Thanksgiving Haiku

So fellow travelers, walking the dog after an early Thanksgiving dinner, I caught the gorgeous colors of today’s sunset. While it’s early onset (we went out at 4:30pm) reminds me we will soon be walking in the darkness and cold of winter,  today we walked in 60 degree sunshine, a gentle breeze carrying the sound of songbirds thought to have migrated weeks ago.  It was a wondrous sweet walk, bringing peace to soothe the heartache of too many empty chairs around our table this year.

I have so much to be thankful for. A rewarding job, a safe home, the time and resources to help others in need and most of all the love of family both near and far. I speak of family both by blood and by bond for my creative friends have become as precious to me as those I have known for a lifetime. It is a gift to find acceptance and encouragement and uplifting to be inspired by creative authenticity. I strive to pass it forward.

So a haiku of Thanksgiving dedicated to everyone seeking Light and Joy.

sunset

 

Our collective hearts

Light up the sky with colors

Of hope, joy and peace.

 

 

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

 

 

Thoughts: About Paris

Reflections from a gifted writer and someone I am blessed to know as a friend. These are thoughts which, as Tom’s writings so often do, echo my own feelings and struggles. It filled my heart with gratitude and hope. I hope it brings like blessings to my readers too.

Quarry House

paris

Like everyone I know, Paris is on my mind. People ask me what I think. They tell me what they think. They ask me why, since I write about everything, I haven’t written about Paris yet.

Part of the answer is that I am slow. I’ve written of this before. I am slow to process feelings and emotions.

I CAN process either one pretty well. I have flashes of anger as much and as strong as anyone else. And I live in a work world where I am constantly having to make business decisions, trusting my fairly quick mind to help me make good ones. But when I try to reconcile the two and truly understand what’s going on in me, and make my head and heart come together it takes time. And so when something like Paris, or the bombings in Beirut, or 9-11 happens, I am quiet.

I…

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Zen Moment Haiku

So fellow travelers, we’ve had some spectacular sunsets. One benefit to the early onset of darkness is I get to catch these views on our afternoon walks.  I send  my love to our youngest daughter with that setting sun knowing its rising in Tokyo.

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Day ends in glory
Fire edged front at sunset
Joy from the heavens

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

One more wish

So fellow travelers an early morning dog run revealed an unexpected treasure in our frost bitten yard. How blessed am I to be given these moments of Zen, the simple quiet reminders that darkness and fear always pass yet Light and Peace live eternally in our hearts.

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One dandelion
Braves killing frost to bloom late
Thank you for the wish

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Haiku for November

So fellow travelers,  the last of autumn’s burnished browns and golden yellows have been blown away by several days of steady high winds. Although temperatures have remained unseasonably warm the skies have been covered in steel grey clouds which race across the bare tree lines like semi’s barreling down the interstate.

This morning as our dog zig zagged across the yard tracking the clandestine activities of various nocturnal critters I caught sight of one lone soldier holding down the fort.

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One leaf nature’s flag
Alone yet flying bravely
In the face of doubt

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

The Memory of Leaves

So fellow travelers, all Sunday afternoon my husband and I scurried about to finish the yard chores before the gift of strangely warm weather ended.

Usually by this time in the season, we are outside working in winds so chilly it is not uncommon to see snow flurries drifting among the last of the falling leaves.  Our dog barked persistently at the mower as my husband raced around and around the yard, madly mulching and gathering up leaves, stopping only to empty the bagger or unclog the chute. As he dumped piles in each area I pointed to with the rake, I spread the piles of chopped leaves evenly through different garden beds.  The thick layer of chopped leaves protects tender plants through our long harsh winter and acts as deterrent to rapid weed growth in the spring. In between cycles of raking, I pulled the last the weeds from various hiding spots, now laid bare by the receding garden and naked bushes.  The sky was a dramatic panorama of grey clouds racing across a brilliant blue sky, the sun playing hide and seek all afternoon.

dogwood leaf edit

This season, autumn has given us an unusual array of colors with pockets of polished mahogany browns, rich golden yellows with dashes of blood red against a backdrop of barren grey and white trees which dropped their leaves earlier than usual.  I’ve been told these are the effects of summer’s excessively dry ending.  Some people have complained about the “lack of fall color,” but for me it has been a tremendous lesson in seeing things in a whole new light.

