds me with its beauty– a single wildflower, a shy, graceful deer, or a stunning cloudscape over the Delaware River. When I walk, usually early in the morning, I’m often filled with wonder—a sensation of body and mind. This morning, I almost didn’t walk because of the rain and thunder, but it stopped, and I went out to see the most incredible sky.

golden leaves glow
against charcoal clouds they dance,
fall in nature’s rhythm

Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. November Sky. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2020

This is for Kim’s prompt at dVerse, to write a haibun “about a time when you last watched stars, a storm, the sea, an animal, or something else in nature that left you with a sense of wonder or awe.”

Shadows in the Dark

George Lambert, Moorland Landscape with Rainstorm, Wikepedia Commons

I am dreaming. I traipse across the moors in Brontë country. It’s almost Halloween, and soon, back home, I’ll be carving jagged smiles on pumpkin faces. As I walk, the sun sinks lower and lower in the sky, deepening the grass’s golden glow. Shadows walk with me, till they’re obscured by the darkness. Night lays a black shroud over the naked trees and heathered knolls, covering them completely. A fine mist obscures my vision even more. It kisses me all over, lightly like a playful lover, until I am weakened and drenched. Lost. At the sound of a ghostly screech, I jump, then laugh a bit at my fright. It’s just a barn owl. There’s nothing here to frighten you, I tell myself–until cold fingers wrap themselves around my wrist. I try to call out, but no sound emerges from my throat. I try to wake, but I cannot. I am dreaming I tell myself as the bony fingers pull me down to the cold, damp ground.

Cold, autumn mist,
nightmare shapes in the shadows–
Jack’s crooked mouth laughs

Toby Ord, CC BY-SA 2.5 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

This is for Frank’s Halloween dVerse prompt. I liked the image he used, so I used it, too. Franks said we could write fictional prose, so I’ve revised one I wrote a few years ago.

Harvest Moon

No moonglow last night, though she was there behind the charcoal clouds. They swooped in, covering first the sun, and then the stars. Later, it rained—again—and the scent of petrichor drifted through our open windows. Summer’s last hurrah. The moon knows, and soon she will hum the song of autumn and harvests, of bread, honey, and wine.

golden moon glow
over fields of grapes and grain—
russet leaves fall

For dVerse, where Frank has asked us to write a haibun alluding to the moon. On Thursday night, we will hopefully see the Harvest Moon.

Wonders

Since the pandemic, my walks have been confined mainly to my neighborhood. I began my almost daily morning walks as the spring buds were beginning to bloom, and now the days are growing shorter and hints of red, orange, and yellow leaves are appearing. But I’m fortunate to live near the Delaware River and a beautiful park. I’ve discovered how the river’s color changes with light and tides, and how a red-winged blackbird chirps as it flies by from a marsh. Without a hike into the wildness, I find wild wonders nearly every day—wildflowers, hawks, turkeys, and deer. Yesterday, I saw a bald eagle so close, perched on a bare treetop. I gazed at him in awe, and he dismissed me as unimportant and probably soon forgotten. It doesn’t matter. I had a moment of magic to remember, while he was looking for his next meal to survive.

Bald eagle pauses,
keen eyes survey his kingdom—
treetops turning gold

A Haibun for Frank’s prompt on dVerse using the word hike.

Bald Eagle at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ

Up and Down

© 2020 Frank J. Tassone

 

We stand on a precipice, nation and world. Fissured by plague and threats to democracy, we are faltering, close to tumbling into an abyss. Is this the beginning of the end? Or merely a ripple in the waves of time? I leave the angry and weary voices to walk, looking for beauty in the bright colors around me. A chipmunk scurries by. Deer shyly graze, turkeys strut through the long grass, and blackbirds give a trilling chink as they fly overhead.

I watch the sun rising over the river, making it sparkle. It know it’s physics, but I can also see the magic. We need both.

 

bare branches turn green,

brown leaves fall into river–

past floats to future

 

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©️Merril D. Smith 2020

A Haibun for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday Haibun prompt, using Frank Tassone’s photo at the top for inspiration, and my photo at the end.

 

 

 

Persistence Glows

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After years of archival research, chapters drafted and re-drafted, grad school extensions, and the birth of my first daughter, I finally received my Ph.D. in American History. My husband, father, and toddler daughter watched me receive my degree in a small January ceremony. I was proud of my accomplishment, but I think my father may have been prouder.

 

Seeds drift and flutter,

fields and cracks fill with flowers–

the glow of persistence

 

 

 

 

A Haibun for dVerse, where Lillian asks us to write about one shining moment.  Something I just noticed–my dad never wore ties, but he wore one for this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mickey: NaPoWriMo2020, Day 14

 

Yesterday did not dawn. It oozed grey with an oppressive silence, punctuated by thunder. There was a tornado warning in effect for the afternoon. Then, the storm clouds cleared, and the sun shimmered on the trees as we drove to the animal hospital to say goodbye to our cat Mickey. From the window of the little exam room we could hear birds singing. Maybe Mickey heard them, too, but I know he heard our voices and felt us petting him. He purred before he went to sleep, never to wake.

Today, dawn came. I walked, watching the sun rise and listening to the birds–and the world seemed a little less broken.

 

white cat paw clouds drift

slumbering in the sunshine—

trees drop pink teardrops

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Mickey’s quirkiness matched his one blue eye and one yellow eye and his long legs. He loved chasing his orange ball. He hid from strangers and growled at some people, but he loved to sit with us at night and get neck rubs. We miss him.

 

 

Whispers of Spring

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Red Bank Battlefield, NJ

 

It is warm for February, but not as warm as I thought it would be. A cool wind blows across the choppy river. I put on a hat to cover my ears–still I hear the trees whisper, “spring is coming,” as I see shoots and leaves poking from the ground.

bare branches beckon,

sun’s chariot draws closer

waking earth with light

 

It has been a mild winter, but I’m ready for spring. It was good to see a blue sky yesterday. Though we’re back to dreary grey today, I’m excited to see crocuses, and even a few daffodil leaves emerging from the ground.

Frank asked us to write about the coming of spring for Haibun Monday at dVerse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endings to Beginnings to Endings

 

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This may be my mother’s last move. We fold old years into new boxes; rearrange the past to fit the present. But somewhere, in some bit of time-space, the what was, still is. I stare at a painting on her wall. There’s a small red figure among the winter birch trees. Have I never noticed it before, or have I forgotten? It has always been there. I see it now.

 

Silvered bare branches

in moonlight they dream of spring–

leaves fall, new buds bloom

 

A Haibun for dVerse, where Björn has asked us to write about a beginning.