unanticipated love

Holiday haibun (prose exactly 200 words, Frank!) for dVerse “surprise” prompt

 

Christmas is a season of surprises. It began with a virgin birth of a king in a cave, marked by a magnificent star. An angel choir sent musical birth announcements. Visitors included local shepherds fresh from the fields and, later, foreign scholars bearing tokens of wealth. The gifts were unusual for a baby shower but signified the child’s future rule, life’s sacrifice, and atoning death.

We celebrate Christmas with surprises hung in stockings, wrapped in packages under trees, bright lights to see and sweet treats to eat. It’s fun to delight someone we love with a gift that “fits” them perfectly. Guests may appear unexpectedly like changeable weather that alternates between merry and dreadful. Mistletoe, moods and mayhem can take us by surprise during the holy (holly) days.

The best surprises are little moments of unanticipated kindness during this season of good cheer. “Adopted” grandparents, now deceased, gave children candy advent calendars with a window surprise for each day of December. A busy mom who delivers a plate of homemade goodies with her children. A hearty hug and teary smile from an elderly relative in a senior center. A neighbor boy who leaves a greeting card and artwork in mailbox.

 

stories of Christmas

wrapped with shiny memories

love surprises us

love buds afresh

The rose is a type of flowering shrub. The name “rose” comes from French. It comes from the Latin word Rosa. Roses have been symbols of love, beauty, war, and politics. Ornamental roses have been cultivated for millennia, bred for their flowers and fragrance. Roses are used for cut flowers, perfume, food & drink, medicine and in art.  There are many varieties today such as hybrid teas (most popular), floribundas, climbing roses, shrubs, standards, weeping standards, and miniature rose bushes.  For hundreds of years, the rose has been cherished for its beauty, form, and fragrance inspiring gardeners everywhere.

(Rose facts from Elsie at Ramblings of a Writer )

 

a rose is a rose

fragrant layered mystery

of romance language

 

my father twice widower-ed

calls on old/new lady friend

 

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haiku & photo by lynn

swoosh of the fukuroo

Join Victoria at dVerse Poets for this week’s haibun prompt: Who? Who? Fukuroo!


 

Late one winter afternoon, I strap on snowshoes, grab my poles and make tracks in powder. The dusky sky glows pale pink as I shush into deep silence. Spruces dusted with fresh snow, wear skirts of blue-hued drifts and beckon me to maneuver their folds. I am tramping a wonderland beneath thin-fingered canopy of ash tree silhouettes. Startled, I flinch as a heavy winged shadow glides closely overhead with a swish-sh-sh of displaced air. An owl swoops low before sweeping onto a bare upper branch fifty yards ahead. I approach cautiously as owl’s head swivels toward me. Notice the unmistakable tufts like ears…it’s the great-horned fukuroo of my dreams!

 

listen, owl’s hooting

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free stock image

heard often yet rarely seen

great-horned fukuroo!

sunflower power

Joining Carpe Diem Haiku Kai‘s weekend challenge on sunflower theme.  I wrote the prose, followed by a haiku from our host!


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wild sunflower – photo by lynn

 

The sight of sunflowers warms my heart, although my farmer hubby says they’re a weed. I remember as a child planting a few sunflowers in the backyard on east side of detached garage. The plants grow faster than children and their sunny faces exude happiness bright as summer sun. When autumn comes, their smiles fade, petals dry, and seeds mature. Oh, what a joyous feast for the birds! Sparrows flutter and cling to droopy head to peck tasty seeds. We let them eat the raw seeds as we prefer the roasted, salted variety. Dad would have a bag along to ball games or car races where we’d leave striped shells scattered under the bleachers; shells sucked dry of salt until the tips of our tongues went numb. On vacation, I still thrill at roadside sightings of expansive fields of sunflowers; their golden heads tipped toward the sun. On my walks, spotting more diminutive wild versions in the ditches (NOT our fields) brings a smile to my face.

 

blooming sunflowers
reaching for the early light of the sun –
birds praise their Creator
© Chèvrefeuille

creeaak!

 

Our farm buildings are nestled in the protective elbow of the grove, my personal woodland. A variety of trees shield us from the blast of winter’s northwest winds. Along outer L-shaped perimeter stand two rows of blue spruce, planted early in our marriage; mountain trees for this Colorado girl transplanted to prairie. Now the rows are closed to lawnmowers and snow shoers.

