a morning’s perspective

morning in FebruaryThis picture was taken two days before I left the country in February this year. It was a cool morning and I walked alone on this familiar road probably one last time for a long time to come. I had stayed for half a year in this neighborhood and it had become my routine to take a morning walk in the cool, fresh air. The photo was taken with a Samsung Galaxy, nothing fancy. Winter was mild and comfortable. I normally do not like heavy clothing unless I travel to the snow countries. I just returned from one before I took this shot. Somehow this ordinary grayish morning with the sun coming out against the silhouette of trees, (as I walked alone on a quiet and still road), gives me a perspective I like best. It is just another easy and breezy morning. People are still sleeping or getting ready to go somewhere. No one seems in a hurry. The noisy and busy world is some distance away. I am traveling home shortly and yet the frantic packing does not deter me from this leisurely unhurried walk. As I meet one or two early birds who are walking solo too, or working in their gardens, we smile briefly and say to each other, “Good morning!” Then each of us carry on walking or doing our morning chores, each to our respective destination. As I write this my heart is filled with thankfulness for another day alive and well in this world.

Good morning to you, my friend, who reads this today! I pray you are well!

Morning

this is a letter I will not send.

Cherry On Top
2007 Fuji Mt n treeYou know this is a letter I will not send. It is an ordinary letter about how things are with me. The summer is ending and the last blooms outside my window have just withered. Soon it will be autumn and winter again. Today I looked into a drawer which I have not opened for a long time, perhaps years, and found this photo hidden in a memory card. Remember that morning in December 2007 we traveled? You suddenly wanted me to stop the coach. I asked the driver to stop. We got down and took this photo and others. I never sent this card to the studio for prints. Somehow I put it in the drawer locked together with many other precious and happy memories. Digital camera was popular then and I was using a Nikon Coolpix 7900 with 7.1 megapixels. The photos came out well for that journey. I found many portraits of you too. Long hair blowing in the gentle breeze of winter. Radiant smiles. I can even smell the fresh, cold and crisp mountain air when looking at the photos. Pity we didn’t go to any winter sports destination after all. The best photos are those of mountains like this one. I am not sending this because you have taken your own photos too. Perhaps after all these years you would not want me to send you the photos in this long forgotten memory card. Yesterday someone came back from the faraway land and told me that you have not changed much. But you no longer keep long hair. The mountains, they said, are still beautiful.

what loneliness means to him: a haiku (and a prose)

a still snow ride
Hitching a ride up
windy snowy mountain camp
needing fellowship ~~~~~~~He knows he cannot be alone for long. That is why he joins his friends sometimes as they drive up the mountain. They do not really understand what he tries to express in his words, photos, or even the actions of continuing to climb mountains. They retain their own perspective. He his. Does this mean he gets more lonely? He asks himself. The team efforts in camping and the warm fellowship, do they not mean something to his feeling? Yes at night after a hard day’s work he enjoys a beer or two sitting near the camp fire with pals with similar mountaineering interest, all sharing the goal of climbing up to the highest peak and nothing more. But he cannot expect more, like understanding why he is leaving their company soon and launching into the deepest and furthest wilderness alone. They do not mind the goodbye as they too travel often and a lot. But they cannot share his goal of a travel without a firm destination and away from any civilized help. “How can we ever reach you in time to help you?” They query him, and he just shakes his head. He has no answer. In a place with no modern electricity power it is impossible to connect. He will know how to reach his friends when he gets there, perhaps. But he does not want to give them false hope. It is indeed lonely when he ponders this thought of isolation over unknown uncharted waters. Will his love fail him if ever he gets stranded somewhere in the middle of nowhere? He asks in silence. His heart’s reply, “NO.”

