Duck and Cover!

 

Photo: Google Images; Duck and Cover drills in the 50s

I grew up in the 50s and 60s and during the Cold War between Russia and the United States school children were taught the “duck and cover” method to save our lives in case of nuclear bombing during school hours. Huh?  I vividly remember these drills that would come randomly during the school year in addition to our fire drills.

When the alarm sounded we were instructed to quickly and quietly (always quietly) to get in a huddle down on our knees underneath our desks with our heads protectively covered by our arms. I’m sure I wasn’t aware specifically of the reason for these drills at my young age but the energy surrounding the drill left me fearful and shaken.  Sometimes the exercise had us lined up and following our teachers out to the parking lot where waiting volunteer parents lent their cars as getaway vehicles to whisk us away off campus.

Not only would these drills be useless in protecting anyone during a nuclear blast but they added fear to an already too fearful child. We also had the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 60s…I lived in very close proximity to Cuba, and the Vietnam War was on television during the evening news.  It’s no wonder that I was well acquainted with anxiety as a child.

fire whips hysteria
crackling, consuming calm
frightened doe huddles

Join us today at 3PM EST as Toni presents Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub.

Mystery of the Traveling Dad

There were a few occasions that I can remember vividly when my father went out of his way to let me know that he was thinking of me. He and I were alike in that we both loved to read. He was proud of my ability and that I enjoyed a good mystery like he did.

He was a traveling salesman for most of his working career. He loved to be on the road and chatting people up and I’m sure it was a relief for him to be away from home for a couple of days at a time and be on his own away from the duties of husband and father to six children.

Once, after being on the road for a few days, he returned home with a gift for me. He had brought me two Nancy Drew books. Nancy Drew was my idol and I had been reading the mystery series, written by Carolyn Keene (now whom I know is a pseudonym), for some time. I was thrilled at this gesture and have never forgotten the feeling of being singled out to receive this generous attention from him.

swallowtail kite swoops
golden rays light up the sky
moon glow calms the night

Join us at dVerse Poets Pub for Haibun Monday hosted by Lady Nyo, aka Jane Kahut-Bartels.

Miami Night; a Haibun

I was living in Miami during my ashram days in the early 70s. After having dinner out one evening my husband and I decided to take a walk down on the beach by Biscayne Bay.  The moon was out and it was a balmy, breezy night in summer.  We reached the beach and walked hand-in-hand along the shallow tide.  There didn’t appear to be any other people along that stretch of beach and it was especially nice to have it to ourselves.  We walked further along when we made out a large, dark shape about mid way between the dunes and the water’s edge.  As we drew closer we realized that it was an enormous sea turtle who was returning to the water after laying her eggs in the fine, white sand.  She lumbered along and soon met with the lapping waves that took her out to sea.  We watched as she disappeared.  I’ve never forgotten my first encounter with one of those amazing animals.

the depths harbor life
dunes provide incubators
sea oats sway greetings

Join us at dVerse Poets where Toni presents our latest Haibun Monday beginning at 3PM.

I Miss You

Royalty free image from Bing

Royalty free image from Bing

I miss you. I miss your colors, sights, smells and sounds, your breath and lively energy.  Even your grittiness, those dark places that were avoided, added depth and meaning to my stay there.  I was advised, don’t wear your fine jewelry on the subway, at least where it can be seen…you’re setting yourself up to be robbed.  Once, a desperate, gun-wielding madman invaded our restaurant on Mass Ave. and demanded money.  While everyone else froze, my husband was the only one with the presence of mind to follow his orders.  My friends told stories of being mugged in your dank, piss-smelling alleys but somehow you always held me safely among your teeming citizens, your seasons, your unrest or calm.

delicate petals
emerge from unlikely
source, contrast sings

Bjorn is our host for Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets.  The pub opens Monday at 3PM EST.    Read his presentation for all the details and join us.

