flowers, haiku, photography, seasons

Snow Fall

Carpe Diem Haiku Kai has the theme “autumn leaves” for November of 2020 and the subtheme “colors of life” for the CDHK episode posted 2020-11-17.  Where I live, snow rarely falls before the leaves do.  When it does, the resulting colors may foretell the colors of awakening life in the coming spring.
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Carpe Diem #1839 colors of life

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Snow Fall
|Bright white and strong pink:
|early snow on burning bush
|predicts apple blooms.

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humor, photography, seasons

Four Months in the Hudson Valley

This post’s little ode takes some poetic license.  I really can do some of my raking in September (when some dingy leaves fall) and defer much of the rest (to after October).  But I cannot entirely avoid October raking.  The leaves blown into the garage would be above my ankles, and any dropped bolts or keys might never be seen again.
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The prophet month has come and gone:
|July foretold the fall.

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Then August did its autumn tease:
|sly hints and that was all.

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September barked “Start raking leaves!”
|I did not hesitate.

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October, just around the bend,
|was when such chores must wait.

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language, philosophy, photography, science, seasons

Emergent Leaves and More

Much more.  Careful consideration of emergent things provides some hints about how to live fully and righteously on a little blue planet in a big oblivious universe.  Does that sound too grandiose?  Let’s start small, with some spring leaves and two ways to make adjectives.
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Turning Verbs into Adjectives

While we do it mostly by adding the suffix [-ing] (and maybe tweaking the spelling), we sometimes add [-ent] (or [-ant]) instead.  There is a subtle but important difference when we turn [emerge] into an adjective.  Leaves emerge and then go about the business of growing and photosynthesizing.  It would be a little better to say that my photo shows “emerging leaves” because there is no “and then” for emergent things.  They just are emergent.  What they emerge from is still there.

For example, look again at my photo, not as leaves but as an image.  It emerges from about 700,000 pixels encoded with about 480 KB of data in JPEG format.  That matters if I want to e-mail it to somebody who pays for data flow over a slow connection.  For many other purposes, to fret about the underlying pixels and bytes is a waste of effort.  The shapes and colors and composition are not in the pixels themselves.  They emerge from the way the pixels are arranged and interact with each other and the viewer.

My mild misuse of the [-ent] suffix for emerging leaves is a point of departure for considering bigger issues, not just a bow to the exact wording of Patrick Jennings’ challenge:

Emergent ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #232 – Pix to Words

Poetic Naturalism

Once we start looking for emergent things, we find that the world teems with them.  (Water, ice, and steam all emerge from crowds of the same kind of molecule.)  We find that fretting about “ultimate reality” may well be as pointless as trying to understand my photo by always diving down into those 480 KB and never looking at the emergent image.  While some contexts demand a deep dive, others demand a shallow one.

One of many places with examples and discussion of various emergent phenomena is Sean Carroll’s book The Big Picture, which somehow manages to be a good read (and a mostly easy one) despite dealing with deep stuff in science and philosophy while being fair to other viewpoints.

While nothing in science is nailed down as tightly as 3+2 = 5 in math, there is much evidence that we are in a tiny corner of a vast universe that goes its own way with no overall design or purpose or supernatural intervention.  Can we live fully and righteously in a cosmos that does not give a rat’s ass about beauty or goodness?  In much more detail than I can hope to put into a blog post, Carroll argues that we can.  Emergence is part of the story.

Tho a little queasy about Carroll’s use of the phrase [poetic naturalism] to name his upbeat attitude in the face of knowledge that would depress many people, I can’t think of a better name or a better attitude.

Don’t despair if love and justice seem as fanciful as unicorns when U consider only the underlying dance of atoms and molecules.  Love and justice may be real enough, but emergent.

 

flowers, humor, photography, seasons

Nothing Needed

Long ago, I bought some dwarf tulip bulbs and went thru the forcing rigamarole to get indoor blooming before planting the bulbs.  Nothing but leaves came up.  Feh.  Tossed the bulbs out back.  Guess what happened about a year later.
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Nothing ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #231

Yes, the bulbs survived and put out leaves.  And flower stalks.  Which bloomed.

Year after year, the discarded tulips bloom in spring, while I do nothing for them.  Maybe they are old Yankees like me: compulsively self-reliant.

flowers, haiku, love, photography, seasons

Widower’s Song #4

The first three are haiku in a previous post.  This new one is a tanka in response to a CDHK prompt.  A vase with this special urn’s shape and colors would have pleased Edith, and that means a lot to me.
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Carpe Diem #1814 lost love

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Widower’s Song #4: This Urn
|It held her ashes,
|waiting until daffodils
|came for them in spring.
|Then it held one last bouquet
|of her favorite flowers.

