a Quest for light
He is a lover of light and high mountains. He took this photo last winter standing on a mountain. The original scene was breathtaking. It was a sunny day, and the clouds were dispersed. There were distant mountains too. He cannot now remember whether the blue and white patches below the sun were mountains or mere sky. Where he stood and took this picture was the limit of his quest then. Given another chance, perhaps he would go further beyond the blue deep space…
is a comparative advantage. It is also the outside limit of an object, area, or surface; a place or part farthest away from the center of something. I took this photo on a train climbing a mountain. The river looks as if it is at the edge of the track. I probably slanted my mobile phone camera quite steeply or perhaps the climb was rather steep. We went up to 7000 ft and then descended to around 4000 ft to stay in a very scenic town and ski resort. When I first discovered that we were to climb 7000 ft in a train I was a bit concerned. I wondered how it would be like cutting through the mountain with a steep edge on the side of the track. As we settled ourselves in very comfortable coaches and started taking photos we hardly noticed the climb. It was very pleasant and the edge was not noticeable at that time. Only when I now look at the photos and recall the scenes I marvel at how we can always look at the positive side of things and enjoy lives despite the environment. A merry heart does have its edge over a miserable heart in challenging circumstances.
find the little fox
She is back. He is back. They are not relatives. But the two humans are not together. And yet they love each other.
It is like looking at this photo. You never know whether the photographer is climbing up the mountain or going down the slope. There is no clue. Perhaps you can detect the lonely depression induced by the season from thin trees with bare branches, the snow covered plants shaped like little animals scurrying on the ground, against a grey bland sky and the an overall mood of foreboding of the scene. But you will not know why the photographer went there and took this picture unless you were him. When he took this picture he was actually climbing uphill. It was mid-January.
They did not meet that time. She was too far away and otherwise engaged. He went alone and spent his winter like a lone wolf.
Now they are both back to one place. Same city. Same street. Same house. He is alone. She is alone. He is not married. Neither is she. They love each other. But they are not together. Why are they not together? A complicated riddle.
(I decided to post this blog after leaving the unfinished draft for a month or more. The shape of a lone wolf is too striking to be ignored. Other shapes of animals too. I like seeing living things in shapes formed by nature. I also added a little riddle here to ponder upon on sleepless nights.)
Yes, you are rare. In my eyes. Today, I walk pass this way without expecting to see you. I am just walking and not looking. I am busy because I am going somewhere. This pathway and roadside are just things I happen to walk by from one spot to another spot. My destination is somewhere else. My interest is not here. I am just traveling by. But I see you. You look at me and smile. You reach out your invisible hand and offer a friendly greeting. Here, this neighborhood? Yes, you stand out despite the environment. The background. The class in which you find yourself. You display your purple. We exchange greeting for a while and I halt my steps for you for awhile. When I move on I know I have encountered a unique rarity. A simple greeting one morning between a traveler and a sidewalk on which I have imprinted my steps one morning which will not be repeated again. The next time I visit this place again it will be another time. A moment in time is rare and unique with its own existence.
easy breezy morn’
casual stroll on garden’s lawn
hearing unseen fawn
I took this picture last September in a small scenic town in California. Morning walk was often full of surprises. One of the many pleasant encounters was little animals. Yes, even fawns.
Neither you nor I
musing poets to define
sky water divide
I took this picture last January in Reno. The sun, the cloud, the water and the grass were in quite a spectacular harmonious formation. Narrow and yet broad in the limitation of my phone camera. Quite a poetic inspiring place. My hair turned to gold in some pictures. I did this little haiku only when I look at the pictures now and recall the solitary moment without adequate words to describe then.
alien here I dread
print upon print I now thread
deserted I read
(After I wrote this little poem of a scene I took in US last January, I suddenly realize now of somewhat similar perspective in terms of man and nature left alone, expressed in two previous movie stories, both of which I had not watched. I googled and saw their brief reviews. The Revenant and Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. I would add that the ‘loneliness’ can also be felt in virtual space perspective. The word ‘thread’ is deliberate to bring out another kind of desert effect. Not a misspelt.)
