December 12, 2011
Along its edges
the pond heals its winter skin
over summer wounds.
I like the thought of winter as a time of healing, so the imagery used in this haiku is very satisfying to me, even though most people, sometimes myself included, look on the cold and ice as at least inconvenient or uncomfortable.
Before refrigeration in the town where I grew up, ice production was a real winter industry with workers cutting ice blocks from the town’s frozen lake’s surface, peeling off a pond’s epidermis a cube at a time. Even a railway line, now long-gone and long-forgotten by most, led from the present-day railway station right up to the lake to transport the newly-mined ice to ice houses elsewhere, hoping most of it would stay frozen long enough for warm weather when demand for something cool would increase.
October 18, 2011
A leaf lands on lake;
it gently cracks the smooth sky.
Circles seek the shore.
When I took this photo, it did not match my vision. First of all, the impact this skinny leaf had on the lake was negligible. Any subsequent ripples emanating therefrom were too subtle for my untrained eye. Secondly, the angle of my camera to the water limited reflection and thus one sees the lake’s murky depths rather than a disrupted image of the mirrored sky. The photo is most certainly not a worthy recreation of the haiku.
However, upon reflection from a different angle, sometimes unintended results exceed one’s intentions. I have not fully decided if that is the case here, but this rather imperfect leaf – with all its flaws - floating on water seems strangely suspended in space, and the water - albeit murky – creates an eerie or mysterious effect.
Suddenly I realize the camera has played a trick and instead of photographing my vision has photographed myself. Here I am, inexplicably suspended in space, my faults clearly in view, while below the surface my unconscious remains a mystery. Any hopes for having a significant, lasting impact on the shores are dashed. But the subtle ripples, fading circles, though perhaps undetectable to an untrained eye, nonetheless leave their impression.
March 29, 2011
Smooth mirror-like lake,
your eye reflects a rough world
yet does not move you.
To be this lake – all-accepting, unruffled – that is all I ask. A simple request: to see the world exactly as it is, to let the world see itself exactly as it is through me. To not ignore the blemishes or paint them over, but to be honest and yet unmoved by the terrible loveliness of the world.
To be this lake: that is all I ask.