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photography, seasons, serendipity

Two Visual Illusions

Follow the photons.  The backstory of one illusion begins far away and ends on a window pane.  The backstory of another illusion turns day into night, but not in the same way as the challenge that inspired this post.
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A ghostly translucent squid seems to hover in midair between the viewer and nesting herons.  No, I did not combine a heron image with a squid image in my photo editor.

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The photo is of a page from National Wildlife magazine, taped to window glass and lit from the outside.  (The page blocks a reflection of the sun from a neighbor’s window.)  The squid looks a good deal closer than the herons despite being farther away, but only by the thickness of the page.  The illusion in real life is just like the illusion in the photo.

The photo below illustrates a haiku about a bright full moon shining thru autumn leaves.  Is it really the moon or just a flood light?  Neither.

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The photo was taken by daylight.  The sun was above and behind me, but the light was dappled by unseen leaves (between me and the sun) before reaching the leaves I photographed.  I was hoping for some chiaroscuro and got more than expected by sheer dumb luck.  Most of the photographed leaves were in shade.  Thanks to some unusually reflective green leaves that were in bright sun behind the colored ones, those colored leaves seem to be transmitting light from behind them when they are actually reflecting light from in front of them (and behind me).

The photos displayed above were chosen from among several exposure settings, then edited only by cropping.  More extensive editing may be needed to create other illusions or to compensate for differences between how cameras and eyes see things.  In particular, consider the challenge that inspired this post:

Illusions ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #213

Here are smaller versions of the images displayed in the challenge:

Desaturating a deliberately underexposed photo turned day into night.  At any single exposure setting, a photo of the contrasty daylight scene would be either washed out in light areas or blacked out in dark areas.  (Maybe both.)  Editing merged several exposures to approximate how the scene looked to human eyes.  Visit the challenge for more details on HDR editing and a fine haiku with no technical prerequisites.

haiku, photography, seasons, serendipity

Between Seasons in 2019

Where I live, 11-19 is usually too late for fall colors and too early for snowflakes.  Recent past and near future met when Fortune smiled on an out-of-season CDHK challenge posted 2019-11-14.
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Carpe Diem #1781 The Quest For A New Masterpiece Continues … colorful autumn

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Between Seasons #1
|Lost autumn colors,
|but garden flag remembers.
|Snow on power lines.

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The rules and examples for this challenge allow marking the cut with punctuation and tweaking the cut when swapping the initial and final lines.  Let’s do that.

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Between Seasons #2
|Snow on power lines.
|But garden flag remembers
|lost autumn colors.

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haiku, humor, photography, seasons

Fall Frolic

October is Chores Can Wait Month.  I took a short walk that inspired a haiku, but the chore gremlins got their revenge when the haiku generated yet another chore.  That’s OK.  Writing about the nuts and bolts of haiku beats raking leaves.
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Fall Frolic #1
|Dancing on the breeze,
|ignorant of gravity:
|red leaf in blue sky.

Nuts and Bolts

My haiku has “#1” in its title to distinguish it from a similar haiku Fall Frolic #2.  I prefer #1.  Why bother with #2 at all?  The answer to that question helps answer some others.

Fall Frolic #1 implicitly poses a riddle, then provides the answer.  Who is the ignorant dancer?  More subtly, why is (s)he said to be dancing “on” (not “in” or “with”) the breeze?  The basic structure is the same as in Jane Reichold’s classic

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Haiku © Jane Reichold superimposed on
Photo © Vladlena Azima | ShutterStock

Now consider swapping the initial and final lines of my riddle haiku:

Fall Frolic #2
|Red leaf in blue sky,
|ignorant of gravity:
|dancing on the breeze.

While #2 describes the same scene #1, it lacks the suspense and resolution of the riddle structure.  While both versions work, #1 works better.  I still owe U an explanation: why bother with #2 at all?

The first draft for what eventually became #1 had initial and final lines that were very close to the corresponding lines in #2.  The middle line had an entirely different way of hinting that the leaf’s freedom is a temporary illusion, between being stuck on the tree and stuck on the ground.  The first draft’s hint would have been too obscure w/o either an appropriate picture or the explicit scene setting done by the initial line in #2.

Already unhappy with the first draft’s middle line, I swapped initial and final lines on a whim.  The resulting riddle structure was motivation to get serious about clarifying the middle line.

Some haiku poets strive to have the initial and final lines be interchangeable.  Unless I am responding to a challenge calling for haiku that work just as well when the initial and final lines are swapped, I usually do not consider swapping.  Too gimmicky and arcane.  But a swap while revising might help answer the eternal writers’ questions

Am I saying what I want to say?

Am I saying it clearly?