come rest upon my heart now
gentle tender flow
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Everything is something it isn’t. He read this somewhere. People feared the unknown and worried about uncertainty of changes. A wall might not be a wall. A door might not open at all. Yet he knew in chemistry there is a state in which a process and its reverse are occurring at equal rates so that no overall change is taking place, for example, ice is in equilibrium with water. The boss worried that he had gone over his senses when he decided to quit his successful career and go after an illusive dream. “You only see the tip of the iceberg. You never know what lurks beneath the enchanted emerald ocean. Use your superb grey matter, young master, weigh the pros and cons.” The boss warned (possibly quoting from some oriental movie scripts which became his latest craze). He looked at the snow on this mountain and indeed he could not summarily conclude what really lied underneath the white cloth. Should he step on it? There should be a scientific way to gauge the reality of things hidden or supposedly revealed. On the other hand how can one judge love by scientific way? How would the trees know that the snow was coming and would cover the empty ground? But the trees continued to stand their boundary position when the snow came in the night. When the dawn arrived the mountain was demarcated by two colors: white and black, a beautiful natural equilibrium. No, he would not worry about the unknown. He knew her worth. She knew his too. Their love was in a state in which opposing forces or influences were balanced. (to be continued)
Here is my heart’s plea
forever planted like tree
Never shall I flee
Where have I planted my heart? You ask. There was an old story that said a man left his hat wherever he went. It seemed to be his way to mark his past. It did not serve any purpose except perhaps to make the former loved one remember him. What a vain hope. She would at best cut it into pieces and throw it to the dogs.
I suddenly remember this story when I look at the trees planted on high ground. I am on this train journey to meet with you. Trees do not move. They stay where they are planted all their lives. I shall not plant my heart like a hat. No, I shall plant my heart like a tree. It will mean I have not really left. I have been planted. My heart fixed on my one love-you, no matter where I shall go again. My heart will not be moved.
waving grinning wide
faithful greeting by roadside
winter soon here bye
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Trees are my friends. These two are sort of cute, with their rather unusual rust-brown color and the way they lean toward the road with their almost identical formation of branches and clusters of leaves, making me wonder if a hairdresser for trees has done their coiffure. How did they grow to be so alike? Have they decided to dress alike for autumn? I marvel. Many years ago I used to jog in a reservoir park and on one occasion I saw a fallen tree. It used to stand alone by the side of the lake. Sometimes a lone bird perched on its rather tired looking branch. But that morning it was lying on the ground, toppled by the previous night’s storm. I went closer and saw that its centre was hollow. How could that be? How long did it try to remain standing and faithfully greeted me (and other joggers) daily while struggling with a hollow heart? But this pair are thankfully together and they look thrivingly young. I hope they will last a long long time. I like the way they stand out with their heads stubbornly full of hair (leaves) among all the others who have shed their leaves and become bald (bare) in a season of despair.
a tree and her shade label
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Walking in hot sun requires plenty of shady spots to rest. Here is one of my favorite spots. Near Autumn but there is still plenty of green. The sun can get quite unbearable and one has to fortify oneself with a hat/cap, at least a bottle of plain water, and of course a mobile phone (camera). But the shades are very useful. They are not the trees. They reflect what the trees are like. Usually in a stretching and exaggerating way. Shades stretch the truth somewhat depending on the location of the sun. Sometimes some creatures like birds or squirrels may be hiding up the trees and their shadows appear as parts of the shades. Rare but it could happen. Trees and shades are certainly very rewarding to a traveler.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
a fine day unfolds
meeting green friends light refreshed
~~~~~~~~~~~~Nature often brings pleasant surprises. A casual walk under the sun may bring you to another world. Like this picture. We are taken to a tour at the dam to see fishermen fishing and making of fish paste. But the other side of the dam is lined with lush green countryside. Very refreshing walk indeed. It is like a part of our normal ordinary mundane life which is hidden quietly somewhere suddenly emerges and shouts, “Voilà, Lo, there it is, see here!” The beauty of creation unfolds so unassumingly even at a poor outback place like this.
The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them,
And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice,
Even with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
The excellence of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the LORD,
The excellency of our God.
