December 31, 2011
This is now the end
of unfinished beginnings.
Exit the entrance.
“For where the beginning is, the end will be.”
- The Gospel of Thomas
Everyone has a here and now. That is all a person can live. Wherever you are, whenever you are, people need your smile.
This completes my year in circles. This haiku is the latch that not only closes the month-circle connecting back to December 1 (“Who Are We?”) but also the year-circle connecting us back to January 1 (“Beginnings”).
This is not the end; in a circle, there are no ends. Let’s strap on our boots; there is more Word to be spoken.
December 30, 2011
Let us lift the latch,
let ourselves in through the gate.
We have found our way.
We now stand at the gate. We have almost made it back to where we began. Thank you all who chose to walk a little while with me.
Three rings of ring composition are closing here at once: December’s month-ring as well as the two great rings of the year. Tomorrow is the latch.
Month-ring: Today’s haiku speaks across the month-ring to the haiku from December 15 (“Dear Trails”). There are footprints all around the world, made by us, made by others who have gone before. Some we can see; some we cannot. The important thing is to make sure the footprints we create are our own. We can do that by being resolute; we can do that well by being open-minded and inquisitive as well as resolute. While it is good metaphorically to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, it is imperative literally to walk in one’s own.
Classic parabolic or pedimental year-ring: Today’s haiku speaks across the parabola of the year to the haiku from January 2 (“Intentions”) which shows our opening of the gate to which we now return. The concern at the time was trespassing, both spatially and temporally. However, it is only when we trespass that we grow. To grow into ourselves, we must go beyond the limits of what we currently consider ourselves. To become more ourselves, we must explore beyond the boundaries of what we call ourselves.
Year-ring: Finally, today’s haiku speaks across the year-ring to the haiku from June 30 (“Ringslangen”). And so we return to where we began, circling round like the nature of which we are a part. The journey has changed us, we have sloughed some old skin, but hopefully become a bit more ourselves. Though like the green garter snake I will soon “return to hiding”, remember being “hidden” from one point of view means being conspicuous from another.
Decmeber 29, 2011
When the journey’s done,
may the joy coming home match
the joy setting forth.
Ring composition requires balance and today’s haiku is a wish for balance as we weigh our gains which may be losses against our losses which may be gains.
Month-ring: Today’s haiku speaks across the month-ring to the haiku from December 14 (“Paths”). Both refer to journeys: one more subtle, perhaps hidden, and close to home; the other, today’s, speaks of a grander adventure but in some ways also close to home.
Classic parabolic or pedimental year-ring: Today’s haiku speaks across the parabola of the year to the haiku from January 3 (“Walkabout”) which talks about a starting point (Do circles have beginnings?) and here I am (though not the same) at my return. Experience changes us. Stepping outward is digging inward and a worn sole – if we walk aware – is a sure sign of a mined soul.
Year-ring: Finally, today’s haiku speaks across the year-ring to the haiku from June 29 (“The Here and Now”) which describes an awareness one can learn to have when on one’s own journey. It is this awareness that makes possible the joy both coming and going. One need not worry about the destination; keep one’s eyes on the here and now.
December 28, 2011
A brown, tattered leaf,
clinging yet to its oak branch,
must be forgotten.
Once we have learned from a moment, once it has gathered all the sun that it can and helped us to grow, it is best we give it thanks and leave it behind. If we cling to these moments, they will haunt us, they will block our path, they will stunt our growth. Let go and keep the circle turning.
Following the ring composition of this year in haiku, today’s haiku speak to the following three:
Month-ring: Today’s haiku reiterates the theme of the haiku from December 13 (“The Gift of Forgetting”) positioned across the month-ring which also talks about letting go and forgetting. The leaves leaving and old dead branches letting go create new space and allow new growth to happen come spring. If a tree does not grow, it will die. I think the same is true for all life.
Classic parabolic or pedimental year-ring: Today’s haiku also speaks to the haiku across the parabola of the year from January 4 (“Tennis, Anyone?”) which describes what happens when the leaves have departed from the trees: our vision improves. We can then see spaces that had been hidden.
Year-ring: Finally, today’s haiku speaks across the large year-ring to the haiku from June 28 (“Nothing is New”) which insists that nothing is new, that “all comes from form come and gone.” What appears to be new space after the leaves have fallen, when we no longer cling to the past, has always been there. When our vision improves, the world seems new, but the opportunity for growth has always been there. Nothing new: it still is.
