New to haibun? The form consists of one to a few paragraphs of prose—usually written in the present tense—that evoke an experience and are often non-fictional/autobiographical. They may be preceded or followed by one or more haiku—nature-based, using a seasonal image—that complement without directly repeating what the prose stated.
Cherry trees struggle around my New England home as dynamic weather fronts roll in and out. Last week, we enjoyed 70 degrees F and today a bitter wind blows arctic temperatures around. A ‘wicked’ development according to local slang. So, to those plants and people not yet acclimated to our “on again, off again” ‘teasery’, there’s a danger of overcommitment and casual disregard for “what ifs”. A ‘shock and awe’ challenge to their comfortable existence often arises to their peril. Only the steady and sturdy can prevail in such uncertain weather. People would be wise to claim those same attributes in our uncertain world.
Cynical blossom Springs from exile cautiously A fruitful future
Our prompt is to write about an abrupt change in climate. Truth is ALWAYS stranger than fiction.
It was Mother’s Day and we were camping. May was the beginning of our seasonal camping and we brought shorts, hot dogs, marshmallows, and of course, cold beer on ice! The morning awakened us to a bone chilling drizzle and temperatures in the upper 40’s F. Mid morning brought winds and an arctic blast turning the drizzle to snow! Our disappointment could not be hidden as we added layers to our clothing for warmth. No one thought to bring mittens and scarves. We warmed soup, and coffee, and discussed heading for home when a midday sun broke through the clouds and blue skies lined the horizon. We shed layer after layer as the day moved along. By 4:00 pm, all the campers were wearing shorts and sandals under a bright sun that wasn’t done with us yet. It was 75 degrees F. and still warming! The breeze finally died away leaving us in a humid 88 degree swelter by 6:00 pm. That night, we ran fans and slept in t-shirts. This is a true story. We live in New England, U.S.A. where we have a saying: “This is New England. If you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes… it will change.”
My smile this week is due to our first glimpse of Spring last week. A few 60 degree F. days allowed for some nice long walks with my dog. Norah and I were each smiling! Up to that time, there were iced over sidewalks and bitter winds keeping us inside. The photo, below, is of the two of us last May. Today’s weather is 29 degrees F. with a bitter wind! When we least expect it in New England, there’ll be dog walking days again soon.
New England, and anywhere, where the seasons change, is a place which offers a microcosm of life in general. The lessons learned in this climate, are quite valuable to those who recognize them.
Again, my conservative leaning is influenced by Nature. My own opinion of liberalism is that it is weighed down by a too generous amount of emotion and ,in their extremes, both liberals and conservatives are inhibited by their own opinions that they somehow know exactly what is correct. Knowing everything definitely puts a hitch in the listening and learning and the solving process, no matter who you are.
When we consider a surgeon for a delicate corrective surgery. We do hope that he/she cares about the patient but I would have a great deal more faith in one who was cautious and analytical than one who was moved to tears at the sight of blood or the anticipation of pain. Some people might translate the surgeon’s calm as evidence that he/she didn’t care but calmness and forethought are necessary for success and the assumption that the finely tuned surgeon doesn’t care has no merit. Also, as much as anyone wants the operation to be over and the healing to begin, no individual wants the surgeon rushing through the procedure.
In New England, we learn how quickly change happens. The New England gardener/ farmer has to plan ahead because they’ve suffered every time they have gotten caught up in one season to the point of not preparing for the next.
Do overs just don’t work as well as preplanned, especially in Nature.
I noticed some lovely outdoor tulip pots at a local supermarket, a few days ago. They contained forced tulips for the gardeners who hoped to have a lovely spring garden but did not plant bulbs the previous Fall. I remember the Fall assortment that was passed by while folks were planning for Halloween. Those who did buy the bulbs are now casually passing by those forced tulips with a confidence that their garden has the better chance of success. The people buying up the potted tulips want a tulip garden, just as much, as the bulb planters but the forced tulips are counting on events beyond anyone’s control for their success. The weather must warm, the plants must adapt and the ground must soften. Timing is critical to the success of this year’s tulip garden for the unprepared. I want everyone to have gardening success and I’ll bet the gardeners with the potted tulips will be unhappy if things don’t work out. Personal responsibility is owned by those bulb planters and cry, as the late gardeners may, many won’t understand that they had had other choices.
Wanting success is everyone’s goal but setting ourselves up for success takes a calm, analytical approach and the firm belief that just wanting something does not outweigh the power of figuring out how best to get it.
A gimmick is all that it took these days. Dolly was running her own campaign. She was determined to become the first female president of the United States. If anyone proposed that her name was too cutie-pie, she was prepared to remind folks of the famed first lady Dolley Madison.
Dolly was starting her journey by embracing her differences and defining herself. Oh yes, her approach was sexist. A chimp in a suit coat, tie and diaper, adorned her poster with the slogan,” Time for a change?”
Heck, the men would laugh and the women could identify and the animal lovers? Well, they were also included.
As a stand-up comic, Dolly knew that comic relief was what her beloved country sorely needed. Comedy was the most powerful, feel-good unifying force. She was tired of the bickering and half-truths. Dolly knew that you could say anything if it was funny. Time that the populace learned to laugh at themselves and move on.
Hmmmm…How could she work the idea of a movement into the diaper theme? Aw crap…she’d think of something. HA!
Her committee of followers had set up her first press conference at a New England inn. She had decided to wear clothing in only shades of purple. Red,White and Blue were combined and so, too ,the whole nation would become with her leadership.
Of course, the date chosen for her debut was Mother’s day. It was her hope to have mothers unite on her behalf. No more “smoke and mirrors”. She was no one’s puppet either. Just a mom who could do better than those chest-thumping boobs have done.
Dolly chuckled when she delighted, once again, in the image of the chimp AND that diaper. As long as she tapped into the frustration of average Americans, her agenda of improvement would carry the day.
As she prepared to take the microphone, Dolly looked from the podium out over the orchards on that farm. The trees were ancient and yet still orderly and fruitful. Her eyes filled with tears, just for a moment. She was going to remind herself of the orchard throughout the business of campaigning. Old yet orderly and fruitful…how she loved her country. A mother’s agenda is selfless . Her mission to create self-sufficient citizens is universal. Her love cannot be compromised.
She began her speech. ” I am a mother, a proud American and a woman. I’ve learned to diagnose illnesses, I am most capable of remembering moments and I know how to ask for directions. A mother is a child’s first hero and I want to be our country’s hero! Take my hand …”
The roads are a little slick today and snow continues to sugar-coat the area.
When you live in New England, traveling at all in the winter is not a guarantee. This winter has been very easy on us. The series of alternating freezing and balmy temps have kept accumulating snow at bay. (I am worried about my perennial flowers though. Snow cover is much better for them.) Anyway, there is a feeling that most New England dwellers may identify with. I call it the “stocked-up feeling”.
This morning my husband dropped me at the supermarket as he ran banking errands. The slippery travel awakens a survival instinct to stock up just in case the weather worsens and you are housebound. Intellectually, I know we have provisions that could keep us easily for a month in our freezer but stocking the refrigerator and making sure pet food and toilet paper is abundant, makes me feel safe and cozy. There’s nothing quite as cozy as knowing you have enough coffee for a year.
So as I sit here at my keyboard, I am at peace…there’s bulk hamburger in my frig and 200 more q-tips in my bathroom. Mother nature can bring it on!
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