I remember sleeping out under the stars during a Girl Scout campout. It was an open area, few light pollutants and a cloudless night. I learned the North Star (Polaris), the dippers both Big and Little (Ursa Major and Minor), Cassiopeia, and as we lay on our sleeping bags looking up, a cross directly above us. The scout leader shone a flashlight into the direction she wanted us to look and we could follow her light to the next star or constellation.
Decades later I woke on my cot in the middle of the night. I was at the Upper Tanner on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. New moon. Deep sand. It was so hot, I lay naked on my sleeping bag. I couldn’t sleep, watched the Milky Way, and saw Pleiades rising.
under this one sky
a circle magnificent
above or below
dVerse prompt to write a haibun of an experience in the natural world that influenced your life. Going through the Grand Canyon on a rafting trip grounded my life to the power of nature (God).
Beach hikes are the best because there is no elevation. I can walk for miles, barefooted, sand between my toes and shells strewn along the way. Waves repeating melody cancels the cares of the world, healing power of sound and saltwater.
Except in some beaches of Portugal where the hike to the small beach among rugged cliffs is near impossible. A road leads down, the surf pounds and beware of being pulled under.
In Crete the road winds along sharp curves, narrow, sometimes one lane, for miles going down until finally, there is an expanse of beach, pink sand and clear water.
I packed my bags before the way out was too distant. The longer I stayed the greater the possibility of maybe this time, maybe tomorrow, I would walk out the door. This time would be different; a perfect opportunity, a break through in a time of near disparition.
It had been five months since I had traveled. Was flying safe? Was driving safe? Would I accidentally walk into someone else’s sneeze? Touch a surface that hadn’t been Cloroxed? Where would I eat? How will I get water?
So many questions and now a hurricane was rolling through the gulf. Evacuating made it possible. Evacuating blew me out of the house, into the car and down the road. Evacuating meant I could leave everything behind in an instant, hoping I will return another time.
dVerse prompt on verbing. Evacuating— evacuate now— so many people evacuating from fire and hurricane. I was planning on leaving before the need to evacuate. Quote from Allison Adele Hedge Coke from “A Time”
It was the first death I could remember—-my father’s father, my grandfather. It came as a surprise, an aneurysm, as the family sped on the highway trying to get to the hospital. We were too late. I never saw the body.
How could I make sense of death at such a young age?
When we returned home, I picked the butterflies off of the grill of the car. These were dead, their soft bodies smashed, the wings intact. I took those colorful wings to the garden across the street. I sat under the overgrown asparagus in the corner of Laird’s garden and buried the butterflies one by one.
life is a flicker
mind what is more beautiful
pathway to the rest
dVerse prompt on how nature plays into our lives. This is a haibun about a death and how nature played a role in how I dealt with that death. I was six years old and loved butterflies.