July 31, 2011
Hostas swirl to mind
decorating shade with shades
of unabashed green.
Even when the sun bakes many things to a golden brown in the heat of summer, luscious green still finds its place to thrive. The torrid weather sends us to the shade and there the various hostas delight us with their variety of green. Currently we have five varieties (some bought, some received as gifts) in our garden and most have managed to stay green through the drought.
July 30, 2011
A sliver of moon
pricks, drips silver in my soul.
New molten skin glows.
I can wear armor. I can protect myself so the world does not touch me, attempt to avoid experiences of pain. I can protect myself like an ancient Keep. Keep things as they are. Keep trouble at bay. Keep my mind busy with the trivial. Keep myself safe from the unpredictable.
I have seen the ruins of ancient keeps.
I can let life in. I can open myself to the world so I may be touched and experience the pain and solace it offers. I can expose myself to the inevitable Letting Go. Let go of the way things are. Let go of troubles. Let go of the unimportant. Let go of myself to embrace the unknown.
I have a choice.
Month-ring: Today’s haiku speaks across the month-ring to the haiku from July 15 (“Moonlight”), connecting the full silver moon of the lunar cycle to the slim silver crescent moon depicted here. The moon, like us, changes and the changes are cyclical.
Classic parabolic or pedimental year-ring: Today’s haiku also speaks to the haiku across the annual parabola of the year to June 1 (“Birthday”) which celebrates the re-birth of the spectacular ordinary. Today’s haiku explains how that re-birth can occur: opening oneself up to a world that is always there for us to appreciate. It is this expanded awareness that will bring about this re-birth in a world where nothing is new.
Year-ring: Finally, today’s haiku speaks all the way across the annual ring to January 30 (“Icicles”), two haiku each pertaining to finding balance with two opposing forces. Today’s haiku describes the beauty of the shifting balance between light and dark (the sun and moon) which brings about the waxing or waning lunar cycle. January 30 imitates its counterpart by describing the balance between heat and cold which brings about the growth or shrinkage of the icicles hanging from our wintertime roof.
July 29, 2011
We have suns galore
in our garden galaxy.
No hand shields my eyes.
Each haiku is part of three separate orbits in the ring composition:
Month-ring: Today’s haiku speaks across the month-ring to the haiku from July 14 (“Colors”), making a connection – as with the year-ring – to its counterpart through the sun. In today’s haiku the sun provides the energy necessary for all plants to thrive and the light necessary for us to see life’s beauty; in the earlier haiku the sun’s heat burns the lawn. Life and death are intertwined in this month-ring like the yin-yang symbol. The key, which we must not shield our eyes from seeing, is to remain in balance.
Classic parabolic or pedimental year-ring: Today’s haiku also speaks to the haiku across the annual parabola of the year to June 2 (“Souvenirs”). Here again the connection is with life and death. Each life has its own span. Some flowers bloom, like these radiant yellow tickseed, while others fade, like the allium skeletons from June 2. It would be unfortunate if they all bloomed at once – though the garden would be amazing for a few weeks. Bees could be gluttons for a month but then die of starvation. The key, which we must not shield our eyes from seeing, again is balance.
Year-ring: Finally, today’s haiku speaks all the way across the annual ring to January 29 (“Distance”) which stresses the distance and ineffectiveness of the Midwest’s winter sun. In summer in our garden – at our fingertips! – the tickseed blooms take the sun and give it back again confidently and gloriously.
July 28, 2011
showers douse the drowsing phlox:
Mercy in the dark.
No matter how mild the Midwestern summer, there always seems to be periods of drought when the grass burns in the fierce sun and flowers, though well-mulched, wilt in the heat. Here a very welcome nighttime shower has mercy on our drought-prone phlox.
Note: While the prevailing weather was merciful in 2011, it appears the more severe drought of this summer (2012) is going to bring an end to the phlox in our garden.
July 27, 2011
If you had one day,
would you dress this boldly, stretch
The day lily poses an interesting question.
1. How much would you change your life if you knew you had only twenty years to live? If you would make any changes, you should make them immediately. Why would you continue on an unsatifying path if something twenty years down the road could give you pause to make a change?
2. How much would you change your life if you knew you had only ten years to live? Sometimes I have seen a tiny seedling breaking through soil, or a sugar maple in glorious orange, or the sensual curve of white snow balancing on a bare oak branch, and I ask myself: How many more times will I be able to see such a stunning sight? How low does the countdown have to go to wake up to the astronomical wonders? How few years must remain to not take a summer bloom for granted?
3. How much would you change your life if you knew you had only five years to live? Most people have certain obligations, but even five years is a long time to stay at a job that eats at one’s soul or remain in an abusive relationship or bear a grudge or…
4. How much would you change your life if you knew you had only one year to live? There is no longer time left to do everything, not enough life left for long-term plans. So what would you do? What is important to you that wasn’t important to you before?
6. How much would you change your life if you knew you had only one day to live? And now you are the day lily and the sun will rise for you and set for you but once. How would you experience the one day you have? How much would you grow? How much wisdom would you dispense?
With each of these questions, one must ask oneself: Why would I make the changes? Because it would make my life better? Because it would improve the life of those around me? Because I would find more joy? Why wouldn’t I make the changes even if I didn’t know how long I had to live? Why wouldn’t I fully live my life just because I don’t know when I will die? Why am I wasting days that I don’t have to waste?