forgetting is so long: a haiku (and a prose)

never let me gomillions memories

locked in time and space stories

this shore and that shore

~~~~(Concerning your recent thoughts of our past.) I HAVE BEEN THINKING LATELY TOO. Our past. Because there are too many memories. After all we have accumulated 23 years (8395 days, 201480 hours, 12,088,800 minutes, 725,328,000,000 seconds) of being together. I think of the time that had passed. I think of our marriage life together. I would consider our life a good life. We were very close, like the best of friends and much much closer. When I think of the sands running out in the hour-glass of time, I wonder why I never managed to grab them and refuse to let go. I admit I am a mortal. There are things I cannot change. When I was very young, in school, I read a novel titled, “The Foolish Immortals”.  I was drawn to the title. Only fools try to become immortal. I know there are impossibilities in human lives. We cannot change certain natural pre-arrangements. We trust science but we know whatever changes we perform down here are not changed in the spiritual realm. There is a fixed registry there for each mortal. Even marriage. Even love between two individuals. The span, the length, the breadth, the depth, the height. 725.3million seconds is not a short time. But it is too short for me. Far too short. I cannot retract each second much as I want to. Instead of going back to the future I would want to have a vehicle that will bring me back to the past, yes, way past, to before I was even born. I want to ask the Creator to give me a different registry. I would beg for a change in my life history. I would not let go until He says yes. If only I have that miraculous vehicle to go back. I would live differently, still with you, my love, but much much differently. I would not need to let go. Never. Like Pablo Neruda’s poem, “Love is so short, forgetting is so long.”

Excerpts from a poem by Pablo Neruda: Tonight I can write the saddest lines. 

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
…She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes

…Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her….
My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.
…Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

I could have loved you better: a haiku (and a prose)

sunset traveling
only when love leaves

silently sunset arrives

heart is filled with tears

~~~~~~~~~the word today starts with “R”. Regret. Remorse. Repent. Repressed. Reversed. In matters of human relationship sometimes the harm done is irrevocable. You just cannot reverse the car and pretend that nothing had happened if you have already run over something. On the other hand, the word today can start afresh in more positive expressions: Refreshed, Restored, Reconciled, Rejoice, Regenerated, Rejuvenated, Re-engineered, Revalued (upward), Renovated and many more. There are neutral words too. Revealed. What is revealed is good or bad depends on the content revealed. But it also depends on the interpretor. Like this picture I took with a shaky hand from a vehicle behind a glass barrier. It turned out poorly. But the actual content (the sunset view on a flat land with still water and weeds) is quite nice to behold. I missed the opportunity of capturing the moment of beauty and grace. But did I really miss it? No, there is a sharp and accurate picture stored in my memory (far more superior than a chip). In relationship too, we may think of the past with some regrets. But when we really recall, we can find more moments of joy and love truly shared and treasured. It is the positive contents of a relationship that matter. Yet, on some lonesome moments when we look at old photos, we still would wish we could have loved the others better. Resolution? Take all the positive Rs and start working on relationships that matter to me.

Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:8a)

side by side they stand: a haiku (and prose)

tropical garden walkidentical friends

side by side weathering storm

matter not where from

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Often when one is really alone, one starts to value friendship. Unlike trees, human have mobility and may walk and stray quite far from one another. Even when we travel on a guided tour each individual still tends to move away and tries to look around and take photo of something that interests only he or she alone. But trees are different. They are planted. They may come from the same nursery. Often they are not. But once they are planted they stay at the same spot until something happens to change their positions. These two are quite identical and remind me of some twin pictures I have collected. Identical twins have displayed auto-synchronized likes and dislikes, behavior and thought pattern. I wonder if trees too have their own pre-programed unseen ways of auto-synchronization. On the other hand it does not matter. Once they are planted they stay loyal to that plot of ground and remain friendly and thriving peacefully with their neighbors, sharing common resources. Actually trees look nicer in two than one standing alone.

a dog’s life continues beyond: a haiku (and a prose)

three dogsa day we gather

this shore and beyond we dream

daring to venture

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~All three of us together. It is rare. Because we depend on our human friends to bring us here for the fresh air and smell of the marks left behind by other living things, mainly dogs like us. Sometimes an occasional bird may venture here, but it is rather rare. We don’t talk among ourselves. As you will see, we each seem preoccupied with the sand or living creatures hidden inside. Who are they? What are they doing here? We love mysteries. We seek things out. We find them. O yes we like each other’s company too. I mean dogs. What a fine day this is! A day to dream and celebrate just being here. Free and unhurried. Away from the crowd (human) for some moments of our own.

