I haven’t been doing much participatin’. Just a phase I’m going through, methinks. However, I did start this two days ago (what?) and am finally ready to share today. dVerse on Monday Haibun was hosted by Frank J. Tassone and he suggested we celebrate the Solstice (summer for the northern hemisphere, winter for the southern). I love this time of year because it still has a mix of cool and warm days, especially in the Montreal area. It’s a little Russian Roulette weather-wise. Come mid-July to mid-August, we risk getting the gross, humid, hot and life-sucking heat. So, I shall take this time to celebrate the little joys.
Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
The tulips, rhododendrons, and lilacs have come and gone, their scent barely a memory before the next wave of blooms take centre stage, such as daisies, irises, and lillies. Hatchlings have broken free from their shells and are looking less and less like little aliens and more like their parents, wings coming in slowly.
Yes indeed, Summer Solstice is upon us in the northern hemisphere. Before the humidity and serious heat hit, we are graced with temperatures hovering around the 25℃ (75℉). Daisies sway in the lovely breeze, bees are buzzing, roses are blooming and strawberries are starting to pop up to join with the rhubarb – cakes, pies, cordials? The sounds and scents of summer fill the air. And when the rains come? They can be gentle or fierce, accompanied by thunder and lightening. Oh! To have a covered porch again so that I can feel I am one with the elements!
To Summer Solstice
Coming to life with aplomb
Soak it all in now
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:
- 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.
- 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
Frank J. Tassone hosted Haibun Monday for dVerse yesterday. He wants us to get seasonal in honour of winter. Those of us in the northern hemisphere might be just about done with the white stuff and cold but hey, it does have it’s beautiful moments. Should you want to try your hand, just click here and add your link. All jokes aside, I do love winter – not as cold as we’ve had, thank you very much!
There is something special about waking up to a fresh blanket of snow. Bleary-eyed, you crawl out of bed, not really ready to face the day (or maybe you are). You open your blinds and catch your breath. While you were sleeping, nature was laying down a gift. All is covered in pristine white and the skies are as blue as they can only be in winter.
Now energized, you check the temps and dress appropriately to go out and get a better view. Away from the noisy streets, as you make your way, you feel the silence grow louder the further you go. The crunch under your feet is now muffled by the layer of fluff, your breath comes out in plumes and your jacket crinkles as you walk. While the sun is shining brightly, it is stingy with its heat. But you don’t really mind as you’ve dressed accordingly and while slight, you do feel the lightest of ray of kisses on your exposed cheeks.
Ah! If only all of winter were so! But alas. That is the part of the gift of having four seasons. We must enjoy the best of them while we can.
Blanket of white snow
Blue skies and crisp air delight
I’m ready for spring
On Monday, Lisa hosted a dVerse Haibun with the theme “Celebration”. Like most people, Christmas and New Year’s were not the celebrations we were hoping to have. for this prompt, I kept it to Christmas mainly because New Year’s was a whole lotta nuthin’.
Christmas Brunch – no cutting corners
A full plate (yes, I like to mix my peas and potatoes)
What’s left! Hardly shows we ate anything!
The plans were set in motion. This year, we were going to retake Christmas, government be damned. It had been cancelled last year, thanks to measures to combat COVID. Not this year! Christmas Eve at Tracy’s (all dressed up) with game gift exchanges, a potluck feast and scratching of Chinese gambling cards. This would be followed, the next morning, with brunch at my house where we all squeeze in (still pyjama-clad) my kitchen and living room while Iain makes the omelets and the rest of the breakfast goodies. Don’t forget the “mimosies” as Mick used to call mimosas. After naps, we make our way to Lisa’s (casual) for our turkey dinner that ends with a Texas Hold ‘Em poker game. We were so excited.
Then December 23rd happened. COVID hit and we had to cancel. A scramble to buy a turkey, hope it thawed out in time. Iain made us three our brunch and, later that day, while the delicious scent of Christmas permeated the house, Iain went to get my mom and we shared a perfectly roasted (if I say so myself) thirteen-pound bird with mashed potatoes, canned peas (don’t ask, traditions are what they are) and homemade gravy. I even found jars of my cranberry sauce and pickled beets, preserved previously. All was not lost.
Parties are cancelled
Celebrations now subdued
Love remains present
On Monday, Frank J. Tassone hosted dVerse’s Haibun Monday. He said: “Let’s feel the spooky sensation of this coming Halloween/Samhain! Let’s celebrate that emotion of dread. Let’s write our haibun that states or references fear.”
Looking for a particular photo and some inspiration I went through my pictures. I found a couple (though not the one I really wanted) and settled on this one. Shall we?
Nicole was practically skipping as she made her way home, still feeling warm and fuzzy from the lovely evening she had had with her besties. Getting together for dinner and a movie was always so much fun. In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, they had gone to see Halloween #27. (Seriously? When were they going to give it up already?) She giggled as she thought of how ludicrous the whole thing was until she noticed how dark and quiet the woods seemed suddenly. Where was the birdsong? The buzzing of insects? She tripped over the roots of a tree, just managing to stay upright. The willies crept in and she imagined the tree branches reaching towards her to grab her. She stumbled forward, fear overtaking her reasoning as she hurried to get out of the now-scary woods and out into the clearing. What the hell was wrong with her anyway?
