February 17, 2013

Winter Haiku Walk

Co-leader Brad Bennett and I ventured out across Great Meadows on Sunday, with eight other hearty souls, our Haiku minds open to the wild and turbulent wind, whirling snow, and winter solitude.  Here are a few shared Haiku inspirations from our group coupled with some of my photographs.

snow smoke swirls
bent cattail blades
Iris Fennell

finding calm
in the rage of winter wind
a complete surprise
Cassandra Oxley

dancing snow
specters in the haloed sun
spring so distant 
Cassandra Oxley

howling wind
and whirling snow
moving ghostly eddies
Susan Primm Thel

ice flows black water –
colors of poets watching
geese swimming upstream
Cherrie Corey

a cold silence
geese swimming upriver
past floating ice
Brad Bennett

swamp dogwood 
in snow
red in endless white
Beth Brownlow

coffee ready waiting
warmth for haiku trekkers
snow spirals whirling
Anne Whitaker

With our gathered inspirations, we adjourned to Thoreau Farm to share our Haiku and warm refreshments.  On my short drive home, at dusk, I noticed a firey glow building on the horizon and dashed back to Great Meadows for an unexpected sunset at the end of this icy, gray day.  Snow swirling pink now, a "double" sun, and a welcome encounter with dusk-walking friends, Iris and Mary.

winter branches
end of day
sky fire
Iris Fennell

February 10, 2013

Silence, Beauty, Balance

In the wake of our blizzard, all has calmed.  Bright sun and blue sky illuminate and frame the white counterpain of snow that unites the marshes and shorelines as one seamless, brilliant landscape. Sensuous shapes and fluid lines highlighted by shadow quietly belie yesterday's frantic, swirling winds.  It's both a wonder and a story as I slowly move toward the river.

There is a rare, deep silence here by the river today.  No wind, lapping water, voices, planes or motors interrupt this stillness - a rare moment.  A great-horned owl begins its soft, deep call from the pines edging the Bemis's field.  Warbling bluebirds announce their progress along the shoreline.  The soft, melodic trills of tree sparrows build as the sun sinks lower.  Nuthatches work the trees around me.  But all of these voices modulate in balance with the quiet.  The shadows lengthen and I'm joined on my riverside bench by a woman named Muse.

Light Pillar Marks Storm's End

Sun pillar forming
For some of us, yesterday's blizzard was a long-awaited affirmation of winter's beauty, grace, and fury...a reset of primal seasonal rhythms that are becoming more syncopated with an increasingly erratic climate.  As the afternoon cleared and the sun began its descent, I quickly ventured to Great Meadows for the denouement to this stormy drama.  My seeking was unexpectedly rewarded with a most wonderful flourish, one that I've never seen before.  (Thanks to two friends for giving it a name!)  Here is my journey down the heavily drifted Dike Trail, in 30 mph winds, and 0ยบ windchill to bid the day farewell, and stand in awe.

Setting sun with unusual radiance
Rose-tinted clouds in all directions
Conical-shaped base of pillar forms as sun reaches horizon

For more information about sun pillars and other wondrous optical phenomena, see Light Pillars.