Let’s write our haibun that references the heart, in whatever context that you conceive. For those 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.
When animals hibernate in the winter, their hearts slow to a barest minimum for sustaining life. I often imagine frogs at the bottom of a pond or chipmunks in channels below the ground living life as a faint whisper one soft infrequent heartbeat at a time. In those long pauses is a mysterious hushed eternity that leads to an electrical instant of reclaiming life. Almost dead…ALIVE…almost dead...ALIVE…
Some say winter is a time of silence, of nothingness. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Can you hear it? Winter is a thrumming pause when Mother Nature’s life-pulse is the loudest to those persevering toward the Spring.
“Hush now” winter wind, Hasten life to fill the void. Her whispered rhythm.
My vacation at camp was mostly miserable. We were daunted by heat and humidity to the point of sitting in the shade and not daring to move. It felt like horribly wasted time.
BUT, There was one curiosity that we experienced on a nightly basis. This mystery gave me one bright interest in the midst of all the misery and sulking. At dusk, and through the wee hours, we were visited by an odd crying in the night. It was creepy. It seemed to move freely around the perimeter of our camp. The considered explanations were a new bug, a fox lamenting the loss of a young one or a tree frog we hadn’t before known.
As the week went on, my curiosity outweighed my fear of the unknown. There was not a rustle in the bushes when the sound jumped locations. The thought of a bird being the culprit was all that was left. But what kind of bird?
This has been a year of raptors. My backyard in Massachusetts has had daily sightings of hawks, young and old. Other reports of hawks in greater numbers have flooded the Facebook posts of my friends too.
My last late evening brought out the daring in me. I recorded the sound on my camera and pursued it while the twilight still afforded me a view. Suddenly, I raised my hand in victory and followed the path of an owl silhouetted in brief flight above my head. AHA! The owl landed and reproduced his squeaking lament. We finally had an answer. But why didn’t it hoot like an owl? Why did it carry on and on giving away its position?
My son-in-law was able to access the web from his phone and searched for more answers. He found a site which offered immature owl sounds and found that our old friend, the barred owl, must have had young. One of which was squealing in our area. (Gee, I so wish that I had been able to see them in daylight.) I believe there is more than one. Now, as the days grow delightfully cooler, I have an interest in finding and photographing our new neighbors.
The first video below shows you the immature barred owl making the squeal that we have been hearing. It doesn’t seem like much until you consider it as a foreign forest sound from the dark.
The second video shows you what we will be hearing in greater frequency soon.
As I’m sitting before this blank screen today, I’m listening to an occasional car pass by. There is a cat bird somewhere out there too. I was about 40 years old before I took an interest in birds and the sounds in nature. I guess everything has it’s time and, with so much to learn in one lifetime, we choose our priorities.
I believe it was the puzzle that enticed me to pay attention. I love puzzles and just don’t like not knowing things.It’s not to be a smarty pants. I realized how many folks had misinformation and felt it my duty to pass on the truth. I figured they hadn’t found their time to listen yet and I could be their investigator for “time-saving” knowledge.
My interest peaked about 12 years ago when we purchased 30 acres of woodland in New York State. That August, my husband had been clearing brush and reported hearing (what he believed were) tree frogs. This didn’t make sense to me. Frogs wouldn’t mate that close to Fall, would they? The sound was definitely foreign to me which I found really interesting since I had spent many years out-of-doors within miles of our land. I happened to be reading a book devoted to grasshoppers and katydids. (See, my nature interests stirred up just at the right time!) It was a journal from a naturalist and it described a sound that seemed to fit the mystery. My Mom had the first computer in our family. She was happy to bring up a site of nature sounds for me.( among them were katydids.) “That’s it!” I shouted. The mystery had been solved! After that, I told many locals who did not know what that delightful “creaking” chorus of the night was. I passed the knowledge on to those who cared. Some even argued when their misinformation was challenged. I stood firm and proud of my investigation.
The next year, I found an amazing looking frog clinging to the side of my camper. He was gray and greenish with the cutest suction cup fingertips. I had wondered what he was and took him home to a terrarium that I had set up just for one week. He was a gray tree frog, a usually unseen inhabitant of woodlands. I say HE because,luckily, I had found a male. His blacken throat and awesome song provided those clues of his gender. Believe it or not, his trill was a sound that had puzzled me during the daytime. Two mysteries had been uncovered. I returned him to the place where he was found.
My granddaughter and I sit and listen in the forest almost every weekend. I am pointing out the correct information and she is an eager naturalist-in-training. Wouldn’t it be cool if she used this knowledge and interest to become a scientist one day? THAT will be up to her. At least, she’ll have a head start in that area!
To be greeted with a sweet song in the morning and the same one at day’s end.
The song of the American Robin. Sweet music at both ends of a summer day.
TRUE STORY: I once had one of those clocks which rang a bird song on each hour. 7:00 am was the American Robin. My work day began at 6:00 am and so I became very accustom to the robins after I was up and running. On my weeks vacation in the forest, I heard their lovely morning serenade only to jump out of a quasi-sleep announcing,”I’m late!”
The hardest part of the summer heat is that my windows are closed and my air-conditioner is the only sound.
I relish those days at camp where the sweetest voices make me smile before I open my eyes to a new day.
Since so many other online writers have blogs dedicated to their writings, I’ve decided to jump onto the bandwagon. All posts published here will be either fiction or poetry, some new, and some previously published on various places on the Internet. Some of my works are conventional, and some are quirky. All fiction posted here, except for fan fiction, will include the letters "rose" somewhere, as a tribute to my Baba.