potatoes, cold mornings and bridges

We’re approaching the final stretch of my month of haiku now, and I’m feeling like I could actually continue this beyond July. Imagine how many haiku I could write in all the life ahead of me?

What I’ve started to worry about, however, is that I’m going to repeat certain themes, lines or phrases from one haiku to another. I actually pondered this back on July 11th, and wrote this piece:

How many haiku,
Already written, and still…
Many more waiting

Is it possible to exhaust all possible compositions of these three-line poems? With such finite syllables, surely you could only do so much? Continue reading

and the haiku-writing continues…

Looks like July has become the month of haiku-writing for me. I’m really enjoying this, and it really makes me smile to be able to look back on the haikus and the little memories they contain. I’ve tried the 100 Happy Days Challenge before, and I’ve kept daily gratitude journals before, but I think those things always focussed on the obvious joys (e.g. went to a concert, hung out with a friend, had dinner at this place, watched a movie, had a sleep in, etc)

And some days I had to search for little things to be happy/grateful about, but I also feel like it got repetitive after a while too.

It’s only two weeks into this daily haiku thing, so maybe it’s a bit too early to judge, but it feels like this challenge is making me look outside myself more, to seek wonder more so than happiness. I’m sure there’s a scientific paper somewhere that says wonder is an important feeling/sensation that all people should try to experience as much as possible.

But I think the other thing that sets this apart from other gratitude projects, is that instead of just taking and captioning a photo, or simply recalling every good thing that happened that day — instead of these relatively quick processes, haiku requires you to take inspiration, and then mould that to fit your finite syllables. In this process, you might have to shuffle words around, find alternative ways of describing something, and really focus on the most important aspects that you want to convey.

In short, there’s a lot involved! But it’s still pretty simple, and I maintain that anyone with a basic grasp of language can do it. Continue reading

daily haiku: week 1

I’ve now finished seven days of writing daily haiku, so I thought it would be a good idea to look back and share some of my favourites. It’s actually been more than seven days, if you want to get technical about it, since I actually started thinking up haikus before the start of July. My mind was sort of preparing itself for the challenge, like warming up before a marathon.

Since July started on a Monday, the start of the work week, I tended to think up haiku on my way to work: while walking to the bus stop, on the bus, in my car, or while cycling. (Yes, my commute was very varied last week.) This meant that several of my haiku are related to the outside world: nature, meteorological phenomena, animals, etc. Whatever I observed gained automatic consideration for haiku topics. Continue reading

a capital autumn

I had written up a short post on Saturday morning, and I thought I’d published it successfully from my phone, but now I cannot find it amongst my published, draft, scheduled or discarded posts, so I have no idea what happened to it.

But, whatever, there wasn’t much in it. Just that this week has been a bit busy. Add to that an impromptu trip to Canberra, and it hasn’t left me much time to blog. Even so, I’m not ready to break my long-standing post-per-week streak (as tempting as it is, I think it’s also a matter of pride).

Hopefully back to “normal” next week.

And by “impromptu” I mean I booked the flights on Thursday night, and I was on the plane Friday morning. Don’t worry, it wasn’t for any serious emergency, unless you consider providing emotional support an emergency (although I think the trip did me just as much good as it did for my friend).

As it turns out, Canberra is really pretty in the autumn. My favourite sight was the trees with a gradient of leaves from green in the lower branches, to yellow then orange and red and brown at the top. Unfortunately it didn’t occur to me to take a photo at the time, but I got a few other magnificent landscapes. Here is one for now:

I suppose to most people autumn is a lacklustre time when everything and everyone is preparing to enter some kind of dormancy or hibernation, but autumn is actually my favourite season. To me, it’s full of amazing colour, vigour and vibrancy.

Seeing trees aflame with deep red leaves, or shimmering with golden sequins, or even to see ghostly bare branches casting intricate patterns across the sky – these are the sights that evoke wonder and intrigue.

blue days

The day started off blue.

Through the space between the blinds, all I could see was blue sky. It gave promise of a good day. But in the time it took for me to get out of bed and brush my teeth, the clouds gathered and made the world grey again.

Lifting the blinds, glancing out at the sky and the street below, I wondered where the clouds came from. Where did the blue go?

Still, it wasn’t raining yet, and I was determined to get some errands done. I’d had a good sleep-in the day before — a lazy, slumberous day — so I had to make this day productive.

The rain started as I approached the shopping centre. Several people were walking about without umbrellas, and I thought they must’ve been deceived into optimism by the early morning blue sky. A woman sighed in relief as she reached shelter and sat down on a bench.

By the time I was leaving the shopping centre — probably not more than half an hour later — the rain had stopped, and patches of blue sky could be seen once again. The sun shone brightly at my back, and I opened my umbrella so that it might dry before I got home.

The sunshine didn’t last long, though. Soon it was raining again. It has been raining on and off all day. Sometimes it rains softly, in a fine mist, coming and going in a whisper. Other times, the rain falls in a sudden rush — a torrential onslaught that drowns out all other noise. But even this dissipates after a few minutes.

And all day, between the bouts of rain, there have been patches of blue sky — patches of false hope. Even now, I can see mostly blue sky from my window, but the trust has been broken; I dare not hope.

a few thoughts on water

Walking through the rain the other day, I was thinking about the sensory assault one can receive from rain: The sight of it can be daunting or magnificent. The smell and feel of it might be refreshing or dampening to the spirits. And there’s always the sound – rhythmic and relentless.

Now and then, when I ruminate about rain in this way, I’m reminded of a lesson I received in Grade 2.  Continue reading