Inside the west crook, reside old ash and gnarly box elder, here long before my husband’s parents bought the farm site. Random maple, scattered throughout, blaze in autumn’s golden glory. Near the road, three small birch wave at passers-by. A few more spruce shelter the apple orchard, now consisting of two prodigious trees, we planted by our driveway.

On the north, two straight rows of ash, summit and bergesen, join hands high to form a long leaf-adorned aisle where migrating monarchs flit in early fall. Next to these, six red oak raise their proud heads and stubbornly hang onto dead leaves until next spring.

Sadly, severe weather, disease, or insect pests eventually claim even the best of our trees. Walk past an old dead tree on a windy day and hear the creaking. Better to get chainsaw out before it falls where we don’t want it to. Its wood will warm us in winter and we are grateful.

 

young saplings attend
but cannot stop life cycle
dryad’s dying scream

 

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photo by lynn

 

 

shimo no koe

Haibun is a Japanese form of prose and poetry (haiku) together.  I’m joining Victoria with dVerse Poets writing haibun about “first frost’s voice” (shimo no koe).


 

We actively anticipate the first frost of fall, working as a team ahead of the weather’s uncertain clock. The last tomatoes, some green ones, must be claimed off the vines and colorful peppers plucked from dying garden. This home-grown produce is chopped with harvested onions into tantalizing picante sauce to be admired in pint jars on shelf before smeared on tortilla chips.

Our prodigious pair of apple trees generously offer basketfuls of blushing fruit to family and friends willing to pick. The dropped or blemished fruit are treats rolled under fence to eager cows. Contentment wafts on spiced fragrance of apple-pie-in-a-jar syrup that simmers in large pot on basement stove. Steam from water bath canner spreads warm humidity indoors.

Fall rain dampens farmers’ spirits, swells soybeans in their pods, and muddies fields. “A killing frost is what we need” for corn stalks to die so matured ears plump with kernels can be harvested. The farmer checks weather forecast every night. At last, it steals in with the dawn, silently smothering the grass and finishing off the last droopy flowers.

 

icing on orchard

may ruin or ripen crops

winter’s first whisper

 

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photo by lynn

 

 

cicada song

Posting this haibun for dVerse Poets as we bid a long goodbye to sweet summertime.  Toni is hosting with an emphasis on “komorebi”, a Japanese word for the light that filters between trees…enjoy!

 

Our firstborn son’s house sits on a hill with a woodsy backyard and inviting patio where we celebrated mother’s day last spring. Now we embark on a final summer bike ride before our oldest grandchild starts school. It requires a little time and patience to find everyone’s helmet and shoes before hitching up the toddler carrier and deciding our route. To avoid riding on the busy narrow street, I and the two boys take a shortcut over grassy properties between shrubbery to meet grandpa and dad near the bike path.

My middle grandson points the way to “our lake” and we head down the steep path, gaining speed and testing brakes alternately. After a couple curves, the lake is in view below us. Wildflowers border the smooth concrete which ends at a dirt trail leading into the trees. Some tri-leaf plants look suspiciously like poison ivy so I google it while waiting with grandson for the other riders to catch up. His helmet is too loose and flops sideways again so I tighten the straps.

It’s gratifying to watch our son with his children at the lakeside park as he explores with them. We notice frogs of various sizes in the mud and a painted turtle on a submerged branch. My husband sits at lone picnic table with granddaughter as I try to keep up with the boys while maintaining a safe distance from a cattail swamp.

The sun plays hide and seek with puffy clouds above us and something, perhaps a fish, jumps as evidenced by the concentric rings expanding outward across the quiet water. The water too is partly cloudy, with some algael growth around its edges and a muddy bottom that gets stirred up by slightest movement of crawdad or minnow. A painted-lady butterfly flits from late dandelion head to wild morning glory bloom.

 

loud strumming in tree

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photo by lynn

camouflaged musician of

summer’s symphony

pannekoeken!

