Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SILENT REFLECTION


Mystery Woman, David Joles, Star Tribune, Minneapolis, MN

David Joles had just left his workplace at the Minneapolis Star Tribune during a late winter snowstorm. The photographer detoured by the Fort Snelling National Cemetery to photograph the rows of white tombstones against a stark white background of fallen snowflakes. I’ve taken similar photographs at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC and Leavenworth, Kansas. The ordered rows of manicured grounds are sobering and awesome in their sheer numbers of visually geometric tributes to those who have served our great country and offered up the ultimate sacrifice.

As he scanned the blurred white surroundings with the lifeless “pen and ink” black outlines of trees in the background, a solitary black silhouette appeared through the lens. Joles instinctively realized that this was one of those serendipitous moments in life and pressed the shutter button on his camera. He captured a powerfully evocative scene with a mysterious dark figure wearing either a hooded winter coat or a black cloak to ward off the cold snow. She paused by a tombstone only briefly and then was gone. He didn’t want to interrupt even though his journalistic instincts always sought the details of any keeper image.

People have since speculated on the mystery woman and have considered that someone prompted to venture out into a snowstorm must have had a special occasion date to acknowledge such as a birth date, death date, wedding date, last date, etc. Certainly a more pleasant day would have made more sense if one was stopping by to pay their respects. I’ve stopped by gravesites when I was traveling with just a few minutes to visit a cemetery before I had another plane to catch. The weather wouldn’t have been a deterrent in that circumstance.

Joles now isn’t sure that it would be a good thing to know who the woman in black is or why she was there on such an unpleasant stormy day. He notes that “in her anonymity, she represents everybody.” We all can place ourselves or a loved one in that bleak surreal scene. We can all better understand the silent reflection that overcomes us at the gravesite of a loved one or a stranger that sacrificed his life for our freedom. We can all observe our own mortality reflected in the lone figure standing in stark contrast amongst all those restful spirits in a heavenly blanket of white snow that smothers all sound in the stillness of our soul.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

HOLY CHALICE HAIKU


Red Tulip, Greensboro, NC

Red tulip chalice,
symbolic of communion,
and blood shed for us,
raises a victory cup!




Sunday, March 27, 2016

BEACH HAIKU


Beach Escape, Wrightsville Beach, NC

A fusion of sand,
sky, spirit, magical light,
and relentless waves,
combine to create a beach.

Sand between your toes,
summer breezes through your hair,
cooling salt water,
and sunbeams warming your skin.

Escape to the beach,
listen to a reggae beat,
the sounds in the womb,
the heartbeat of breaking waves.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

WRITING HAIKU


Sunrise Spirit, Kiawah Island, SC

Haiku has its origins in thirteenth-century Japan as the opening to a longer oral poem. It was shortened seven centuries later to the traditional three-line poem with a 5/7/5 syllable count. Mini-haiku uses a 3/5/3 syllable count and some use only one or two words per line. However, the rules couldn’t apply to translations in foreign languages where the metrical syllables could not be retained leading to an evolution of more creative applications.

Enlightenment and illumination are often expressed. Haiku emphasizes simplicity and directness of expression from nature, but not always. The focus can be on a brief fleeting moment in time that evokes a sensory response to convey a feeling or image. It’s been noted that the secret to writing great haiku is to be observant and appreciative of your surroundings. If you observe something that prompts you to say “Look at that”, the experience is probably suitable for a haiku. The Japanese go for “ginkgo walks” to seek inspiration in their natural rural or even urban environments.

I find that haiku of four or more lines which are sometimes known as haiqua seem to follow more traditional lines of poetic expression without the restriction of applying only words that rhyme. Adverbs are optional and it’s OK to continue a phrase or thought on the following line. I like the 5/7/5 use of syllables per line and so I also expanded them to 5/7/5/7 for many of my haiku’s. The traditional Japanese haiku are written in a single vertical line. Each completed line prompts the next stream of consciousness. And good haiku engages the reader to join in the experience. Try it!

SUNRISE SPIRIT HAIKU
Walking to the beach,
at the first sign of daylight,
the wood access bridge,
glistened in the morning dew.

As light pierced darkness,
an ethereal figure,
stood still and alert,
as I quietly approached.

This regal egret,
had slept in the green lagoon,
and was awakened,
by my presence this new day.

