Dawn breathes an invitation and Rumi’s words taunt me: Do not go back to sleep. I am loathe to greet the day – not that I despise its arrival, rather that waking has become laborious since the onset of chronic illness. Daughter of a military man, I am conditioned to rise before the sun, have a lifetime of such anecdotes to my credit, however; while the brain is still willing, the body groans, and aches wail with renewed emphasis as the numbing cocoon of sleep loosens. Hours dwindle from the first inkling of consciousness until muscles comply with movement, and I am lucky if I’m actually able to utter “Good Morning.”
Rays, like razors, slice,
invade sleep’s cocoon – absent
(Good Afternoon first appeared here Sept 2018. Edited for this edition. The poetry form is haibun. I am pleased to report that waking has become easier, and most days I am able to greet the morning.)
Odd, this gift of solitude. Perched canal side, I affirm my connection to the earth, and offer thanks. Late afternoon sun casts a glow on the foliage across the way, lighting up the mirror-still water. Vibrant reflections.
Two winters ago, I fought to breathe as temperatures fell below zero. Impassible walkways trapped me indoors. Depression fought for possession. Hope struggles in imposed isolation.
“There are no absolutes in life,” a professor once told me, and I think of that now –
how just when it feels as if one sentence has been handed down, sealed, an opening appears. I am fortunate, savour the moment.
Heron’s watchful stride
invites reflection, respect –
(Rapture first appeared here February 2019. I offer an edited version here.
Winds picked up yesterday, gathering grey. Cold seeped in through the windowsills, and we set the furnace on high. Forecast for today is just above zero, even though we are in a tropical zone. Oh well, I decide, a nice spicy soup will warm our innards.
Seems my body mirrors the weather: health declining, forcing me to bedrest frequently. Have slept most the morning. In between, I check emails, the blog, and we speculate about what will happen next with Mother Nature. Soon, it will be time to venture home – a both welcome and sorrowful thought.
Confused winds blow cold,
winter reversing itself –
piquant soup simmers.
(It’s haibun night at the dVerse pub, hosted by Merril who challenges us to write about March Madness. I am also linking up to Ragtag Community’s prompt: speculate and Fandango’s: health.)
It’s odd, this gift of solitude. Perched beside the canal that runs behind our site, I affirm my connection to the earth, give thanks for this place and moment, and acknowledge that I am a part of all that surrounds me. The late afternoon sun casts a glow on the foliage across the way lighting up the mirror-still water with vibrant reflections.
Two winters ago, I was fighting to breathe as temperatures dropped below zero. Trapped inside my home by impassible walkways, I was desperately trying to stave off depression. It’s hard to be hopeful when isolation is imposed.
“There are no absolutes in life,” a professor once told me, and I think of that now – how just when we think our sentence has been handed down and sealed, an opening appears. I have been most fortunate. I savour each moment this current state of solitude offers.
Heron’s watchful stride
invites reflection, respect –
(Kim is hosting in the dVerse pub tonight with solitude being the prompt for our haibun.)
As Mother counts her last days, and I open my heart to forgiveness, a daughter calls, reaming me out for wrong-doings – January is not cold enough to freeze tempers – family coals burn and shatter, and all we can pray for is metamorphosis. Soon, I will return to warmer temperatures, attempting to elude this frigid climate, save the scorching for the sun.
Hearts have seasons too –
I lumber through chilled air,
crave a touch of warmth.
(A haibun for dVerse, hosted by Kim tonight. I am also submitting this for Ragtag Community’s lumber, Fandango’s metamorphosis, and Manic Mondays 3 Way Prompt, shattered.)
I alternate between vigorous activity and coma-like crash. It’s the nature of this disease. No middle ground, it seems. Or maybe that’s just the nature of this personality.
We celebrated Christmas early this year. A Saturday afternoon gathering, and I cooked. First time in four years. I felt a certain sense of pride till the last guests left and I turned to face the aftermath. Now, just two days later, I am packing up the household and preparing for a four-month excursion. I think I’ve defined a new breed of crazy: waiting for a spurt of energy and then frenetically doing until I hit the next wall.
Winter pelts windows,
stirs frenzied need to escape –
waiting for recharge.
(Imelda is hosting in the dVerse pub tonight with the prompt: waiting. Coincidentally, waiting is also the prompt for Manic Monday’s 3 way challenge. I have also received inspiration from Ragtag Community: vigorous, and Fandango: coma. Tomorrow is load up day and then we hit the road, so not sure how often I’ll be around until we get settled somewhere.)