(Bible verses quoted from Isaiah 35:1-2)
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.
with my hands lifted
i share my thoughts in my days
see my signs i say
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Nature has its way of expression. So do men. Some words cannot be expressed adequately with mere audible sound. Some are meant to show with other means: see, touch, feel, perceive, and participate in. Does nature have a way of communicating? I believe all living things do. Even trees. Often I look at the trees and the way they point with their branches. The shapes and directions they point. It is like they are showing something, making a statement. Human has increasingly used new ways to communicate. If we look at the activities we do mostly these days we can see how deep we are in relentlessly communicating in silence. Like nature does.
they burst out living
turning this corner walking
winter spring in all
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Just before he leaves this place he walks round to see if there is any moment of joy and hope he can capture and send to her. Someone says that even in winter some trees will bloom if there is sunshine for a few days. He has prayed and the sun has come out. So he braves the cold and goes out to say goodbye to the wind and trees. He always looks for pictures of moments of beauty and hope. Because he knows it matters. Life matters. Here they are-lives bursting out even behind a fence. A neighbor’s garden of hope.
You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in Your word.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
a 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.
I 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.
her heart laced a glimpse
of mirror both sides reflect
vaguely I detect
~~~~~~~~~~~~I take this from a window on a fast train preparing to climb a mountain in winter. It is not clear. Perhaps my hand shakes a bit as I try to avoid knocking down the coffee and cake of another traveler over whom I lean to capture this view which to me is beauty in contrast in her own way: bare brown earth pebbled with stones like abandoned flock asleep (forgotten to wake for home) or are they real sheep? long lost friends close enough to knock on my window -a bleakness of trees without leaves- and all these graced with a backdrop of gold and my favorite water-colored washed light blue sky. In someway this picture reminds me of the love that I haven’t forgotten in a momentary snap-shot of my heart.
Unseen artists’ pens
converged produced this picture
avid overture ~~~~~~~this is a beautiful combination of a number of my favorite things: the sky that looks like it has been painted with water-color, the brilliant reflection of the unseen sun, the velvet-clothed ocean with its still water that reminds me of an oil painting, the dark aged rocks that pepper the golden-brownish shore and the brown grass with speckles of lime green. I am here just before autumn turns to winter. The beauty of fall has lingered awhile and then gives way to the wintry cold. I have enjoyed this journey of spectacular views and perspectives thoroughly. Sometimes I do feel a bit unsettled with the change of seasons. Because before I settle to one, the other appears. Like wavering between two attractive loves.
Enclosed duck alone
artificial home forlorn
glass cage no beyond
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I find this photograph taken in an aquarium appealing to my heart. It is a lone duck swimming. The backdrop is a glass wall. Like The Truman Show. There is nothing real for this duck. The wetlands. The marshes. The water. The dunes. It gives a spectator a view of what has been and what should be in the wild. ~~~~~~
The following is quoted from U.S. fish and Wildlife Service.
What Is a Coastal Ecosystem?
A “coastal ecosystem” includes estuaries and coastal waters and lands located at the lower end of drainage basins, where stream and river systems meet the sea and are mixed by tides. The coastal ecosystem includes saline, brackish (mixed saline and fresh) and fresh waters, as well as coastlines and the adjacent lands. All these water and land forms interact as integrated ecological units. Shorelands, dunes, offshore islands, barrier islands, headlands, and freshwater wetlands within estuarine drainages are included in the definition since these interrelated features are crucial to coastal fish and wildlife and their habitats. A variety of animals, and plants complete the ecological system. Coastal wetlands are commonly called lagoons, salt marshes or tidelands. If you live along the coast, these natural systems are likely to be a common sight, although in many areas, coastal wetlands were among the first places to be converted and developed for human activities.
The Importance of Coastal Ecosystems
Our Nation’s coasts provide important fish and wildlife habitat, far beyond their limited geographic extent. Coastal ecosystems comprise less than 10 percent of the Nation’s land area, but support far greater proportions of our living resources.
For example, coastal areas support a much higher percentage of the Nation’s threatened and endangered species fishery resources, migratory songbirds, and migrating and wintering waterfowl.
Today, these species and their habitats face serious threats in coastal regions from human population growth and the development and disturbance that are often a consequence of growth. Population projections indicate that our coastlines will continue to receive the majority of the Nation’s growth and development, promising to compound today’s habitat losses.