Cattleya

Photo by Gayle Walters Rose; All Rights Reserved

Photo by Gayle Walters Rose; All Rights Reserved

I had been tending this orchid for over a year. It was in full bloom when I bought it but it hadn’t bloomed since.  It was hanging in the dappled shade of our small courtyard and I was fertilizing it regularly with an orchid food.  It was receiving the afternoon rains during this hot and humid summer and had been putting out strong, fresh green leaves.  As I puttered around my mostly, potted plants one day and glanced over at that dormant orchid, what I thought were new leaf pods had put forth large, double-twin fragrant blooms!  Joy!

fireflies spark the night
breeze lifts summer kimono
quiet hush echos

Grace is our host for Haibun Monday over at dVerse Poets Pub, 3PM EST.  Please see her presentation for all the details on this fun form!

Curses!

My car’s air conditioning had gone out. Yes, gone out in this miserable and all-encompassing heat.  But I had received it back from the mechanic and had been assured all was well after spending close to $1,000.00 on a new compressor and accumulator (whatever that is).  So as I took off to do my errands the next day I fully expected cold, refreshing, frigid air to be copiously blowing forth from my brand new air conditioner…but, no, it did not.  It was doing what it had done when I took it in…switching on and off, willy-nilly.  Right now it was blowing HOT!  Returning home, I called the mechanic and reported my sorrowful predicament as sweat slowly trickled down my neck.  It’s going back in next week…CURSES!

heat wave shimmers a
mirage—cool, undulating
ripples form a swell

* As a side note, my car went back to the mechanic last week where they replaced another part (only charged me for the part, no labor) and although the car cooled on the way home, it stopped again and has started going on and off again.  Argh!  Back it goes later this week.  The mechanic couldn’t believe it and wants to keep the car and drive it for a couple of days so he can see what it’s doing.  Really bad timing!

Toni is our host for Haibun Monday.  See her presentation at dVerse for all the details and join us for one of our most popular prompts.

Unwinding Along a Winding Road

Being taken on long, scenic, nature drives has always been a favorite way for me to relax. My mind instantly turns to what is outside the window and I’ve managed to catch many displays of wildlife. I’ve seen bald eagles soaring high overhead.  I’ve spotted osprey in their huge nests, tiny Kingfisher resting daintily on telephone wires, rabbits on the fringe of woods, Red-Shouldered Hawks perched on fence posts, wild turkeys gobbling on the side of roads and numerous alligators, some submerged with their long, nubby heads showing, their eyes just above the water line and many more sunning on banks.  I love catching these snippets of nature while driving along a winding trail at a state park or just out in a country setting.

One very late night several years ago, my partner at the time and I headed out of town to watch the early morning Perseid meteor shower. To get a better chance of viewing we drove away from the lights of Orlando, maybe 10 miles to the Econlockhatchee River.  Before we even reached our destination, I started seeing the telltale streaks of meteors flashing through the sky.  Calming and exciting at the same time!

Night rides can be very soothing. My mother would sometimes gather all of us kids in the car and drive around in the evenings, windows down, cooling and calming us down.

Perseid shower
blazing stars fall from the sky
vanish in a flash

Join us at dVerse Poets where Toni hosts us for Haibun Monday.  We are asked to write on ways that we truly relax.  Toni’s presentation will be published at 3PM EST Monday.  Please read it for full details.

Coming of Spring

 

CherryBlossomsDC

Cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin, Washington, DC; Photo Public Domain

Issa–“Under the cherry blossoms,
there are
no strangers”

Thousands of people are perambulating the Tidal Basin, all gathered for one auspicious event, the blossoming of the cherries. This year the date was forecast by the National Park Service arborists as March 25, 2016 as the peak date for the blossoming in Washington, D.C. The flowers don’t last but for a few days so it is of utmost importance to view them as close to peak as possible.  The peak bloom day is when roughly 70% of the flowers will be open.  The flowers begin white and gradually turn pink.  Sometimes three days later the blossoms will begin to fall and cover the ground beneath as if with a delicate-petaled snowfall…the trees making way for their budding green leaves.

People ooh and ah, pointing and smiling at nature’s extravagance. Festivities include art showings, picnics, and some hire professional photographers to have engagement photos taken, family or portrait photos done with the cherry blossoms.  There’s a feeling of camaraderie and joy in the air and reverence too as some of the trees are over a century old.

new beginnings spring
heralded by pink flowers
soft breeze petals fall

Toni hosts our haibun Monday today at dVerse. Our topic is cherry blossoms and spring.