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haiku, humor, philosophy, politics, seasons

Vampire Bunny at a Haiku Party

Follow tradition or push the envelope?  Normal or weird?  (Normalcy spiked with weirdness?)  Haiku or senryu?  This crowd does not fret about simplistic dichotomies.  Let’s get some saké and join the party.
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Haiku poems often want (and sometimes need) to interact with images or prose, as in haiga or haibun.  Here is a gathering of ten haiku that could stand alone if they had to.  (Some would rather not.)  They have been invited to come here and interact with just each other, while enjoying some good saké (or whatever).

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Overlay © Incognito – Russian Federation | 123RF Stock Photo

A haiku inspired by an image may or may not speak to readers who have not seen the image.  It’s hard for the writer to make this call objectively.  That’s OK.  As Stephen Jay Gould often told readers of his articles in Natural History, perfect objectivity is a myth anyway.  (The path from my raw data to “facts” that matter to me depends on my cultural baggage and personal experience.)  Rather than pretend that my judgement calls are objective, I try to compensate for my biases.  In particular, some of my haiku were not invited to the party because they might be too dependent on their inspirations to stand alone.  That’s OK too.  Unlike me, they are not compulsively self-reliant.

Like some of the other guests, October was originally posted in a haiga or haibun context.  That’s why the title it wears as a name tag is also a link.  (When a pale yellow background indicates that several such guests arrived together from the same place, only one of them has a link.)  Click on a link to see the guest(s) interact with an image or some prose that adds to the experience of the haiku.

Seen in Spring
|Kelly green moss on
|rocks near the clear quiet stream
|with water striders 
|October
|Bright sun and cool air;
|azure skies and pumpkin pies.
|Leaves fall in glory. 
Who Miscounted?
|This so-called “haiku”
|ignores five-seven-five, so
|it’s not a haiku.
 
|Deciduous
|Lifeless?  No, leafless.
|Trees hold their breath all winter,
|exhale leaves in spring. 
This is Not Apollo 13
|Is failure an option?
|No, it is a given.
|But we will still try. 
|No Pots of Gold
|Seek ends of rainbows.
|You will not find them? Okay.
|The quest is enough. 
Fiscal Responsibility
|Debts rise; incomes fall.
|Hard times demand bold action:
|tax cuts for the rich! 
|Seize the Breeze
|Helicopter seeds
|fall from maples and travel
|far enough, this once. 
What’s for Lunch?
|Mosquitoes in flight
|are seen as meat on the hoof
|by a dragonfly. 
|Vampire Bunny
|With coprophagy
|as the alternative,
|you might suck blood too. 
haiku, music, photography, seasons

See and Hear the Start of Spring

As the year pivots from winter to spring, crocus plants bloom and little frogs croak.  We celebrate with a photo and a tanka.  Yes, the tanka’s title and first line contain oxymorons.  They are like the phrase “song without words” in the titles of several musical compositions.
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Wordless Oratorio
|Singing silent songs
|of long warm days returning,
|bee and bloom duet.
|In vernal pools near bare trees,
|spring peepers chant the chorus.
growing old, haiku, photography, seasons

Early Spring Snow Shower

Unaware of what lies below them, snowflakes fall thru air that is barely above freezing.  Aware of what lies ahead of me, I rejoice in a partial workaround for growing old.
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Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Feelings of Spring

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Ground Already Warm
|Falling thru cold air,
|oblivious snow flakes will
|melt on the blacktop.

[2019-03-22]  Bummer.  I want to photograph the inspiration for my haiku, but my old hands cannot go more than a few seconds w/o thick gloves in cold weather.

Hmmm.  Tho unheated, my garage gets some warmth leaking from the furnace.  I put on a pair of thin gloves that can be worn while doing some things that previously required bare hands.  I open the garage door and look outside while standing just inside the garage.  Maybe I can work enough of the camera’s buttons while wearing the thin gloves.

The lens zooms too quickly for fine control.  I cannot move forward or backward to compensate for zooming too far out or in.  Oh well, I can crop the image later to compensate for zooming too far out.  Is there a serviceable view in some direction from where I can stand w/o getting too cold?  Hmmm.  I try five views and go with the last one.

While it does illustrate my haiku, my photo is admittedly not of standalone quality.  I can live with that.  Any partial workaround for growing old is a small triumph to savor.

history, language, photography, seasons

Solstice Salutation

Whether a person lives fully and righteously is vastly more important than which religion (if any) helps them do so.  But I still wish people “Merry Xmas” in late December.  Can anybody suggest something with more pizzazz than the generic salutations but w/o religious implications?
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When I say Merry Xmas (pronounced like “MEH-ree KRIS-muhs”), it might be heard as an unwelcome hint that the hearer is (or should be) a Christian.  I suppose I should say something like Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings instead, but the generic salutations for this time of year sound bland and vague to ears as old as mine.  Can anybody suggest something with more pizzazz but w/o religious implications?

I decorate for the winter solstice (with multicultural Xmas lights and wreaths) and hope it is OK to wish U a

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Merry Xmas!