Mountains hold past snow;
clouds hold threats of future snow.
Nothing falling now.
… were her favorite flowers, so cheery and dependable in early spring.
I scattered her ashes among daffodils.
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
My response to
could be called a “fibo-bun” because it is like a haibun but has syllable counts from the Fibonacci sequence in the haiku part.
Several cultures have responded to the long nights of winter with festivals or structures celebrating light at roughly the time of the solstice. While not quite old enough to have personal memories of Stone Age passage tombs aligned with the sunrise (on a few of the several days that amounted to the solstice with Stone Age time-keeping), I do remember multicolored Hanukkah candles and the cheerful chiaroscuro of multicolored Xmas lights draped over trees and large shrubs.
Nowadays I see mostly different kinds of Xmas lights. Some people set out ugly jumbles of inflated Santas and other symbols of the gifting frenzy; others outline their houses with harshly uniform white lights. But some still carry forward the old Xmas lighting tradition (with LED-s now). And the glorious vocal music of Hanukkah and Xmas still transcends the literal meanings of the verses (2 of which inspired my titles here).
Darkness worse than long nights and garish decorations hangs heavy in today’s air. Maybe this darkness will also recede. My lights are up.
Yet in the Darkness Shineth
winter solstice celebration
defies dark tribal hatred to sing of love and light.
I have gotten my electricity from Central Hudson for many years. This year, I also got some deeply discounted LED bulbs and a tiny chance to win a contest.
There are 36 finalists in Central Hudson’s Fall Foliage Photo Contest for 2017 (out of 180 entries). My entry is among the finalists, but winning is unlikely. That’s OK. A flyer for the contest was enclosed with my electric bill; it was a good day for a short local walk; I wanted to learn by doing with a new camera; I got lucky.
To see some good illustrations of why fall is the best season of the year in the Hudson Valley, U can visit the album page on Facebook with cropped thumbnails of the finalists. Click on a thumbnail to see the full image.
The contest is judged by counting Facebook [Like]-s. U can [Like] as many photos as U wish. Voting ends at noon on Tuesday, 2017-11-21. To have your vote(s) count, U must also visit Central Hudson’s main page on Facebook and click [Like] there. Central Hudson is indeed likable as an enterprise. They deliver the juice well, encourage conservation, and facilitate buying juice generated from renewable sources if the customer is willing and able to pay accordingly.
My own photo got some postprocessing on the computer to make the image more like the experience, but I refrained from goosing the image beyond the experience (and from [Like]-ing my own photo):
I liked many of the photos and decided to [Like] 2 photos that had unusual compositions and bright (but believable!) colors:
Tattered old gold still glows.
But is it really silver?
Or some nameless pearlish color?
Shifting light; flaky white balance; …
Ultimate reality is elusive (or maybe illusory).
All photos in my response to
were taken by daylight on sunny late winter mornings in 2017, using the same dried silver dollar plant in the same corner of the same room. The old camera’s unpredictable white balance sometimes lucked into interesting images. It also inspired a riff connecting an old Beatles song to a recycling incentive, but the old camera was replaced after showing more signs of senility.
Another response to the same challenge shows that silver dollar plants sometimes do look golden in natural light!
My previous posts about waiting for autumn were not CDHK responses. My response to
Carpe Diem #1227 waiting for autumn
(Aki tikashi, Aki wo matsu)is to update and reblog them. They fit the prompt better than anything else I can offer now.
Soon after the wild daylilies have finished blooming, another flower in my yard turns to prophecy. The pale blue blossoms are long gone, but a few of the leaves on a few of the plants have another calling now. For about a day, they prophesy the next season.
Prophet for a Day
(just one leaf for just one day)
turns in high summer.
As happens in many years where I live, late August of 2015 was a sneak preview of fall, the year’s best season:
Days are still too warm, but more are dry and breezy while fewer are hot and humid. A few cool nights lead to chilly mornings, and I suddenly notice that my garden flag with a picture of phlox is out-of-season. The roadsides have goldenrod and purple loosestrife now.
Virginia creeper is turning, as are some red maples in wet areas. Nearly all the healthy trees are still green, but there is a hint of yellow in many of those greens. The process will slow to a crawl in September; I will spend much of that month grumbling when the weather backslides and thinking “C’mon! C’mon!” when I look at green leaves.