Flowing Downstream

Photo:  Mary Kling

Photo: Mary Kling

It’s hard to believe that I came from such an abusive and chaotic life just a few short miles on the other side of this river.

Life with drug abusing parents who both ended up in prison was no picnic.  And then to have been put in foster homes and separated from my little sister was like moving from one desperate situation to another.  Foster parents can be unfeeling and insensitive to what children come from.  Most are in it for the money that the state gives them, not from a place of compassion.

Somehow I ended up making it through high school and continuing my education to become a successful businessman in the city.  I even managed to reunite with my sister and help her get an education too.  I have much to be thankful for and I don’t take any of it for granted.  This river keeps flowing downstream…and so do I.

a twig floats downstream
nothing impedes its journey
river buoys all

Mary Kling has shared three photographs of hers to inspire our fourth Monday Haibun challenge.  I chose a contemplative man on the bank of the Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa.  Please join us.  The link will be up for an entire week over at dVerse Poets beginning at 3PM EST December 7, 2015:  http://dversepoets.com/

A Master’s Heartbeat

View of the Asylum and Chapel at Saint Remy

View of the Asylum and Chapel at Saint Remy

His vantage point from the small window was enough that he could see several different buildings and the expanse of the wheat fields growing beyond. But there were days when he just stared unseeing out the window too ill to really even enjoy the view.  His distinguished, yet haunted blue eyes were sunken into his thinning face.  He didn’t have much of an appetite during his stay in the asylum and most days he ate only bread and soup.

Though painting was a calming past time, there were days that he wasn’t allowed to paint because of his compulsion to drink his turpentine and paints which would then add to the complications of his epilepsy and mental state. In spite of that, he managed to produce many paintings, and some of his most famous, during his stay at Saint-Paul.

When well enough he could wander the gardens, grounds and halls of the property and often these sites would find their way into his art. A long corridor echoed his depression with its cold, vacant, gray benches and darkened shadows cast throughout.

expressionless eyes
pleading, hollow, impassive
a master’s heartbeat

I used a senryu here rather than the traditional haiku.

This is Haibun Monday #3 over at dVerse Poets and Bjorn shares a painting by van Gogh to inspire us:  http://dversepoets.com/2015/11/02/haibun-monday-3/

Haibun Monday 2

KhalilGibranquote

My mind drifts in and out and flows around and about, switching directions on a whim, back to childhood, in between and then up to the present again. This play moves my emotions with it as if on a roller coaster ride. The sting of a hurt feeling from decades ago can be recreated through a memory that becomes dislodged by the smell of the apple pie that is cooking in my kitchen today. The contented joy I felt while mothering my newborns is a love-filled, treasured memory. Instantly I feel at calm ease when I reflect upon that time. But even this memory takes me from present time; it too a phantom.

Memories are powerful imprints within us. They can evoke times of joy, love, closeness, warmth, smiles or fear, panic, sorrow, regret and shame. To dwell on painful memories can hold us tight to the past and rob us of our life in the present. And interspersed with all those memories are the daydreams of my imaginings…both are fleeting wisps, gone with tomorrow.

echoes of the past
ghostly mirages at play
today let me live

Today is Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets. Bjorn and Hamish invite us to pick one of two quotes from Khalil Gibran that they have provided and write a haibun. The details are here:  http://dversepoets.com/2015/10/05/haibun-monday-2/

Pain Held Tight

He was slight and short for twelve years of age.  His rust colored hair and freckled pale skin was the bane of his life.  His eyes were a deep brown with flecks of carnelian–beautiful really–framed with long, feathery lashes that blinked with mischievousness and always-looking-for-a-joke curiosity.

His sweet vulnerability was overshadowed by a dark secret and shame.  He wore a mask of jovial pretense and protected that place with ardent determination.

No one noticed the quick flash of anguish that passed across his face from time to time or the somber pauses, between the wittiness, that told all.

pain held tight inside

please look deep, not just the shield

hope that someone sees

I took Victoria up on her Monday Morning Writing Prompt of a Haibun.  See her page for definition.  I blended a Flash Fiction story of 100 words with a haiku.http://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/snowbirds-lament-a-haibun-napowrimo-day-6/

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