As habitat is degraded, reduced or eliminated, plants and animals suffer population losses that can lead to the need for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Service’s Coastal Program is working to avoid further species declines by enhancing its efforts within the Nation’s coastal areas and securing funding for conservation, including habitat restoration efforts.
needing no rainfall
adopted by ocean full
true refuge to all
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~When a flower has a name of a grass, confusion takes place. But it does not really matter. The flower is still a flower. Regardless what others call or name it. If I had not read this little glass introduction I would not have looked at the surfgrass. I would not have even known of its existence. But does it matter? The flowering plant continues to thrive underwater, providing shelter to many tiny creatures in the life-giving ecological chain designed by the Creator. Awesome how little things count in making our lives well and whole. Yet we do not know.
I did not manage to take a photo of the underwater blossom. The attached blossom picture below is taken from the internet.
Surf grass is home to juvenile lobsters, and reefs provide refuge for kelp, algae, fish and invertebrates.
Phyllospadix scouleri, or Scouler’s surfgrass, is a flowering marine plant in the family Zosteraceae. It is native to the coastline of western North America from the Alaskan panhandle to Baja California.
This slender, vivid green plant has long, flat blades. It grows in large clumps or beds exposed during low tide and submerged at high tide. It is found attached to rocks in the middle to low intertidal zones to a depth of about 40–50 ft.
3 For I will pour out water to quench your thirst
and to irrigate your parched fields.
And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants,
and my blessing on your children.
4 They will thrive like watered grass,
like willows on a riverbank.
Nothing to declare
fearing to share what forbear
stripping his heart bare
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The clouds often speak volumes. He likes to watch and record clouds. Clouds actually have mouths and eyes and they talk to each other with their eyes open and mouths shaped like a gentle smile. They are different from human. In the ancient times human lived simple and humble lives, aligned with the laws and wisdom of nature set by the Creator. They watched the signs in heaven and made their moves accordingly. They watched, smelled, tasted and listened to the visual and audio movements and sounds of the sky, the formation of clouds, the leaves and branches of trees, the structure and pattern of rocks, the colors of water, the voices of creatures, birds, insects, fishes and other living things in the wild. Human talked with their own language too. They communicated with purpose. They did not waste their voice. Often they uttered to warn, to reprimand, to guide, to build up. People’s lives depended on the right vocal utterance from the leader of the house or a tribe. Those were the days of survival in the wild. Human did not kill the wild for commercial reason. They survived for thousands of years with the wild things. Man who killed for his own commercial greed was outcast and despised by all and never considered a hero unlike what the movie may say today.
choosing to venture
traveler near and far
seeking shelter all beyond
warm home winter bond
Traveler does not really choose the definite spaces and time frames. He may plan and prepare for a specific destination. But he cannot ensure its finality. For everyone who is often on the road he or she knows it’s just a matter of time before the unexpected happens. A good example is a winter snow blizzard. A tropical rain storm. Even a strong wind on high altitude. Natural elements. Supernatural phenomena too. What can a traveler do when schedules need to be changed due to unforeseen events? This is something every traveler is prepared to handle. It can be challenging but often worth the challenge. A member of the traveler’s family is currently being unduly delayed in a city due to a weekend snow blizzard that has caused many flight cancelations. The plus side is: she is stuck with two of her old friends from yesteryears, and her buddies have stock up plenty of comfort food and they are having a good time reminiscing their long gone past and having a good fellowship together.
An ancient wise elder knows this very well. Here is the advice:
James 4:13-16 New King James Version (NKJV)
Do Not Boast About Tomorrow
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will[a] go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
James 4:13 M-Text reads let us.
Winter is best time
suspends in space and in me
warm and cold in rhyme
Why does this traveler write Haiku? I started writing Haiku in my teen days. I happened to read a book on Japanese Haiku (translated to English) in the library and tried writing some myself. It is simple and short and precise. It is not ambitious. It describes a moment like clicking a snapshot of something in a specific time and space. The result is a picture that tells a story.
