Love Like Waterfall ~ haibun

24 June 24 2017

Love Like Waterfall

We stood on the the shore of Lake Erie, just as we had many times in the past. From the waves rolling onto its sandy beaches, to the dunes lining those shores, to the wildlife found along the the shore and on the marshes within the park, to its wonderful lighthouse, Presque Isle State Park in Erie Pennsylvania has much to offer and has become one of our favorite places to visit. We always make it a priority to stop there when we drive from Missouri to Buffalo to see family and friends.

But this visit was different. Family and friends from Erie, Cleveland, Youngstown, and Buffalo (and even Tennessee and Washington state) were there to share in the beauty of the moment as we stood beneath the towering Presque Isle lighthouse to exchange our wedding vows.

Pennsylvania is one of the few states to allow self-administered weddings. Because Presque Isle has come to mean so much to us, it seemed only natural for us to have our wedding there. I wrote poetic verse that was read by my children and my granddaughter, and I also wrote the vows that we exchanged. It was the perfect setting for our new beginning.

under clear blue skies
waves in the sunlight sparkle
love like waterfall

This haibun is my response to Happy New Year! This prompt from Lillian at dVerse ~ Poets Pub is to write a traditional haibun about a new beginning we’ve experienced in our lifetime. The haiku within the haibun is to include a kigo (a word associated with a season – here, waterfall for summer) and a kireji or cutting word at the end of the second line. This word (in English haiku, it can even be simple punctuation, such as a dash, comma, ellipsis, or an exclamation point) briefly cuts the stream of thought, indicating that the verse consists of two thoughts half independent of each other. In my haibun, sparkle serves as the haiku’s kireji.

Light Seen in Colors ~ haibun

Light Seen in Colors

For most of my life, I lived within ten miles of one of the most magnificent bodies of water known to man. Its combination of splendor and power never ceases to amaze me, though I’ve visited it hundreds of times. I see it far less often since moving away eight years ago, but seeing it this month for the first time in nearly a year was no different. From the rush and fury of the rapids above the falls to the roar of the water as it tumbles beyond the crest to the gorge below, the Niagara River at Niagara Falls once again took my breath away.

chilly mist
light seen in colors
sailing gulls

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday: Being But Human,
from Kim at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, with the prompt to write a haibun
inspired by a moment “in nature that left you with a sense of wonder or awe.”

Image: Niagara Falls – 10 November 2020
(click image for larger view in new tab)

On the Road Again, Finally

On the Road Again, Finally

I’ll be away for the next three weeks, so I thought I’d get in one more chance to take photos of fall colors. On Saturday, I went for a drive to Ha Ha Tonka State Park, which is 60 miles south of my home in Missouri. It’s located on Lake of the Ozarks and is known for its limestone bluffs and karst formations, as well as for the fire-ravaged mansion known as “The Castle.” I’ve posted other photo blogs of its fall colors in the past, including this one.

It was a mostly sunny day when I left home. By the time I reached the lake, scattered clouds became mostly cloudy as the day went on. The temperatures were in the mid-60s so it was comfortable walking weather. I didn’t do any trail hiking, but I walked about 1 ¾ miles by following the paved and graveled paths. While some trees were bare, many were colorful and the oaks and hickories were getting ready to change.

As I said, I’ll be gone for a few weeks. I left yesterday, Sunday, and drove 700 miles to my son’s home in Cleveland. I’ll stay here for a few days before moving on to Buffalo to stay with my son. Of course, I’ve spent some time (the first visit in eleven months) with my granddaughter, who will be two years old in a couple of weeks, and I’ll see her again on the return trip.

I thought I’d need to stay here for fourteen days, so that I’d be cleared to enter New York State, but NY’s travel restrictions changed while I was driving to Ohio. Now the requirement for all out-of-state travelers is a negative COVID test within three days prior to entering NY, followed by a three-day quarantine in NY, followed by a COVID test in NY.

Coincidentally, I tested in Missouri and received a “negative” notification Sunday morning. Since test results can take up to a week, I’ll drive to NY on Wednesday (within the three -day window),  then test on Saturday. I should have my “negative” result by the following Saturday, just in time for me to see my daughter for the first time in eleven months, just before her baby is born. Since she has type 1 diabetes, her doctors want to induce labor two weeks early to avoid complications. So, she has a “tentative date” of November 17 for her first child, and if everything works out I’ll get to meet my new granddaughter.

My online presence has been erratic the past few months, but for the next three weeks it could be sporadic. I know I’ll have down time while family is busy at work and I’m technically “in quarantine,” so we’ll see how that works out. I have poetry to catch up on, as well as comments on my own poetry to catch up with, so I’ll do what I can. I’ve looked forward to this visit for a while, and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

decisions
take new direction
changing leaves

Here are some of those photos from Saturday.
(Click any image for a larger view in a new tab.)

 

 

 

 

 

New Leaves Wait to Grow ~ haibun

New Leaves Wait to Grow

It was an easy decision for me, when I decided to move to Missouri. I was following my heart to be with the woman I love. If we were going to be together, it was much easier for me to make the move than it would have been for her. Still not yet sixty (I had retired at fifty-three), I had no job to hold me back.

I gave a lot of thought to being away from my children and reasoned that it would be no different than if they were to move away after completing college. My eldest son had attended university in Cleveland and had a job there as a computer engineer. My other son still lived in the Buffalo area, working in IT for a web hosting firm, and wasn’t afraid to travel himself. Meanwhile, my daughter was in college, and there were no guarantees that she would stay in the area once she completed school. Since then, she has become a high school counselor, and all three have stayed in their respective cities.

It’s 700 miles to Cleveland, and another 200 miles further on to Buffalo, and I’ve driven those roads to visit them at least twenty times in the past eight years. I don’t mind the drive. We have a great time when we’re together, and we’ve even had them as guests when they’ve visited us.

When my granddaughter arrived (two years ago, next month), I realized there was something I hadn’t anticipated. Grandchildren unexpected? No, but I hadn’t thought about how much I would be missing, over the miles. Now, I saw her (and held her!) a few times in the first year, and there have been many video calls, but it’s been nearly eleven months since I’ve actually seen her.

And now, my daughter is expecting her first child in three weeks. Meanwhile, due to the COVID-19 infection rate, Missouri has been on the out-of-state travel ban list for New York State for months-on-end and flirts off-and-on with the slightly less stringent restrictions for Ohio.

I am where my heart has taken me, but I wonder.  If I knew then what I know now, would I have considered the move a folly?

old leaves fall
new leaves wait to grow
left behind

This haibun is my response to dVerse – Poetics #427 – Mussenden’s Temple,
the prompt from Lisa at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, with the prompt
to write a poem using the word folly.

The Ultimate Fright Night ~ haibun

The Ultimate Fright Night

As he had for years, he placed a large bowl of candy on the table just inside the door of his home, put decorations on the outside of the door, placed an orange bulb in the lamppost, and waited for the children to ring his doorbell as they called out the cheerful chant, “Trick or Treat.” But times had changed, and fewer children roamed the streets on this festive night. Concerns for safety meant parents took their children to churches and malls for their treats, and each year fewer and fewer superheroes and princesses appeared at his door, leaving him with a bowlful of sugary sweets to ration for himself for the next few months.

But this year he waited in vain, for there were no smiling faces, and no one rang the doorbell looking for treats. In the true spirit of this frightful night, the children had one more reason to listen to the words they had heard for so long, “Don’t take candy from strangers.”

blue moon curse
on All Hallows’ Eve
COVID plague

This is my response to Haibun Monday 10-26-20: Happy Halloween!,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Full Moon Comfort ~ haibun

Full Moon Comfort

Since moving to Missouri, I’ve made many trips back to Buffalo to visit my family, probably as many as twenty in the first seven-and-a-half years. Three of those trips were by air, but the rest have been by car. The trip is only nine hundred miles, one-way, a distance easily covered in a day, and I don’t mind the drive. Driving also makes it easier to make a stop near Cleveland to visit my son and his family.

Bonnie still works, but I’m retired, so I have a lot more flexibility when it comes to travel time. It’s always nice to have company on the drive, but I don’t mind driving solo. I can cover the total distance in daylight, except when winter brings darkness in the early morning and evening hours. There have been a few times when I’ve had the moon for a companion.

With travel restrictions due to the pandemic, I haven’t made that trip since December. I’ve missed opportunities to see my granddaughter in Cleveland, who will be two years old in November. I’ve not seen my daughter since before she learned she is expecting her first child in November, and I don’t know when I will be able to hold her daughter. I’d say it’s down to once in a Blue moon, but even those seem more frequent.

thoughts of family
in search of consolation
full moon appears twice

This is my response to Haibun Monday 9/28/20: to the Moon!,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Image: Harvest Moon, 29 September 2012

Kingfisher in Flight ~ haibun

Kingfisher in Flight

It’s early morning as I paddle on this narrow river that winds and twists through farmland, changing direction nearly every quarter-mile. On a day when temperatures will reach the mid-nineties, I move along a brief northward stretch and enjoy the cooler air as I take advantage of the shade offered by trees along its eastern bank.

A heron takes flight as I approach, but a killdeer lingers nearby, leaving tiny tracks as it dashes in spurts across the mud. Tiny waves sparkle in sunlight as I pass a break in the trees and paddle around a dead tree extending from the bank into the water. Catching sight of me, a turtle sunning itself drops into the water with a plop. I continue back into the shade, enjoying the sights that surround me.

kingfisher in flight
reflection of waves in flight
kayak glides along

This haibun is my response to Come Sail, the prompt from Sarah at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Sarah says,
“For this prompt, I’d like you to be inspired by boats. Maybe you’ve travelled by narrowboat, or taken a cruise on a big liner. Maybe you’re a kayaker, or a paddle-boarder. Maybe you built a raft as a child, or made a toy boat out of twigs and leaves. Maybe you’re a rower or a sailor. Maybe you take a ferry to work, or watch other people floating down a river. Maybe you want to write about an imaginary boat, with sails of leaves and a cargo of fairy dust. It’s up to you.”

Image source: screenshot from this YouTube video

Flickering Candles ~ haibun

Flickering Candles

When I was growing up, our family always held birthday celebrations; simple affairs with my parents and sisters, and, occasionally when I was younger, with my grandparents. Birthday cakes were present, of course, and our tradition was to have an extra candle on the cake. “One to grow on.” Another tradition was to have the birthday celebrant cut the the first slice into the cake and have the knife removed by the person with the next birthday, as a measure of good luck.

I may not place much significance on birthdays of my own as milestones, but I’ve always enjoyed celebrating a birthday with family and friends. A photo from 1958 is proof of that. It has one very pleased little boy who just blew out the candles on his cake.

flickering candles
give warm feelings all around
frosting on windows

This is my response to Haibun Monday: Birthday,
the prompt from Kim at dVerse Poets Pub.

Also shared with Colleen’s 2020 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday
#Poetry Challenge No. 189, #Poet’sChoice

Once in a Sturgeon Moon

Once in a Sturgeon Moon

Back in my scuba diving days, the majority of my dives were river drifts in the Niagara River. The water was a welcome relief on a hot August day, even while wearing a wet suit.

A shore dive would mean parking one vehicle at the exit point, followed by a drive upriver for the start of the dive. Holding a line connected to our dive float and flag, we would descend to the river bottom, from thirteen to thirty-five feet below, depending on the section of the river. Knowing the approximate time of the drift, we would surface and kick towards shore for our exit. Sometimes that could mean a strong, hard kick into shore because the current was faster that day or had pushed us out further than expected.

I started carrying a quarter in my wet suit after one dive that resulted in overshooting our exit point and landing on an island (connected by a bridge). I walked into a bar at a marina, borrowed a quarter to call for a ride (pre-cellphone days), and walked back out to my dive buddy, my wet suit garnering looks and comments from the bar patrons. The woman who gave me the quarter also bought shots to share with me.

We also would dive from a boat on the river, which was much easier. A back-roll off the side of the boat, and we were in the water. Once on the bottom, we would be connected with a ten foot long buddy line. The current was our friend, carrying us downriver as we watched the bottom for lost boat anchors and antique bottles. A tug on the line usually meant the other diver had grabbed on to a rock on the bottom as he pulled an anchor or bottle from under a rock or from the silt. Over the years, I acquired propellers, hundreds of bottles, and dozens of anchors, as well as a few outboard motors that I sold to an outboard engine repair shop. For years, I had a recovered three-hundred pound anchor on my lawn.

Of course, I never caught any fish while diving, but I saw quite a few, from bass to catfish to muskellunge. One fish that stands out in my memory was a complete surprise. As we drifted along the bottom with fairly good visibility, a shadow appeared on my right. I was confused at first, because I thought it was my dive buddy (whose name also happened to be Ken), but the buddy line was on my left, with my buddy firmly attached. And then it came to within five feet of me, staying by my side for thirty seconds. It was a six-foot long sturgeon. Back on the boat, it was all we could talk about.

hot, still days
no relief at night
sturgeon moon

This haibun is my response to Frank Tassone’s #Haikai Challenge #150: Sturgeon Moon.
The first full moon of August is called the Sturgeon Moon, Grain Moon, Barley Moon or Red Moon.