I am drawn to the garden, to rake, shovel and hoe until dusk, on the longest daylight of the year. There is so much to do. The blue wheelbarrow is filled with mulch and rolls back and forth delivering its load. Weeds are pulled and branches pruned. The garden blooms in the solstice sun and I must strive to get a year’s work done until another one.
I am traveling through the Ozarks as I have a number of times, same highway, same destination. This time is different. The dogwood trees are in bloom, their flowers making thickets of white in a low canopy among tall oaks.
Where I am, surrounded by Ozark Mountains, the sun is setting and now the quiet water of the Lake of the Ozarks reflects the moon.
Destination takes us winding through hills and valley into the lake area. This is the time of camping, outdoor cooking, fish grilling, forget about what you wear while you smoke an old stoogie by the campfire (not me but the guy across the way).
Each day will see a new state— starting with Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Idaho, and finally Washington. Beautiful country this USA.
In Anchorage there were lots of ravens but I did not see eagles. An osprey flew over Gazzam Lake with talons holding a fish. It looked cartoonish, its nest perched high. In southeastern Texas, a bird of prey circled and settled in a towering pine. “What is that bird?” I asked. It’s an eagle they said. Pretty sure that’s an eagle.
I have seen bald eagles, juveniles, goldens. This was no eagle. This was a smaller bird, darker, sleek and slender. There are still those who thought they saw an eagle. It was a Mississippi kite. It came again the next day and waited awhile on a wire.
now at Autumn Lake
this flock of cedar waxwings
flying north to Spring
dVerse prompt to write a haibun concerning the eagle.
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).
Fantasia is Portuguese for costumes. When we put on a costume we enter a fantasy world. Before Halloween, I would bring out the sewing machine and make costumes for my children. One year they were unicorns, a shark and a penguin, Spider-Man, a green dragon (that won a best costume prize), a wizard and an alien. The dog wore a tutu.
Now my children are grownups. I find myself wanting to wear a costume, wanting to enter a fantasy. As soon as I finish writing, I will bring out the sewing machine and go make my fantasia.
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.
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.
Some birthdays are easy to remember like when the family got together and my favorite aunt bought a cake that set the bar for all cakes proceeding it. A January birthday meant I could wear the dress my gramma made for Christmas. Uncle Clifford snapped a Kodachrome memory.
On birthday number five, all my friends set at the extended dining room table. I remember the balloons. I remember blowing into a red balloon and it expanded out and away and I swear it grew nearly as long as the table.