July 26, 2011
Barefooted, I crunch
on the brown, scratchy-crisp grass.
A goldfinch glides by.
This haiku is about taking different paths. Here again I will backtrack to show the three paths of the ring composition:
Month-ring: Today’s haiku speaks across the month ring to the haiku from July 11 (“Yellow Swallowtail”) which describes an alternative path a butterfly has taken matching, though in a less smooth but more playful manner, the goldfinch described today. All winged beings are symbolic of the attempt to attain higher spiritual realms, so the swallowtail with its wandering, almost-faltering path portrays the stumblings and fumblings of the spiritualization process when nothing goes as smoothly as planned.
Classic parabolic or pedimental year-ring: Today’s haiku also speaks to the haiku across the annual parabola of the year to June 5 (“Barefoot”) when the ground was soft, when the grass was cool and green, when the path was easy, and bare feet provided the best experience. Now that the sensual experience is quite different, the goldfinch might have the better idea.
Year-ring: Finally, today’s haiku speaks all the way across the annual ring to January 26 (“Surprise”). In this haiku walking remains the modus operandi but the texture as well as the temperature once again changes and the feet, of course, are now shod. The bird – in this case a cardinal (also from the finch family) – is surprised into flight and I am surprised into wonder. And that is the first step.
July 25, 2011
How is one to judge
the subtle worth of wonder?
A mourning dove’s wing.
Awe stuns and yet starts. It is the beginning of the end of lethargy. The state of awe starts as a transfixion – a momentary peek into eternity during which time temporarily abdicates its throne. That moment changes everything; it gives a start that never stops.
Again I will show how the haiku are connected to each other in ring composition for this year of haiku:
Month-ring: Today’s haiku speaks across the month to the haiku from July 10 (“Wonder”) and it is wonder that is the connecting thread between all the haiku today. While the July 10 haiku is weak in its abstractness, today’s haiku points more concretely to the real worth of wonder: that if we are aware, wonder is here in every moment in the everyday. Its subtlety allows us to carry on with more practical, mundane aspects of our life when we need to, but the wonder is still here to light the way on our more enriching journey. Life is much more than just the practical.
Classic parabolic or pedimental year-ring: Today’s haiku also speaks to the haiku across the annual parabola of the year to June 6 (“The Doves”). As mentioned before, two doves with our intertwined initials on their wing are the symbol of our marriage, and here the dove’s wing – a thing of wonder in itself if we take the time to notice – makes a reference to our marriage and the life of wonder we have found together.
Year-ring: Finally, today’s haiku speaks all the way across the annual ring to January 25 (“Living Room”). We have the choice to make our “living room” in a protective environment, away from the winter’s frigid cold or the summer’s oppressive heat, sheltered from the ache of joy or sting of disappointment. But would that make us a little less alive? Would that keep us from the subtle wonders of our world?
July 24, 2011
A light breeze moves through;
now lavender gently sends
its soft purple word.
Let us again see how the haiku in this ring composition speak to each other:
Month-ring: Today’s haiku speaks across the month-ring to the haiku from July 9 (“Fences”) which proposes fences as a metaphor for words. Here word is used as a metaphor for sensual communication between Nature and us. So here is perhaps an example of how words - if seen as metaphors – can help get over that fence which is themselves.
Classic parabolic or pedimental year-ring: Today’s haiku also speaks to the haiku across the annual parabola of the year to June 7 (“Strawberry Sutra”). The earlier haiku brings us to the edge of our existence to offer us life, one sensual moment; this haiku – something slow and easy and very summer - is the experience of one moment of that life.
Year-ring: Finally, today’s haiku speaks all the way across the annual ring to January 24 (“Message”) which offers us – in a different medium – an expression of life. Our experience of life is necessarily sensual and Nature communicates to us in the different languages of the various senses. That “word” can be a scent as in today’s haiku. Or it could be black sunflower shells on snow as easily as black ink on white paper.
July 23, 2011
We may don a form
- a feather, face, or flower -
but for an eye-blink.
We appreciate forms, we tend them with care. We make split-second judgments based on forms: categorize, label and dismiss all according to form. Yet the forms with which we are so concerned do not last. Compare the form of human life in general to the form of the Earth which we inhabit. Simplifying, if the existence of Earth was one 24-hour, human life has existed on the planet for less than 10 seconds. Simplifying again, if an individual human lives to the ripe old age of 100 years, his or her beautiful form in the grand scheme of things is statistically negligible. Yet we remain concerned.
All forms find themselves in circles:
Month-ring: Today’s haiku speaks across the month ring to the haiku from July 8 (“Hummingbird”) where the form of choice is feather.
Classic parabolic or pedimental year-ring: Today’s haiku also speaks to the haiku across the annual parabola of the year to June 8 (“Blue Halos”) where the form of choice is flower.
Year-ring: Finally, today’s haiku speaks all the way across the annual ring to January 23 (“Epiphany”) whose haiku asks questions about the beginning of the world when all form was originally created while this one encapsulates the circle of taking on form and, perhaps too shortly thereafter, relinquishing it again.
July 22, 2011
bloom bloats, purples, and – poof -
reveals its within.
This is how it appears to the outsider, but the true process is mostly unseen. It is not quick like you might like it to be. It is not easy like you might hope it would be. But it is possible.