Fear courses through veins
Causing heart palpitations
None of it is real
Monday was Haibun Monday over at dVerse. This morning I was feeling the joys of August. This afternoon’s sun was intense. This evening, the crickets are louder than ever. As far as summer months go, this one is pretty much my favourite. So, why not write a little ode to it?
The sun is still up before I am, for now, just not quite as high as it was one month ago. This morning’s run is in slightly cooler temps. The light feels softer, the sun’s rays longer. As the sun rises, so do the heat and humidity, reminding me of those dog days of summer that I cherish, knowing that it’s a question of time before autumn comes in and paints the trees in golds, oranges and reds and when the “fond de l’air” gets chilled. But for now, August reigns supreme.
The butterflies and bees flitter and buzz about with wild abandon and the bunnies keep me company, sometimes hopping alongside me, most times doing an about-face and leaving me with a vision of a white little puff ball bouncing away.
The darkness comes earlier and the crickets seem to be holding a cacophonous sing off. Which choir is pitch perfect?
August is a rush
Everything is more intense
Last blast of summer
Two days later than I wanted to post. Sigh. Life. It does love to throw curveballs at you, doesn’t it? This one was a doozie and took me two days to recuperate from! Still… Please pretend we are May 25th – the day I wanted to post it, even if the dVerse prompt came on Monday, the 24th. Frank J. Tassone was the host and the subject was: write a haibun about the Flower Moon – said moon was officially yesterday and somehow, I missed it. Or rather was so sure it was the 25th that I didn’t even think of checking last night. This moon pic was taken on the 25th, however 🙂
You aren’t due till the summer solstice, possibly near a Strawberry Moon? Probably not. You are supposed to arrive when roses and and peonies and poppies are in full bloom. When the tulips and daffodils have already done their thing.
Instead, you decide the Flower Moon is more your style. You want late spring blooms: lilacs and rhododendrons, daisies and violets.
Maybe you know your time here will be brief so you want to get a chance to fully experience everything nature has to offer. Who knows? All I know is this: When the day is breezy and I open my bedroom window, the scent of the wild lilac bush right below my window comes up and wafts through my room, reminding me of you. And to think this year was to be your lucky year! Twenty-five years old on the twenty-fifth of May.
A Flower Moon child
In a rush, to see it all
Gone before you could
It is Haibun Monday at dVerse and this week it is hosted by Frank J. Tassone. It just so happens that I had plans to write about being present in the moment today. And lo! It is this week’s subject. How could I not tag along?
Not later than yesterday, I had an exchange with a fellow-blogger and friend. He loves to take his morning walks accompanied by various podcasts or audio books. This is great for him because he loves to multi-task and is an avid reader with only so much time in the day. It is great for me because he gives such wonderful book suggestions and has not steered me wrong yet, so I shan’t ask him to stop! He suggests I should try to listen to podcasts, as well. I beg to differ, my friend. There is so much noise in our everyday lives that when I can walk in nature, I want nothing else but to be present in the moment, to fully absorb the sights and sounds she provides. From the flowering trees to the buzzing bees, to the wind rifling through the leaves to the wonderful variation of bird calls. Why ever would I want to tune them out?
trills and chirps, a caw or two
silenced by earbuds
Yesterday’s raucous symphony can be heard here, my friend 🙂 Something tells me your earbuds would have been insufficient.
dVerse spoke to me today! Kim from Writing in Norfolk is hosting and today’s theme is: Haibun Monday: Being But Human – what is it she is asking? This: to write 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. Aim to write no more than three tight paragraphs, followed by a traditional haiku that includes reference to a season. Hmmm. Here goes:
As I walk along in an autumn woods with no sounds save the crunch of dried leaves beneath my feet, the wind rustling the leaves above me and maybe the occasional trill of a bird I find my heart slowing, my breath deepening, my muscles relaxing and my mind freeing itself from whatever worries I might have. As this happens, I become more aware of my surroundings: I marvel at the velvety, almost neon green moss growing on fallen trees. I delight in the different kinds of fungi growing here and there: white, bright yellow, striped greys, polka-dotted red. I watch and smile at the antics of squirrels and chipmunks darting here and there, looking for nuts they will hide away for the winter. The sky is a shade of blue not seen the rest of the year, which makes the yellows and reds and oranges pop all the more. I am blessed to live through this season every year.
Fall into crispy ground
Joy is found in death
Swimming in the lake
Bathtime with Daddy
I can sit by myself!
Tracy & Sébastien’s Wedding
He was a surprise, and arrived too soon, and with many challenges. His heart was broken, but they believed it could be fixed, later. In his seven-month, twenty three-day lifespan, I discovered a strength I did not know I had. I discovered I was capable of dealing with a sick child and giving him so much love and the best life I could for the five-and-a-half months we had him at home. He saw his aunt barrel race, he kicked his feet in his grandmother’s lake and in our pool. He was adored by all. I refused to keep him in a bubble, knowing, I know not how, he would not be with us for a long time. No medals, no ribbons, no accolades can ever match the self-respect and pride I feel for handling Austin’s birth, life and death with the grace I did.
Flowers bloom with joy
Nurtured by the sun until…
Silenced by winter
It’s all Merril‘s fault again. I wasn’t going to participate in yesterday’s dVerse challenge because I thought it would be too hard. Then I read Merril’s and decided to go for it. Lillian is the host and she asked us to write about one shining moment in a Haibun WITH a KIGO AND a SAIJIKI – what the hell are these things?