a dog’s life continues not alone: a haiku (and prose)

a dog's life 2I know you were here

creatures living free and wild

land and sea and sky

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I am not alone. Not exactly. My human brings me here to meet friends. His friends. Mine too. Often we dogs do not need to meet physically. We smell and detect whether the smell is familiar. We know who has been here. For example, today I know someone I know has come just minutes ago. She stays aloof. But she is a friend. There are of course some others too. We pretty much stay aloof and keep to ourselves. But we are friends. We don’t kill or bite each other. Even in the wild, we know how to respect each other’s territory and live. Surprised? We are quite civil really.

walking in the green park: a haiku (and a prose)

20160227_094527 copyI think I’m alone

I hear my friend calling me

walking far beyond ~~~~~~~~~~~~coming home means I can walk anytime of the day as the green park is just nearby, about ten minutes’ drive. My occasional (like once in a blue moon) passing sadness is that I am walking alone again, unlike the clouds which tend to gather together in pairs. Old memories refuse to obliterate themselves. The clouds are plus points here as they are clean white clouds filled with water inside. You can see the water sometimes. The sky too is not bone dry blue. The sky here is soft and watery mild blue which speaks of gentleness and tenderness like a love long gone but never really forgotten.

winter travelers: a haiku (and a love song)

heart of sky
the heart of love

heart’s depth becomes breadth

as I look up and not down

beyond tears and pain ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Looking through my winter pictures stored at random I come across this one. It says, “Cheer up!” Indeed when I look further there are more sunny colorful pictures than the gloomy grey ones. Are there many like me who travel at all seasons? Surely many are still on the road right now, battling wind and rain and snow. Well, this haiku is for you too.

I suddenly remember an old song from Diana Ross:

“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”

If you need me, call me
No matter where you are
No matter how far
Just call my name
I’ll be there in a hurry
On that you can depend and never worry

No wind, (no wind)
No rain, (no rain)
Nor winter’s cold
Can stop me, babe
(Oh, babe) baby (baby)
If you’re my goal

No wind, (no wind)
No rain, (no rain)
Can stop me, babe
If you wanna go

I know, I know you must follow the sun
Wherever it leads
But remember
If you should fall short of your desires
Remember life holds for you one guarantee
You’ll always have me

And if you should miss my lovin
One of these old days
If you should ever miss the arms
That used to hold you so close, or the lips
That used to touch you so tenderly
Just remember what I told you
The day I set you free

Ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wild enough
To keep me from you

Ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
(Say it again)
Ain’t no river wild enough
To keep me from you

Ain’t no mountain high enough
Nothing can keep me
Keep me from you

Ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
(Say it again)
Ain’t no river wild enough
To keep me from you

Ain’t no mountain high enough
Nothing can keep me
To keep me from you

You are not alone: a haiku bird song

an evening lone gull

Seeing with your heart
I am next to you in tune
You are not alone

~~~~~~~~~~~~
At first the traveler thought there was just one lone bird perched on a pole. When looking closely at the picture, another tiny bird emerged on a lower pole. Voilà! Not a lone bird after all.

(This much reduced-size photo was taken from a series at random by another traveler who kindly shared them. Sizes of photo-data are reduced as internet is limited and costly here. The sky is so water-color-dream-like. It reminded this traveler of the first water-color assignment copied from a magazine as a kid many years ago.)

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” (Genesis 1:20-22)

He heard a sound so familiar: a haiku story

a sound from above

 

he heard his name called

from a distance but not far

warm and tender thought

