Haiku for February

The many streams of Japanese literature I’ve looked into over the last month have flowed into a river that remains a bit muddy for me, something like the creek down the street as it appeared this morning. But just as on those waters I see beautiful things reflected, I am being greatly enriched by several writers, and meandering along rabbit trails still so mysterious, I don’t have much to tell yet.

I decided not to read The Gate by Natsume Sōseki, because it sounded too much like Kokoro, but in reading about the author I learned that he wrote a lot of poetry, and before I had taken two steps down that trail I found these two haiku poems by him that shed some light on recent days.

Over the wintry
forest, winds howl in rage
with no leaves to blow.

Yesterday I didn’t go walking in the afternoon as planned, because of just such a scene out my window, with dark clouds suddenly filling the background where sun had a few minutes before been enticing me. The weather has been freezing, even under the sun.

The cold wintry wind
Is blowing so hard that
The sun sinks into the ocean.

This morning rainy weather has returned, a little warmer, so I went out before the clouds started to empty themselves. Last week I’d seen people walking on the other side of the creek along one stretch that I haven’t explored so much, and today I found that route, which was not much of a path, mostly a vague line where grass had been trampled into the mud, but with interesting little details so be seen.

A eucalyptus tree that had fallen, but kept growing in its humbled condition. A daisy, and fennel shoots in clusters of Irish-green ferny filaments, and — oh, the path petered out into puddles, and obviously my boots were not waterproofed enough to go farther.

I’m going to build a fire in the stove now, and do a little more management of belongings and spaces pre-remodel, and then I hope to sit by the stove and read Curdie and/or some Japanese poetry while I listen to the rain. Just last night I put several books on hold at the library, and added a couple to my Kindle library, almost all from the genre of Japanese literature.

That creek is muddy because there is so much stuff suspended in the water. Animal, vegetable, mineral matter — living things and the elements and food that constitute their beings. And in my mind, another sort of living, nourishing material that a week ago seemed to be just a hopeless mishmash. Now that I’m beginning to pick out a few particulars to consider, and to see patterns and currents of culture and humanity, there is much beauty.

17 thoughts on “Haiku for February

  1. You need a pair of good boots — knee highs, that fit perfectly. Think of the places you could go! I keep my boots in the trunk of my car, so they’re always there to protect against water, mud, fire ants, snakes, thorns, more mud…

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    1. These are really good boots! I bought them in 2017 so I’d be prepared for rain and snow when I went to Wisconsin. They just need a little sealer occasionally. Like now! I guess I wouldn’t mind some waders, though… 😉

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      1. Here are the ones I bought. I’ve had them since 2015, and they still are just like new. Not only that, I can wear them all day with comfort, and even have driven with them on with no problem. They might not be for you, but they certainly do allow for a little more freedom when there’s water around!

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    1. It is probably E. globulus, though some other species grow in California as well. Wikipedia states that there are 800 species of eucalyptus! I hope to write a blog post about these trees, because in California they are very controversial, there being thousands of huge trees that are mildly invasive, and which for various reasons are called “the most hated tree” in the state.

      While I was browsing on the topic just now, I found an article from NC State U. on their history on that side of the continent. Maybe it would be of interest to you: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijfr/2013/189393/

      Do you know what species can be found in your nurseries? I’d like to know. From things you’ve written on your blog I’m pretty sure they aren’t the giant trees we have around here! I have pictures of the leaves of two types in one blog post you might not have seen, a dramatic story in which the trees were innocent bystanders. Yes, ours definitely have that signature eucalyptus scent!

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  2. I have a line up of shoes drying out by the heater.  I have been loving my walks in the light rain (with an umbrella handy).  I tried calling you last night (Friday).

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  3. Very interesting photos! And your haikus are beautiful – I like especially the first one.
    We have much snow in Eastern Finland now. The coldest temperature so far is -34 C, but today it was +1 C, and it was lovely.
    Blessings and hugs!

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      1. Yes, it was clearly written in your text. 🙂 Obviously I didn’t read carefully enough.

        Your posts would deserve to be read with attention and reflection. Unfortunately in the current phase of my life I’m interrupted constantly and both reading and writing become difficult and strained.

        Have a blessed week ahead!

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      2. Sara, it actually wasn’t clear in the text, but I went back and added a couple of words, which is probably what you are seeing now. I’m thankful for your feedback because it helps me to see these things. I’m often trying so hard not to have superfluous words in my writing that I end up not using enough words to be clear!

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  4. Your final paragraph is better than any haiku (though I admit to complete ignorance of Japanese literary culture). And almost better than the footpath photograph, which symbolizes for me so much of my own story.

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  5. I love the photographs and the atmosphere you created in this post. What is more beautiful than God’s world? Nothing, and the change in seasons is especially beckoning. I love that you’re reading from the Japanese literature genre; I, too, have decided not to read The Gate. Again. But, poetry/haiku sounds ideal.

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