Our kindred spirits,
joined that magical moment,
and walked together,
within a rainbow’s shadow.

Monday, March 21, 2016

BLACK FRIDAY HAIKU



Three on a Hill, Jamestown, NC
Bowed, Jamestown, NC


Three were led away,
carrying Roman crosses.
They were crucified,
high on the place of the Skull.

Two were criminals,
while the third was innocent.
One found faith at last,
and was forgiven by one.

The innocent one,
cried “Eloi, Eloi”.
It was the ninth hour.
“Why have you forsaken me?”

Three hours of darkness,
acquiesced to heaven's light.
And Jesus cried out,
as He bowed, “It is finished.”

Saturday, March 19, 2016

SPRING’S PROMISE HAIKU


Camellia Bud, Jamestown, NC

The promise of spring,
stirs the hearts of all ages.
Optimism reigns,
as the circle of life spins.

Seasons come and go,
and each one has a lesson.
Spring teaches us all,
that patience is rewarding.

The warmth of sunbeams,
finally stirs the bush's sap.
The young buds respond,
and unfurl ruffled collars.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

LEMON MERINGUE HAIKU


Springtime, Jamestown, NC

White blossoms of pear,
and yellow forsythia,
blend in the landscape,
as lemon meringue springtime.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

CAMILLIA HAIKU


Spring Camellia, Jamestown, NC

Spring camellias,
take their cue from the crocus.
When their shoots appear,
camellia blooms explode!


Sunday, March 6, 2016

CONCH CROCUS HAIKU


Conch Shell Crocus, Jamestown, NC

The young crocus shoots,
desperately seek sunshine,
and find sweet freedom,
through the shell’s broken surface.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

ATTACK NEIGHBOR


Beware, Summerfield, NC

I enjoy driving the back roads of rural America and the scenery never disappoints. And I’ve come across some beautiful landscapes and rather bizarre human creations over the years. One such serendipitous “road less traveled” took us to the property of a man who apparently spent his entire life creatively crafting weird creatures in metal all around his home place in rural western Kansas. When we stopped to walk around the artwork, we made the mistake of drifting into the open farm house. There on public display was the preserved corpse of the creator himself in a glassed viewing mausoleum, similar to the one housing Lenin in Russia.

Today’s Saturday morning drive with my obligatory Starbucks Grande Mocha revealed a rather bizarre tree of life (or death) in the middle of the small North Carolina hamlet of Summerfield. I’m not at all familiar with the relationship of the nearby neighbors, but the small plaque above the “No Trespassing” sign reads “Beware of Attack Neighbor”. The truncated tree limbs are wrapped in Tinsel and solar lights for the apparent night time viewing and irritation of anyone close by. The bizarre human trunks on the truncated tree limbs would seem to be mocking anybody that looks up at them and they are certainly “attention getters”.

There may be a “Hatfield and McCoy” feud going on in this sleepy little town or perhaps it’s just the work of another outlier of the human race that has found an outlet for imprinting his view of the world on all the fellow travelers who journey by!

HARBINGERS HAIKU


Harbingers of Spring, Jamestown, NC

HARBINGERS HAIKU

The season of Lent,
heralds the approaching spring,
as shade loving blooms,
decorate the forest floor.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

MONET SUNRISE HAIKU


Monet Sunrise, Jamestown, NC

MONET SUNRISE HAIKU

The great Creator,
swiftly moves the morning clouds,
and deftly colors,
the morning sky and water.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

REVERENCE HAIKU


Reverence, Jamestown, NC

Lenton roses rise,
and lift their faces in praise.
Then in reverence,
they bow to their Creator.

ROSE OF LENT


Lenton Rose, Jamestown, NC

A rose of Lent makes its entrance right on time clothed in angelic white.

NEW LIFE


Harbingers of Spring, Jamestown, NC

New Life emerging from winter's decay as we observe the season of Lent in anticipation of Easter resurrection.

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING


Attitude, Facebook Universe

I see so many diverse smiling faces of the friends of my friends on Facebook that I do not recognize, but it's good to see that they're all giving the camera and life their best shot! Attitude trumps all the little imperfections that no one but ourselves notice.

I do not know this young lady I scrolled by today, but she inspires all humanity with that attitude! And by that knowing, I do know her just a little and that makes all the difference.