Remember home’s kitchen where cheery (if gaudy) yellow & green wallpaper, Mom’s gentle love, and Dad’s loud laughter surrounded our family eating at table booth by patio window.  Every Saturday morning, my Dutch-American mother served us Swedish pancakes (like crepes) stacked with butter and syrup, or rolled up with brown sugar inside or, occasionally, topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.  My best childhood friend, Joyce, would come overnight on Friday to savor the next day’s breakfast.  We’d smell fried sweetness upon awakening and hurry downstairs to kitchen in our pajamas.  Between delectable bites, we would giggle over private jokes and tease my younger brother.  Now I make these favorite pancakes for my hungry boys on Saturday mornings, and they quickly eat to see who gets the last one!  Mom’s recipe (“tweaked” over the years):  3 3/4 cups milk, 4 eggs, 2 1/2 cups white flour, 4 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla (cousin Ben’s addition), 1 tsp. salt and 4 TBS. cooking oil.  Heat round electric skillet to 350, spray hot pan, pour thin batter, turn once and serve warm, with love.
 

lick maple syrup

morning after sleepover

snow falling outside

 


Bjorn hosting haibun prompt where dVerse poets share special recipes…

no fear in love

There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear… I John 4:18

 

I’m not afraid of people who live with a mental illness. I feel empathy and compassion for them in their struggle. Most are not dangerous but very gentle, if overly sensitive souls. Instead of lashing out, they often desperately turn inward. They need to be listened to and comforted. Fears, both real and irrational, plague them. I know friends and relatives who’ve suffered mental illness. My father experienced a psychotic break at age 74 when his life circumstances produced the perfect storm. His disturbed mind, suddenly snapped into suicidal mode, which scared us all. A police officer saved him, family rallied around him, and he responded to treatment for bi-polar disorder. Thanks be to God, he is doing well in recovery with medication and a balanced lifestyle. No, I’m not afraid of a person with a mental illness…but I do fear suffering a serious mental illness myself.

 

secret storm swells dread

losing control of mind’s eye

uninvited guests

 


Participating in dVerse Poets haibun Monday on topic of fear…

can i pray for you?

 

Prayer is practicing the quiet presence of God.  It is crawling up into the lap of our abba – daddy and crying to hear him whisper comfort in our ear as he wraps us in his strong, everlasting arms.  Prayer is communion, connection, conversation; our privilege as children since Jesus opened door.  It may be a mighty wrestling, his will bending ours to grant a greater blessing than we can imagine.  In amazing love and grace, God invites us to pray and he initiates our prayers.  He wants us to come to him. In his presence, our brokenness begins to heal, our emptiness to fill. Prayer is relationship, not religion;  desire, not duty.  It is our lifeline; vital as breathing, inhale – exhale.  If we cannot pray?  Jesus intercedes, the Spirit groans and the family of God lifts us up, before his throne.

 

listen in silence

dew refreshes, green renews

spring rain for the soul

foreboding

 

How are we wandering Americans to know it’s Canada’s provincial parks camping weekend?  Of course, all campgrounds from Jasper to Banff are overflowing so we drive on. Sun is setting low over the pass when we find a lonely parking lot near trailhead where we can park our pickup camper for the night. Tired of riding, we decide to check out the trail as dusk settles on forest.

Light fades fast in the high country, exaggerating shapes and shadows.  Full skirts of fir trees appear as dark illustrations straight from the Brothers Grimm.  My apprehension only serves to amplify the crunch of pine needles and sounds of skittering.  We meet last pair of hikers coming back down trail and I note they have walking sticks equipped with bear bells.

 

night envelops trees

alpine woods bathed in shadow

autumn falls early

 


Poets at dVerse are writing haibuns and “forest bathing” this week!

sterling elocution

 

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. 

Like Solomon, who wrote these words, I find soul satisfaction in beautiful speech.  As a writer, I search for delicious words to be framed in serendipitous syntax.  I hope to pick ripe thoughts, artfully arrange them in woven-word baskets and serve a taste of lingual delights.  I admire skilled poets and appreciate how different poetic brushstrokes reveal textured perspectives; unique angles on life’s truth.  Flighty images of the mind settle to roost in solid words. Sentinel ideas on signposts outline silent spaces for contemplation.  Hand-in-hand, we meander world with senses alert to the wild call of hurricane winds or the fresh whisper of gentle breezes, then collectively record richly scripted delicacies for our hungry souls to feast on.

*Proverbs 25:11, BRG
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photo by lynn – Galveston beach

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