a martian education

Linking this haibun to dVerse Poets pub where Frank Tassone is our host…


 

Mars, that ready, ruddy, rusty, dusty planet hangs between Earth and Jupiter; named for the Roman god of War. We contemplate his heavenly body in the mighty month of March: muscular, iron clad, and vengeful.  Is not war an erupting march to madness, leaving black death and blood-stained pockmarks in its wake?!

Violent dust storms, extreme seasons, and an atmosphere of carbon dioxide make Mars inhospitable yet aerospace scientists dream of manned flights to the fourth planet. My sons participated in a Mars project where 6th graders designed a biosphere for future immigrants. We once visited an abandoned biosphere in Arizona where personnel’s’ personal relationships were the demise of the mission.

Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles and C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy put science fiction on the cultural map, stretching literary minds and stirring curiosity in our celestial, terrestrial neighbor beyond our moon. In Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet, Oyarsa, the ruling power of Malacandra (a.k.a. Mars), declares,

”The weakest of my people does not fear death. It is the Bent One, the lord of your world, who wastes your lives and befouls them with flying from what you know will overtake you in the end. If you were subjects of Maleldil [God of Malacandra] you would have peace.”

 

mars’ olympus mons;

civilization’s high peak–

active volcano?

mars

image courtesy of NASA

calving season begins!

IMG_6708

Hello, world, my name is “Shadow”

 

It’s Monday morning and our skittish range heifers cautiously approach wooden feed bunk. Breakfast is a generous helping of fragrant silage and a bit of cow mix mineral supplements.  The farmer counts, re-counts furry heads and realizes one is missing.

He discovers her in the back of open cattle shed…with her newborn calf, first of the season!  Little black bull is healthy and already standing.  Our son carries him to shelter in the barn.  We soon coax mama into stall where they can nuzzle and nurse.

 

calf eyes wide to world

fresh cow licks her baby clean

new life birthed in spring

 

 


Linking this spring haibun to dVerse Poets pub where Frank hosts today…

waiting for epiphany

at home in our white-sided farm house, i’m poised to write as i sit by my small white-laminate study desk in our quiet, white-walled guest room.  bare square of first day of new year on the white-paged calendar stares back at me.  i look out white-framed window before me into our white-drifted snowy grove, hoping for inspiration but mind feels blank, like tv screen white-out.

over past year, i’ve often gazed out this same window, inspired by natural scene of trees with white-sunlit leaves waving in breezes.  i’ve watched white-puffed daydream clouds sail summer skies while squirrels played in the grass, rising on haunches to show white-furred bellies.

why would someone park canoe trailer with white-topped carrier full of life vests right in center of my woodsy window view?  old skeletal metal rack with two aluminum white-stickered canoes mounted upside down and tied with bungee straps distracts my vision.  without the sun, everything feels cold on this white-iced winter day.

 

it’s twenty-twenty

year clear for perfect vision

life needs fresh outlook

 


I wrote this on Jan. 1 and it seems to fit with Bjorn’s “beginning(again)” haibun challenge at dVerse poets pub.

 

 

 

blood run haibun

Link to dVerse Poets where Frank J. Tassone hosts a celebration of “indigenous”.

An archaeological dig in agricultural fields reveals ancient city of indigenous peoples: the Ioway, Omaha, Winnebago, Arikara, and Lakota. They settled at the confluence of Blood Run Creek and Big Sioux River, present-day boundary between Iowa and South Dakota.

Mysterious mounds push up; boulder rings outline lodge sites. Horse bones, iron tools, even marine shell wampum have been discovered here. Natives fashioned available catlinite into pipes and clay into pottery. They dug pits for storing grain and other pits for garbage.

This trading center flourished as an economic hub for the region. The Oneota culture left its mark on the land, most notably as a serpent-shaped effigy mound which was unfortunately lost by modern tillage before the area was recognized as an historic site.