I’ve been experiencing a lot of my life in a new light. With my youngest daughter now away at college I have more freedom to choose when I can do the things I enjoy.  There is however this new challenge of being a Long Distance Mom. She recently went through the doubt and longing phase most freshmen experience.  In her case, being all the way across the Pacific in Tokyo means she can not just come home for a weekend as her older sister did during her freshman year. Fortunately, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we Skype as often as we can make the time difference work out.

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The view  from my daughter’s dorm apartment.

This is her first experience of living on her own and she is tackling the challenge in the largest city in the world which also happens to be in another country. She learning to cook and care for herself, manage on a budget,  navigate a complex and obsessively efficient system of public transportation while learning a new language and getting acclimated to a different culture.  My daughter is not homesick in the sense of wanting to “quit and come home.” She is feeling adrift because she is going through a transitional time in life where her foundations have shifted and she has not yet made all the connections to know quite what it is she is looking for.  Loving Japanese culture as much as she does, I know she was not expecting to find it so challenging to settle in but there are elements of the Temple University program which do not lend itself well to helping students feel connected. TUJ lacks a full campus; the dorms (which are gender specific, a requirement of the Japanese educational system)  are spread out  from each other and also far across the city from TUJ’s center of operations. Classes are held in a converted office building which long outgrew the capacity to house the students attending classes.

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The TUJ “campus”

Essentially, there is no central gathering place for students, a critical component for freshmen needing to make connections in their first months away from home.   These are factors we were well aware of, since her older sister attended TUJ for her semester of study abroad.  It makes a difference dealing with the program’s short comings as a freshman looking at several years of studying versus a junior attending for just one semester.  In addition, my younger daughter has found the courses she is taking surprisingly easy; she is in fact bored and disappointed in the academic aspect of her experience (this is a kid who voluntarily took a college level calculus class her senior year in high school because she loves math .)

We’ve worked through her doubts and concerns, me trying my best to let her talk things out and come to her own conclusions. I went through a lot of what she’s experiencing when I traveled the same distance (in reverse) to come to Syracuse University for college. I didn’t have the benefit of Skype or email in though days; I didn’t even own a computer. It took ten to fourteen days for letters to go back and forth to Korea where my family was living at that time. Living in the US for the first time in nearly a decade there was definitely substantial culture shock; at least I was not trying to learning a new language at the same time.

My daughter is a determined and tough kid. There is so much of Japan she still wants to experience (which is part of her push pull dilemma about whether to transfer or stay) so she’s committed to finishing her freshman year at the TUJ campus.  We also finally resolved the banking transfer problems we had not anticipated having (the absurdity of Japanese banking is an entire topic unto itself.  I will not bore you with the details) so we can get money to her more easily and she can feel less stressed about finances. Let’s leave it as I am distinctly peeved it took three months to figure out and I came close to paying for a round trip ticket just to give that kid of mine a hug.

So it’s no surprise that last Sunday my eyes filled with sudden tears when the sun filtered through the trees and hit the mountain of leaves just right, flooding my mind with memories of the sound of two young girls laughing and playing in the leaves, writing these words from my heart.

The Memory of Leaves

Golden sun lit leaves

Echoes of laughter through time

The leaves wait for you.

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Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Heralds of Change

So fellow travelers, it is that time of year when darkness falls so quickly the dogs and I are pressed to find enough daylight for walking our favorite trails at days end during the busy work week.  Other seasonal changes are coming too.  The trees told us so and gave me this haiku

 

They stand as heralds

Naked trees in the distance

Winter is coming

 

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Trees at Long Branch Park in Liverpool NY

Photo via Instagram from my phone camera

 

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.