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Climbing Mountains

it is Haibun Monday today on dVerse, hosted by Frank J. Tassone.  Today, we are to write about Cold Mountain – a Chinese poet from sometime in the 9th century, during the Tang Dynasty.  His poetry has influenced both Zen practitioners and eastern style poets. The immediacy of his work embodies the emphasis on the present moment that defines Zen aesthetics. The Beat Poets were moths drawn to his fire. Well. That is quite the mouthful.  Thankfully, Frank has not limited us to trying to become Chinese Zen Masters.  His instructions are as follows:

Today, write you haibun on either one of the following options:

  1. A Cold Mountain: the towering heights, frigid temperatures, majestic views, or existential challenges of a mountain. You could even go metaphorical, describing the cold mountain of overwhelming circumstances, or how we make mountains out of mole hills.
  2. The Cold Mountain: a haibun that follows the influence of Hanshan (Cold Mountain), with his immediacy, concern for humanity, and deep devotion to nature.

I knew a man who believed he could climb any mountain.  And he did.  Life was never a walk in the park.  A difficult childhood, a substance addiction, a near bankruptcy, were all stepping stones for him.  He always made the choice to live.  He cleaned himself up, he paid his debts, and he worked his way up from sweeping floors to fixing machinery to designing to owning his own company.  An autodidact who didn’t understand the word quit.

Some mountains are harder and colder to climb than others.  And some, you cannot reach the top, no matter how much you desire it.

No challenge too great

When you believe in yourself

Until breath runs out

108 thoughts on “Climbing Mountains

  1. Haibunilicious work, Dale. An inspiring tale. Thanks.
    (Friendly proof reader input: Shouldn’t he be “owning” his company, not “owing” it?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ron! And dang! Yes! He definitely should be owning! No matter how often you look…😉 Thank you! Off to fix!


  2. Dear Dale,

    This is heartrending and so beautifully written. I’m sorry I never got to meet him, but judging from his life partner I understand how special he was.

    Shalom and lotsa lofty hugs,


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Couldn’t agree more. The mountain is possibly the greatest chalnenge. You never know how it will turn out. (Did you read my post the White Mountain?)
    Tout va bien chez toi? Avec ces bruits de bottes en Ukraine… 🇺🇦

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Q

    Mick was one of a kind, and as with anyone whose heart and soul leap into the consciousness of those who will always miss him, he was taken from the world much, much, much too soon. There are not enough much’s, as you know.

    You have not one but TWO magnificent bastards in your captures. Both gone and both never to be forgotten. Not ever.

    As I say, the angels always win.

    Lovely and strong piece.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. After I read your haibun, I couldn’t help but remember something I read quite a while ago about people who live life so fully and so well that they burn out far before the rest of us, like shooting stars. Another beautiful tribute, Dale.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Another wonderful tribute, I am always at the amount he surfaces in your poetry. I wish I had met him mind you I’d love to meet you too. I am sure he lives on in you and your boys 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, dear Björn! Oh, we took many breaks. I still can’t get over that he was able to get to the top. Six months later, he was no longer with us, his heart giving out.


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