adventures in snow and shades of gray

By: deborahsc

Nov 17 2007


Category: Haibun, Poetry

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Focal Length:25mm
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adventures in snow and shades of gray: a haibun

sleepy day

cool thin sheet

thrown over us


but welcome

The day begins, a tangled skein of promise and obligation, expectation and dread. Six supervisions in two sites a circuitous route between Newark zip codes. Snow loosens a sense of urgency. Staff call in “sick,” unable to brave the elements. The workday that seems endless, concludes at noon. I don’t even mind traveling across town to find I have earned an early release. I feel virtuous for having made the effort, guiltless for not blinking. The ground is cloud under my feet.  Gifts come in many kinds of wrapping. I take this one fallen out of the heavens.



As Fionn MacCumhail cherishes his hound, Bran, a sturdy terrier who leads me on this last great adventure before winter is out and gone. A slice of day so bright one squints at its sheen, a day of brilliance against stark contrasts. This companion is a mhadaigh bháin, (pronounced wady wan) as Fionn might say he has the sweet life, the life of a pampered dog. No wonder at all when the route leads to the gates and cages of his canine companions. They, of course, are inside with their owners. This pooch has ideas and plans andthey do not include the appliance I carry along to take record our journey. Griangraf, I say to this mhadaigh bháin, you know photographs—sun-writing. Alright I know  Fionn would have been unfamiliar that word in his time.



 to a mhadaigh bháin
the best walk
is the next walk


branches reach upward

fists clench tight in gloves

spring impaciens

Mixed messages. The sky has the feel of more snow, but the air is beginning to warm. Potholes remain unfilled, yet the orange snowfences along the park border were taken down last week. A warm January brought out a few cherry blossom buds before the groundhog could make up his mind.





A curious tease

for city dwellers—cattails like popsicles dipped in white



At last the spot I always have in mind when we walk this route The cherry blossom tree, its seven decades worth of branches, admired since my arrival in Newark only thirty five years ago when the tree was half its current age.  All around new trees are being planted, circling these oldest trees. Gnarled joints and awkward reach of limbs, these oldest trees still give tender white blooms that last a week then fall away. The dog mistakes that slick white cover for snow, rolls with abandon.



you rise up each year

hair like medusa

april flowers




Inspired by the brush painting of Sungsook, I made an attempt in my acrylic painting class to experiment with this image in the spirit of the exquisite corpse.



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