December 27, 2011
Let your new vision
Live life at the bone.
In his “Conclusion” to Walden, Henry David Thoreau writes, “It is life near the bone that is sweetest.” It is this quote which gave me the last line of this haiku. Thoreau was surely talking about a simplified lifestyle without the superfluities. While that advice is rarely voluntarily taken in our society these days, its wisdom remains valid.
But there may well be additional meanings to the phrase that is revealed by the haiku associated with today’s haiku in the ring composition. This haiku speaks across the year-ring to the haiku from June 27 (“Stillpoint”) which tells us that it is not at the edges but at the flower’s heart where the stillpoint exists from which everything else emanates. Movement is at the edges of the wheel; stillness at its center. Therefore we must penetrate past appearances to the bone.
This haiku also speaks across the parabola of the year to the haiku from January 5 (“Judgment”) which expresses the difficulty of making judgments when looking at the surface of things. Until we arrive ”at the bone”, at the center, at the stillpoint of existence, it is best not to judge, for our view would be necessarily from the periphery and by definition limited. And I think - though of course not speaking from experience – that when we arrive at the center, we will see things in such a way, and with such an understanding, that one will laugh to think one ever thought of judging.
December 26, 2011
a host of blue snow angels
play now among clouds.
This haiku is play inspired by Luke 2:13-14 and this photo:
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
December 25, 2011
Secret snow imparts
itself to the wordless night:
white in the darkness.
Martin Buber in his Ten Rings: Hasidic Sayings wrote:
“This is the service man must perform all of his days:
to shape matter into form, to refine the flesh,
and to let the light penetrate the darkness,
until the darkness itself shines and there is no longer
any division between the two.”
This quote touches on all the corresponding haiku in the ring composition structure. To explain:
Month-ring: Today’s haiku speaks across the month-ring to the haiku from December 10 (“The Perfected Moon”) which also plays with light and darkness. And here as we are completing our year in circles, like the full moon completes its circle every month, we may come to a better understanding of them both. To be complete, we may not reject the darkness; if we do, we will be merely half of what we should be. Half-baked. Half-witted. Half-hearted.
Classic parabolic or pedimental year-ring: Today’s haiku also speaks across the parabola of the year to the haiku from January 7 (“Inclusion”) which talks about accepting both paired opposites and not only creating wholeness but creating beauty in the process.
Year-ring: Finally this haiku speaks across the year-ring to the haiku from June 25 (“Giving-Receiving”) which talks about the Earth’s example of giving forgetfully and receiving gracefully. It is through this interchange, through these acts of love that we can learn to do what Martin Buber suggests so that “there is no longer division between the two.” Can we learn from the Earth?
December 24, 2011
Is the earth idle
or preparing in silence
to be born again?
We love the color, the flash of spring. We are fascinated by the miracle of birth: a bulb germinates, a tuber sprouts, a bud issues forth from a branch. We thrill at the hopeful, beautiful sight.
The earth now is quiet but not inactive. The trees are bare but drafting plans for future form. Admittedly birth is a beautiful thing, but preparation holds a kind of beauty too.
December 23, 2011
The calm, empty space
of winter opens itself
and all are welcome.
It is autumn and winter that creates new space. And it is space, in all its forms, that is needed.
The ink on the page or your choice of font on the screen exist to define different spaces that then can be filled with meaning. If there is no space in letter, if the space is squeezed out of them, so would all meaning. It is the space we need.
Think of any sport – football, basketball, soccer, hockey, baseball, or any other sport you choose - they are all about creating space and the teams that are the best at it win most of the time. If there was no space between players, nothing could be accomplished. Speed in most sports is important, but it is important because it helps to create space. Even our yoga instructor insists that we think about “creating space in the body.”
Today’s haiku speaks across the year-ring to the haiku from June 23 (“Recreation”) in which I address this same theme. But now in winter the spaces are on a grander scale and the possibilities of re-creating seem almost limitless.
December 22, 2011
up and down round into one -
a wreath for the door.
Most of us think linearly, live linearly, set up a goal ahead of ourselves and start here and end there.
But the wreaths on our doors speak of something different; they attest to our faith in the circular, the eternal, the turn and return. There is no starting block; there is no finish line. We needn’t make a mad dash for some arbitrary endpoint. We can jump in, as in all epics, in medias res (into the midst of things) and partake in the great and wonderful, strange and marvelous adventure we call life. It is never too early; it is never too late. You needn’t hurry; you mustn’t wait. Just jump in.