 

indigenous tribes

leave indelible trail on

history’s pages

 

 

 

 

autumn’s ambassador

It’s haibun Monday at dVerse Poets where we’re writing about insects!


 

I bounce along, riding the lawnmower around our farm site.  It’s windy and warm today…excellent weather for drying the crops for the imminent harvest. We’re glad for the silage we’ve already chopped for our livestock. Cows galumph toward the fence when I stop to toss the fallen apples I gathered for them.

While mowing in our grove, I am discouraged to note many trees show signs of stress. Both ash and spruce host invasive insects that bore into exposed spaces in their bark. An epidemic infestation across the nation appears to have arrived here. Time will tell if it’s lethal for these trees we planted many years ago and nurtured to a protective and glorious expanse.

While fretting about insects destroying our grove, I’m surprised by a singular monarch butterfly that flits ahead of me, leading the way. It flutters into my vision as I pass by again and again. Like a shimmer of hope, it gently clings to a leafy branch. Stunning creature with delicate legs and designer wings sent to lighten my mind in a moment of serendipity.

 

monarch messenger

flashes autumn’s joyful hues

arresting beauty

 

 

 

 

celebrate labor day

My greatest labor was bringing each of my boys into the world and working with them as a mother at home. What shared joy to participate in the creation of new life! What secret thrill to feel the first delicate flutterings inside my womb! What amazing privilege to bear a developing human for forty (plus) weeks, alive and kicking! What relief to finally have him delivered safely into the world!

To carry and birth a child is only the beginning of a mother’s labor of love. It will take everything she’s got, and demand much of what she doesn’t yet have, to nurture this needy little one, to protect the toddler, to train a child, to counsel that teenager and raise him/her to capable adulthood. Thankfully, a mother doesn’t labor alone but often the nesting and nurturing details naturally depend on her.

I’ve worked in hospital dietary service, taught kindergarten students and art classes,  balanced farm accounts, fed & bedded livestock, drove tractor, mowed lawn, grown a garden, cooked meals and tutored adults in English. But I’m most gratified by the blessing of raising and home-educating our five sons. To serve my family has been, and still is (with the next generation) my high calling…and the hardest job I’ll ever love.

 

due on labor day

you were born ten days later

now your baby waits!

 

 


Frank invites us to write about “labor” for Labor Day and link to dVerse Poets pub. My husband and I await the birth of another grandchild this month as our middle son is expecting his third child…a daughter!

violence against humanity

 

Awful week of three senseless public shootings by U.S. citizens at garlic festival in Gilroy CA, Walmart shopping center in El Paso TX, and popular nightclub neighborhood in Dayton OH.

We wonder why domestic terrorists perpetrate violence against unsuspecting victims? Why should innocent people die while enjoying their life? Why is our society spiraling down into a culture of hate and mayhem?

Why is it legal for mothers (whose nature is nurture) to pay doctors (whose profession is healing) to dismember their preborn infants? Why do fathers abandon or abuse their own children after conceiving them? Why do we insist our lives are superior and consider other lives expendable? Why not choose to love and protect one another, starting with our family?

Perhaps there is some connection here, an unnatural progression from selfishness, disrespect, broken relationships and alienation into a macabre culture of death. The shooters are guilty of crimes against humanity but we are all culpable.

shopping

killing on home turf

abortion births death culture

all victims bleed red

 

 

underwater wonder

An amazing animal to observe is the North American river otter. An otter’s dainty ears, alert eyes and long whiskers give it an engaging appearance. Otters are curious and sociable creatures. Their antics entertain and they like to perform.

Otters are the only water-loving members of the weasel family and are perfectly designed for swimming. They have extra-thick fur that traps air between the under-layer and longer guard hairs to keep their skin dry. Their torpedo-shaped bodies with short limbs are impressively streamlined. Webbed hind feet prove efficient as flippers. Claws, speed and teeth equip this carnivore for proficient fishing.