~~~~~~~~~~Naturally her. Gentle. Firm. Hope overflowing from every pore if sound has pores. He heard a sound so familiar that for a moment he thought he was at home seeping hot coffee reading new poems at his favorite armchair settling down to his much loved routine of living normalcy with familiarity. Looking through the audio files in his external travel backup he has found an unnamed file today. The sound that comes through surprises him pleasantly. She is reading a book, chapter by chapter. Like she is standing at the podium, casually lifting up her head from time to time, her long thick black hair blown and somewhat ruffled under the twirling ceiling fan, occasionally smiling with her large, dark eyes that could speak countless words just by looking so intensely at the awe-struck audience. “The Kingdom of God –Chapter One,” she reads effortlessly with a certainty and assurance that comes only with her cool confidence and belief of the subject. The voice. He remembers the first time they met. Newly returned to his home country after a long and weary corporate posting far faraway he was invited to a fund raising function. Formal and crowded with important guests. Having been cramped in an economy class cabin due to unavailability of business class then, flying and not sleeping for over twenty hours, he arrived late straight from the airport, decided to stand near the door as all seats were taken and he thought perhaps he could slip away without being noticed. An elderly clergy went up the stage and said a prayer. After that she walked to the center of the platform from the backstage. A very young woman with long black hair in her early twenties in a comfortable white cotton dress with blue waves at the fringe. He was too far to see her facial features clearly but he thought he needed to hear her out because he was drawn to the voice as she spoke the first sentence. He stood there for about two hours because of the voice. There was kindness in her voice. When he closed his wearied and heavy eyelids he heard a lifting kindness. Like a gentle hand lightly holding a tired, cold, weathered, scarred with old wounds and bleeding with fresh wounds seagull who had lost its way at the vast ocean, fell and swept ashore, flown inadvertently inland and too far home, and crashed in from the storm, the voice said, “Don’t be afraid. Come to me. I will give you rest.” The deepest part of his wound-up soul which he thought he had secreted into a forgotten treasure chest sealed and hidden so well was suddenly exposed, unlocked, touched, unraveled and the thick opaque veil on his hardened heart lifted. He could not help but walking toward the stage, nearer and nearer, spurred by an anticipation that drew out every effort from a tired body that silently and sensibly advised, “Go home, and go to bed!” He just wanted to say “hello” to her, shake her hands, thank her for her efforts for all those lost people, and perhaps look into her large dark deep pupils that smiled at him so kindly. Perhaps as habitual in his profession condescendingly, “You seem too young to be doing this,” he practiced in his mind. Or should he say affectedly, “Thank you so much for all the little homeless children”? Or simply bluntly and honestly, “I like your voice!” He practiced and revised many times before he had the courage to go and shake her hands and introduced himself. He was being presumptuous he thought. Did he look preposterous and out of place in his rumpled executive suit dragging a suitcase? What did she see? An anonymous stranger of indeterminable age who was obviously out of place in that crowd. What did she hear? Some cliché words or sentences which real meaning she did not have time to digest. What did she expect of him? Really nothing much. Many hands she shook. Many kind and appreciative words she heard. The rain came. Heavy armored thundering battalions of horses and chariots marched down from heaven, drowning out every mortal sound. People were leaving. She was surrounded and protected by her admiring friends and they shielded her to her vehicle and drove off. He did not speak to her after all. But he found out her name and her profession. O yes, even her age. Her friends had hurried her off to celebrate her 29th birthday. Not as young and juvenile as he had first thought but still half a generation away from him. What can he ever say to her? What words did her generation use? What words could a man from the forties speak to a woman of the sixties? What could they have in common? He called a cab and left the hall alone in the silence of his mind. The year was 1992.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

three love haikus

trees and dawn

he has walked so far

unaware of time and space

meeting sudden dawn

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

looking and not see

her lush hair flowing like silk

gently touching his

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

moving with coolness

wordless yet speaking volume

love is in the air

Traveler’s mirror reflects: sky and tree haiku (with notes)

image

Never shall we meet
existence seamless planted
neighbors through light years
~~~
Undoubtedly this is a favorite of this traveler. After I wrote this I asked who my neighbors are. The neighborhood extends beyond geographical and planetary. Indeed we can never imagine the vastness. Somewhere in space someone may be trying to fathom this at this point of cosmic time too. I would encourage every visitor to pause awhile and ponder awhile.