A familial gathering – rock balanced upon rock – stands at the Rideau’s edge, one amongst several such groupings, each a masterpiece unto itself, and yet one small, insignificant creation begs attention: a small duck-like figure, turned away from the rest, facing north rather than south, as if it hears a different call. Even its companion, hesitant, looks back towards the family, for reassurance. Body of fossil, head carved by erosion – he ponders other horizons. Even the artist – albeit working with spartan tools – could not bend the will of this little being, could not mold him into conformity. He is childlike innocence and brash determination, and I imagine that as the sun goes down and the tourists disappear, he glides through the water, travels against the current and revels in the freedom.
At the river’s edge
figures rise, stoic families
(Written for dVerse pub, and for Ragtag Communities prompt: spartan. The balanced rock sculptures are the work of John Felice Ceprano and can be found at the Remic Rapids in Ottawa, Ontario.)
Clouds cluster, warn of coming storms. Having been shut in for days, I am anxious to get outside. Trusty camera carefully secured around my neck, hands firm on walker’s grip, I begin my slow stroll through the neighbourhood. A gust of wind disrupts the flight of a bumblebee, and we collide: he striking my cheek. I step back, startled. No damage done.
I follow a walkway, built between the houses, leading to our community center. This route takes me past rows of flourishing gardens – a feast of vibrancy. I slow to watch the bees delightedly dancing from bloom to bloom. At the edge of my friend’s house, I hear the crickets, loud and raucous, as if they know that she is currently away. I pause to listen, surprised to hear such unabashed chirping mid-day.
Lingering, I hope to catch a glimpse of one, maybe even a photograph, but the creatures are securely tucked in the shadows of the overgrown foliage, oblivious to my presence. I capture the flight of a bee, and the elegant profile of a mourning dove, and then turn back. A white winged moth brushes my hand in passing and then stops long enough for me to take a picture. The crickets keep on singing.
Midday crickets sing –
revel in nature’s bounty,
as storm clouds gather.
(Written for dVerse, hosted tonight by Victoria.)
“Why do we have to learn about something that doesn’t effect us?” the small, blonde student asked me. “I mean, it was ages ago, and not even in our country.”
She might as well have run me through the heart with a stake, the pain of her words struck me so deeply. I considered her: an average student, indulged, youngest child, modestly dressed, like many of her age. Disinterested.
Because without our awareness, and interference, history repeats itself, I wanted to say. Because nothing that happens in the world happens in isolation; we are not immune. Because ignorance makes victims of us all.
Instead, I sent the class home with an assignment: ask questions, call your grandparents, find someone who remembers, and be prepared to share what you have discovered.
History foretells –
casts eerie shadows over
(dVerse’s Haibun Monday is hosted by Frank J. Tassone, who challenges us to write a piece for Hiroshima Day.)
Is it the robins, whose morning song, so sharp and crisp awakens me in this enchanted place or the warble of Juncos, whose hooded black faces delight me as they forage between the dried, curled aftermath of a cold winter, now pushed aside by new life sprouting. The absence of rain drops on tin roof offer promise that the sun might appear today, the buds on the oak trees as anxious as I for the warmth. I raise the window shades to reveal the lush green of Douglas firs, the walls that divide us from our neighbours, nomads like us in this quest to commune with a simpler way of life. We are metal boxes tucked within green pockets, quiet souls hushed by the grandeur of the forest we currently call home, reticent to disturb the wildlife that also grazes here – squirrel, fox, and rumours of cougars. Occasionally bear. We are skirted on one side by marsh, a lush welcoming for geese and goldeneyes, and on the other by ocean, where seagulls and terns claim driftwood as perches. It is the raven who is master of this land, their large black wings casting shadows, their thrumming call, sometimes belligerent, sometimes like a purr, a reminder that this is their land, that the totem poles that dot the island are a testament to their place, their royalty. Offshore, seals roam in masses encouraged by the schools of trout and halibut, and soon the salmon runs. Orcas gather in semi-circular formation, readying the hunt. Spring is a time of proliferation – abundance after the winter chill.
arise, old woman
nature evokes new rhythm –
spirit wants to dance.
(Day 12 of NaPoWriMo invites us to write a haibun.)