Bright sun and cool air;
azure skies and pumpkin pies.
Leaves fall in glory.
Seen in Spring
Kelly green moss on
rocks near the clear quiet stream
with water striders
Stained Glass in Spring
Leaves and seeds glow as
sunlight nourishes new life.
A recent post by Christy Draper on Dancing Echoes honors the start of the epic autumn migration of monarch butterflies with a photo and a haiku, both beautiful. After effectively reblogging that post below, I continue the story with another haiku and a tanka.
When I worked in a building with a glass wall overlooking a broad lawn, I sometimes drew strength from the sight of migrating monarchs trudging thru the air with steady wing beats. They were doing what they had to do, and I returned to doing what I had to do.
Originally posted as Autumn Monarchs | Dancing Echoes:
Tumble from atop the trees
Black and orange leaves
• • •
migrating to Mexico:
orange wings of will.
~ ~ ~ ~
Tiring as I trudge
toward an unseen distant goal,
I see the monarchs.
Mexico is far away,
but they will get there someday.
A Google image search led to the images in this post; clicking on them will jump to the source credits at the end. The haiku in this post is my response to
with special thanks to one of Jane’s haiku about winter:
© Jane Reichold
heavy and dark with holding
Cold. Pond iced over.
Silent snow on tomb-like mound.
Beavers wait it out.
However bleak and dark it may be, winter is unlike the bleak dark periods of history. Winter’s onset and duration are roughly predictable. Like beavers, those who prepare can often endure. Too bad history is not like that.
I wrote the haiku while commenting on a wintry post by Poet Rummager that I liked. The post did not mention snow or beavers, but inspiration is quirky. Tho I liked my haiku enough to post it all by itself, I decided to wait until I had found images that would clarify it for readers unfamiliar with the way beavers wait out winter in their lodges. Those who would like to see more detail can find it on a very readable webpage that was created for course requirements at Hamilton College.
The photo of the outside of a lodge in winter is from a well-illustrated post by Harlan Schwartz on the Canadian Canoe Routes website. The photo was shared on PhotoBucket and downloaded from there.
The drawing of the inside of a lodge in winter is from the book Why the Adirondacks Look the Way They Do by Mike Storey (Nature Knows Best Books, 2006). The drawing was reproduced in a very positive online review by Paul Grondahl and downloaded from there.
2016 in the Hudson Valley
Wind and rain impaired
October’s color pageant.
Still the year’s best month.
Lifeless? No, leafless.
Trees hold their breath all winter,
exhale leaves in spring.
I consulted the plants in my yard for my first response to
but I did not consult my plants this time. They might be shocked.
Spring from Another Viewpoint
One fat little bird
welcomes spring in its own way.
Cherry buds are food.
After the winter,
green plants spring back to savor
warmth and longer days.
The story begins millions of miles away, where the sun emits photons even more copiously than the pols emit factoids. Minutes later, a tiny fraction of the photons bounce off a neighbor’s window, pass thru my window, and hit me in the eye. There are many ways I would love to emulate people like Bach or Galileo; going blind is not one of them.
Yes, I could pull the drapes. But only a small portion of my window needs to be obscured. Would rather not waste winter sunshine. Yes, I could buy a window decal. Most of the decals I have seen are cutesy. The rest make a statement:
I am as ugly as a warthog with zits,
but the jerk who owns this dump
bought me as a decoration. Ha!
Of course, I am dissing only the decals I have seen, not any other decal U may have and like.
The Dec/Jan 2016 issue of National Wildlife magazine has photos from the annual NWF photo contest, including a photo of nesting herons by Mario Labado and a photo of a squid by Jackie Reid. I read the magazine on paper (yes, I am that old), and it so happens that the photos are on opposite sides of the same thin sheet, w/o much else to clutter what is seen when bright light passes thru. The fraction of duplex printed sheets that look at all good when both sides are seen at once is like the fraction of photons emitted by the sun that bounce off my neighbor’s window: tiny.
So I cut out the sheet and taped it to my window. The image of the squid is actually on the far side; the illusion of being closer than the herons is the same in my house as in my photo.
The composite image is indeed clumsy as a visual metaphor for the interconnectedness of life, but it does tone down the excess sunlight. It cost nothing beyond what I already spent to help support the NWF, and it looks better than a warthog with zits.