Autumn left her heart
such fine masterpiece of art
half done half adieu
Fall is a beautiful mellow and tender season like my favorite watercolor art. This year’s fall tried to linger but could not bear the early arrival of the cold. It was ironical that I liked the leaves to turn into richer colors while at the same time I hoped that they would not fall. I did not expect the loss of photography opportunity so soon. A few gems did appear out of the hasty work.
~~~~~~~~~~~~Wise sayings from a wise king about the late autumn of a man’s life:
Remember Him—before the silver cord is severed,
and the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
and the wheel broken at the well,
and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
This artist won’t stop
to lavish color splashes
brilliant flaming top
The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection. Michelangelo
This world is but a canvas to our imagination. Henry David Thoreau
worry not the hair
splashing colors everywhere
nature claps and says
~~~~~~~~~~~~~For a change from the many sad news she decides to demonstrate her passion and support for the great varieties of beauty in nature. So she puts colors on her hair and holds fast to her belief in the autumn breath, receiving a standing ovation.
“For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
each carried a light so bright
at the gulls airshow
Often we see what what we happen to be thinking. The traveler was thinking of last weekend’s end. He was more accustomed to seeing planes than seeing seagulls in this place. Later someone said that the seagulls had become city scavengers. Why? He asked. The person explained that perhaps the tourists had left behind some foodstuff after their picnics. It is very common these days. Do not be so surprised. She said. But the traveler could not help wondering further why the seagulls have found it necessary to come to the city. Have they no food at their shore home? What has happened to their food source? He has seen them at the edge of the ocean some days ago. Have they followed him thus far as he travels inland? Is this a new pattern of the sea creatures, coming to shore and then inching their way inland? What has happened to their ocean? No one has offered any answer to these questions. They are just insignificant birds. Someone remarked. If every tourist stops giving them food they will go away. Having encountered scavenger birds while traveling in other parts of the planet, the traveler knows they do not give up easily and they breed fast and reproduce in great quantity. They eat anything. One municipality even offered money to hunters who killed scavenger birds which eventually became a menace to their residents. Watching the silver gulls glistening against the clear blue sky backdrop the traveler sighs and wonders why the ocean can no longer contain them.
His eyes are too blurred
hands too shaky to focus
a sharpness in soul
Writing Haiku is an art and a science. Here is a summary of the structure and usual form. Being a haiku writer since I first encountered a Japanese haiku many years ago, I now say it is more an art than a science. Although I like to discipline my writing to its form and structure, I have allowed the moment of event (a picture, a thought, a feeling) free flow in the content. It takes seconds to put down the words. But it could take sometime to look at the pictures I have taken and try to capture the moment in time as spoken in my picture.
A summary of basic haiku writing (without a picture):
There are no specific rules for writing haiku; however, the structure of a haiku is usually the same, including the following features:
- Only three lines, totaling 17 syllables throughout
- The first line is 5 syllables
- The second line is 7 syllables
- The third line is 5 syllables like the first
- Punctuation and capitalization rules are up to the poet, and need not follow rigid rules used in structuring sentences. (For ease of typing, I do not use punctuation or capitalization unless a particular haiku warrants them.)
- Haiku does not have to rhyme, in fact many times it does not rhyme at all. (I like to rhyme at times as I sing the haiku out loud.)
- Some haiku can include the repetition of words or sounds. (The sound of words adds flavor to languages. As I read out loud I like to put in words that sound right.)
The content: Haiku is a descriptive form of poetry. Originating in Japan, haiku poems typically discuss the natural world: seasons, months, animals, insects, and even the smallest elements of nature, down to a blade of grass or a drop of dew. However, the individual today writes whatever words that come to mind. I am not particular about this. On the whole, my readers would have noticed I tend to stick to nature in my photography and poems.
a whole new fresh world revealed
small things do matter
Here is traveler’s rest
right spot right foot at its best
shady cozy nest
Today we sail and navigate through the word ‘poetry’ (a collection of poems).
Here are some definitions by various conventional dictionaries on the word ‘poem’: At one end of the spectrum a ‘poem’ is defined as a piece of writing in which the words are chosen for their sound and the images they suggest, not just for their obvious meanings. The words are arranged in separate lines, usually with a repeated rhythm, and often the lines rhyme at the end. In summary it can bear the following characteristics: