“Haikuing” through life helps me make sense of this life we’re leading in an economy of words. Yes, life’s topics inspire me to write haikus, a three-line poem with Japanese origin broken up into syllable counts: 1st line–5 syllables, 2nd line–7 syllables, 3rd line–5 syllables.
“Haikuing” While Walking
In 2021, I walked regularly and composed haikus as I walked. Nature inspired the topics easily.
July 15, 2021
Raucous cawing of
Black birds circling above
July 20, 2021
See your essential
“Spiritual beingness” now
Do not dread your death!
To be present now
I must ground me to something
Earth, please touch my feet.
July 27, 2021
Cloudy skies, humid
New Mexico greens up with
July rains. So fresh!
The desert greens up
With abundant July rains.
Wet, not hot, this year!
August 11, 2021
I turned sixty-eight.
Is that old now? I wonder.
Hell, no! I’m not old.
August 17, 2021
Walking frees my heart
And soul to connect with my
World and God as one!
Puffy white clouds hang
Suspended against blue skies.
Are they cotton balls?
August 18, 2021
Tomatoes, green now
Tomorrow ripe, red and ready.
Joy and juicy now!
One small chunky start
Cucumbers ready to burst
My mouth savors them!
You can’t eat flowers,
But they feed my soul daily.
God’s heavenly fare.
God speaks through flowers.
Multi-colored—see a splash
I write free verse poetry too, but I have always had a love affair with haikus. When I taught poetry to middle schoolers, they wrote wonderful, meaningful haikus. Recently, after attending Natalie Goldberg’s “The Way of Writing” class in 2021 and reading her book, Three Simple Lines, that fire re-ignited in me, and I have fanned the flame regularly to keep them coming.
How about you—do you do “haikuing” through life? Do you like haikus? Do you write them? If so, share one!
Change is the only constant we can depend upon. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the consistent year-after-year happenings lulled me into complacency, making me believe 2020 would be a duplicate of 2019, a little different but with unknown adventures and a lot of the same ole same ole!
As you know, 2020 and even the first quarter of 2021 have been grueling. I now look at the world and my past as pre-coronavirus and post-coronavirus. I’ve had over a year to labor long and hard over how I would allow this to affect me. Many others in the world have pondered this too.
By now, you know me—a poem is brewing!
Growth and the Coronavirus Pandemic
April 18, 2021
Growth and 2020 in the same sentence
Seems like an oxymoron.
The worst year of my life
I faced it
I worked through it
Often I succumbed to outrageous emotions
Then heartwarming feelings
And went on.
So as I evaluate what happened,
I can say,
“Yes, I grew! I’ve changed!”
Like so many of you.
Forced to stay at home, isolated
I stopped my hectic schedule
I listened to life
I embraced nature
In a deeper way
I met me,
In a fresh way!
Yes, nature became the conduit of healing
Lin’s luscious garden
Birds attracted to his many feeders
Jesse, my cat, and
His allegiance to me and our routine.
A daily walk
Which feeds my soul
My God in all of this.
I didn’t want
I didn’t ask
On our country
On our world
So what happened to me? What changed?
I listened to
The meticulous flapping
Of the hummingbirds’ wings
Hovering over bright red penstemon stem.
The hectic dinnertime feeding
At the bird feeders
A storm of color and commotion
The quiet afternoon breezes
Singing through the piñon trees
Bouncing our chimes, creating a heavenly melody.
Yes, it happened.
Did it happen for you?
Let’s focus on the positive change from the pandemic. I found an article, “15 Reasons to Feel Positive about 2020” on the internet.
Topping the list is “Nature is thriving—Sightings of wildlife have increased worldwide and a reduction in air pollution is giving the planet a chance to rejuvenate.” I love that because it coincides with my top idea—many people took up gardening, bird-watching, outdoor activity, and seeking refuge in nature.
Look at how change occurred in our home!
Besides Lin’s gorgeous garden, we connected with nature when we found SpringWatch 2020, a TV show featuring wildlife and nature of Great Britain. Their 2020 version really focused on the effects of the pandemic on wildlife and encouraged people to find solace in nature. Originally SpringWatch airs on the BBC, but we watched it on BritBox.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 series, starting on 25 May, did not come from a central base. Instead each presenter appeared from a location near their home, respecting government guidelines on social distancing.”
We thoroughly enjoyed the gorgeous photography, witty story telling from the four main naturalists who hosted each episode. But our favorite part became the Mindfulness Ninety Seconds, where they encouraged the viewers to put down any distraction and simply enjoy the scenery. Then, for ninety seconds, we heard nature sounds and saw beautiful landscapes with a variety of animals. So refreshing!
The show weaved a variety of topics through the hour-long presentation. One particular episode focused on the healing power of nature. Chris Packham, the primary host, suggested a book, The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us by Emma Mitchell. Of course, I bought it and read it and learned a lot about nature’s curative powers.
When SpringWatch ended, we didn’t want it to end, but we found out about AutumnWatch and WinterWatch. So we continued our celebration of British wildlife and nature.
Chris Packham on SpringWatch2020 and the other Watch shows commented often about the uptick in gardening in the UK, but it was worldwide.
“Within six months, the home garden industry saw a quantum leap in sales and new customers, with revenues magically levitating 60%, a seismic event in a tranquil nonindustrial industry.”
I’ve told you before about Lin’s gorgeous garden. Well, he has expanded his garden, a change against my wishes. He promised when he first started gardening that he would limit the size of it, but every year I watched him edge out more and more. This spring he made a decisive step and has enlarged it to more than double. How can anyone be upset with having more flowers to look at? And he loves it so.
I started walking January 1, 2021 because of my lethargy in 2020. Usually I’m physically fit because of all my dance activities and exercised, but I became a couch potato last year. One night after showering, I looked at my legs one day and saw bumps. Gasping, I thought, “Cellulite!” For most of my life, I have kept active, but the cellulite bumps sprung up overnight.
What to do? My answer—I had to do something, so walking was my answer. I started slowly and increased my time. I have the pleasure of walking a country road, free of noise, pollution and people. Today my butt cheeks hurt after my daily walk. I’m up to 45 minutes a day and going over 9000 steps daily. I know the optimal number is 10,000 steps a day, but I haven’t gotten there yet.
THE WAY OF WRITING WITH NATALIE GOLDBERG
March 6, 2021, I started an eight-week writing workshop online with one of my writing mentors, Natalie Goldberg. This was a dream come true! I first read, Writing Down the Bones, her first book in the late 80s then collected and read several more of hers.
We met twice weekly—for three hours on Saturdays with Natalie and one hour on Wednesdays with her assistant. What a rewarding experience I’ve had.
Natalie lived in New Mexico for many years, and I attended day workshops of hers, but I couldn’t afford her longer ones. This online class was very affordable and doable. Another change to my life from the pandemic and staying home.
A big change came for all of my regular face-to-face meetings: recovery meetings and the board that runs the Albuquerque Square Dance Center. Zoom saved the day. I easily made the change to Zoom meetings and added some special ones like monthly chats with a roommate and friend from Colorado. The three of us hadn’t been together in thirty years. I’ve also had family reunion meetings and more. The sky is the limit with Zoom.
JESSE, MY CAT
When we danced and traveled so much, we had few rituals that Jesse knew. Now nightly, Jesse crawls up on the arm of our loveseat on my side, positioning himself for watching TV with us. Each morning he snuggles as close as possible to me during my Quiet Time. Daily at breakfast, he supervises our Cribbage game. Jesse has convinced Lin he knows who will win the game by where he lays—near my side or Lin’s.
The world has changed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Too horrible to mention in many ways, but I wanted to highlight some of the positive changes.
How about you? Have you had any positive changes this last year? If so, what were they? (Keep scrolling down to make comments!)
Lin and I live in the east mountains above Albuquerque, New Mexico in the piñon pine trees at about 7100 feet and have had the pleasure of hummingbirds over the years, and this ones a good one.. Lin is the driving force behind our hummingbird attraction–he diligently fills and refills the feeders to attract these magnificent miniature birds.
Every season is different. A couple years ago, he fed 1000 hummingbirds a day, and they kept him busy filling the feeders, then last year we had hardly any.
This year started out slow but the crew finally arrived about a month ago and now he’s feeding between 600 – 700 birds a day, so we have a feeding frenzy at times.
Lin moved the feeders on our upper deck out the patio door of our bedroom because the bears love the sweet nectar in the hummingbird feeders. These little lovelies rise early, so the feeding frenzy in the morning often wakes us up to their squeaky sounds.
There’s nothing more relaxing than a break from the day and sitting quietly on this deck. They scatter when I first go out there but returned quickly once they feel safe, and then the show starts. The Rufus hummingbirds push and shove the others away from the feeders and scatter those gathered around a feeder, but they come back after a while to try again. They swarm, they drink and often one flies near me.
Lin has added hummingbird attractive flowers in his garden and I’m sure that’s the reason they have returned in droves.
Enjoy the hummingbird scenes from our house looking west towards the back side of the Sandia Mountains.
UPDATE: There’s been discussion about the species of hummingbird we have up here, so my husband thinks we have Rufus, black chin, and ruby red throat. What species do you have?
Do you feed hummingbirds? Wildlife? Let me know–it’s a quiet, refreshing joy to be a part of nature this way.