growing old, haiku, humor, miracle, photography

Mundane Miracle – Pond

For me at least, a major consolation for the decreased mobility that comes with age is an increased appreciation of mundane miracles close to home.  One example is considered here; I hope to post a few more in coming months.

Long ago, I drove/flew/drove to a motel in the town on the western edge of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.  Soon afterwards, I hiked into the park, admired an alpine lake, ate a trail lunch, and hiked out in a thunderstorm that mocked my “waterproof” boots.  Nothing epic, but well beyond me now.  That’s OK.  I did it once (which was more than enough for the thunderstorm part).

Some people consider it a miracle when the government does something right.  Over the years since that trip to Colorado, the EPA adopted (and enforced!) vehicle emissions standards.  I can walk the roads near my house w/o being assaulted by trucks and school buses belching black diesel crud.  Their exhaust is still smelly and unhealthy, but not bad enough to ruin a walk on a breezy day.  So I can often walk about 1.5 miles to the far end of an artificial pond beside the road.  An artificial pond ringed by hilly pasture land is not the same as a natural lake ringed by mountains, but water is water and blue sky is blue sky.

sparkle-geese

kiyawana-sky

After a few rainy days, excess water in the pond rushes thru a culvert under the road and into the little brook that was dammed to create the pond. I can admire the exuberant splashing on the rocks in the brook w/o dwelling on the artificiality of the scene.

outflowoutflow-closeup

Sound of Sunlight

Rushing waters bring
joy to those who hear them sing
and see them sparkle.

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haiku, history

Motion in Haiku: 2 Surprises

Some fine haiku were among the few good things to come out of World War I.  My experiment with one of them provides a response to Carpe Diem Perpetuum Mobile #2 rainbows sparkle (or movement in haiku).  While refining my nuanced stance on the 5-7-5 Rule ( Helpful guideline? Yes! Firm requirement? No! ), I tried tweaking a few classic haiku that broke the rule.  Could something that was already good be improved by revisions to comply with 5-7-5?  In particular, I considered a World War I image by Maurice Betz.  Neither the French original nor the straightforward translation on page 50 of The Haiku Handbook (2013 edition) obeys 5-7-5.  This post ends by quoting the translated Betz haiku (which is utterly static) and my [5-7-5]-compliant version (which has both fast and slow motion).  I was surprised twice.Duck-Rabbit_illusion_439x242

  1. The history of the shell hole can be narrated succinctly within the confines of 5-7-5.
  2. I do not have a stable preference for either version.  Like someone viewing the classic ambiguous picture that can be seen as a duck facing one way or as a rabbit facing the other, I flip-flop between the still photo by Betz and the movie by me.

© Maurice Betz

A shell hole
In its water
Held the whole sky.

Redemptive Trickle

A shell exploded!
Water slowly filled the hole
and held the whole sky.

Image Source

  • Jastrow, J. (1899). The mind’s eye. Popular Science Monthly, 54, 299-312.
  • The soft copy used here has been downloaded and cropped.