My husband and I enjoyed watching the river otter dive, swim and spin in its tank at the Houston Zoological Park. I recorded a brief video which later delighted our grand daughters. Each creature designed by God reveals his wisdom and glory. Each plays a vital role in nature’s ecological balance.

river otter glides

zoos educate and research

discover wonder

 

in memorium

We lament with this family suffering awe-ful grief. Beloved infants lost at 26 weeks gestation; twin grandbabies happily anticipated. Expectant mother, more than halfway through pregnancy, heard heartbeats and viewed ultrasounds but no more… no more expectations, no more movement, no more fast swooshing of babies’ hearts beating their distinct rhythms. Only mother’s lonely heart beats now, heavy with slow sorrow.

The relentless spring rains mirror this drowning grief. Tears falling in torrents, flooded emotions. Erosion of the soul. What kind of broken world is this, where little lives can be cut short by the cord that was their lifeline? We may ask “why?” yet not receive an acceptable answer to the anguished questions. We have only our faith in God himself to cling to. Lord, have mercy on your children. As we remember precious twins taken; remember us too, for we are dust.

 

grief’s painful journeyIMG_1344 copy

rosebuds fade…family mourns

inadequate words

 

 

 

 

 

 

picnic by the sea

Linking to Gina’s picnic themed haibun prompt at dVerse Poets

Camping near the beach, we plan a picnic lunch to the enticing sound of surf. The cool morning sea breeze has acquiesced to the gentle sun’s insistent warming. We pack water bottles, ham, cheese & lettuce sandwiches, chips, sugar cookies, and  mandarin oranges into the yellow backpack. We pull on swimsuits, grab thick towels, sand implements, and two shapeless sack chairs for us parents.

In sandals and flip flops, we traipse across hot asphalt parking lot, zigzag along boardwalk down the grassy dunes to the beach. Happily off-season, we take our time choosing just the right spot on the uncrowded sand. Mom and Dad commence to read or nap in the sun while sons eagerly deploy tools for building the world’s greatest sand castle near the water.

 

southern vacation
keep sand out of sandwiches
seagulls beg for crumbs

 

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photo by lynn

greatest show on earth

After sunrise early one morning, I watched the full moon still hovering in the pale western sky. Momentarily, it appeared as a bright shiny coin balanced on an electric line; a high wire act, ready to roll like a big white marble down a track; a cosmic toy staged by a playful Designer. I wondered if the weight of it would bend the wire low to the ground causing sparks or if it would tip off and crash to earth, creating a sizable crater. As I observed, it fell…slow motion…through the wires and was caught safely in net of bare tree branches, averting disaster. The earth turned, the water tank filled, and I went back to chores.

(VI.)

starlight’s beauty fades

overwhelmed by sun’s glory

full moon in retreat

 


Linking to Carpe Diem‘s retreat…this haiku is #6 in my joy of light series.

to january, with love

 

January is a schoolmarm in a one-room schoolhouse on the frozen North Dakota prairie. She wears a gray woolen dress and peers over her spectacles with sharp grey eyes. Better be on time, sit up straight, and memorize your lessons so you’re ready when called on to recite. Here’s a clean slate and a bucket for fetching coal.

January is a team of malamutes ready to pull new sled. They wiggle and whine as musher harnesses them together; experienced dogs in front. He pats each one and slips them treats as they lick his gloved hand. Well-bred and muscular, January’s eager for the arduous adventure ahead. With a shove and a shout, we’re off.

January is a precipitous game of chance. It freezes and sneezes as icicles and noses drip. Weather rages stormy blizzard, then melts to muddy puddles. Celebration left in the past, until someone’s birthday or you migrate south. Glum with fevers or gorgeous with snowflakes, January is faceted garnet – a real germ…excuse me, gem.

img_9435 copy

 

 

first month of the year

opens possibilities

Latin word for door

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joining Kim at dVerse Poets with this (rather unconventional) haibun for January.

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