Writers block. It’s when you want to write something but nothing comes. It happens to all of us from time to time and we have different ways of dealing with it. You put the pen down or you close the computer. You go for a walk then you come back and start again. We are all inspired by things around us, or things we read or see. Usually that works but sometimes it’s still a blank page looking at you. It’s a writer’s block and we try again another day. It never lasts for too long, hopefully.
This got me thinking about people around the world, mainly women, who want to speak or write about things that are important to them but are forbidden to do so. That is a different kind of block. If they dare to speak or write, they risk facing all kinds of censorship or barbaric punishment.
Maybe the next time I complain about writers block I will just write about those brave women who fearlessly do it without thought to their own safety. I’m sure they have plenty to say.
It was not until this morning that I realized I had completely forgotten to post my Daily Haiku yesterday on August 10th. My mind has been full with other things lately and it just slipped my mind. It has only happened twice in over three years.
As it happened it would have been my late mother’s birthday and I did think about her throughout the day. Didn’t remember the Haiku, but remembered her fondly. So here is a Senryu in remembrance of her and others we have all lost along the way.
I have chosen a Swan as the image. It was her favorite bird.
August here in the south is so hot you can fry an egg on the hood of your car. The sun burns your shoulders while you hurry from the car to the store and are grateful for some cool air conditioning relief. The humidity is so high you sweat buckets.
It is the season for hurricanes so we are stocking up on bottled water, batteries and other necessary supplies to sustain us and keep us safe. In the event we find ourselves in the of path of a monster, we will have to ‘hunker down’ as is the language of the storm watchers. We are always thankful for the generator we purchased a few years ago and have not yet had to use, and we will worry once more about whether or not we should have invested in hurricane shutters. We will know by November’s end if we won that gamble or not.
The names of the storms become so familiar, creeping into our everyday conversations as if they are real people living with us. For years after we refer to them as if they were distant relatives who had come to stay for a while. They were either good houseguests or not depending on the damage left behind.
I was born right around the summer solstice. I truly am a summer child and come to life each year when the days are longer and filled with sunshine. Overcast days leave me moody and sometimes give me a headache. As I was born and raised in London there were many rainy, grey days which only made us appreciate the sunshine all the more. Even my favorite Shakespeare play is A Midsummer Night’s Dream!
Now, later in life, I live in Florida where it is sunny every day and the weather is never cold. Yes, it rains, but it is warm rain that you can walk in and we always have an abundance of pretty clouds. You could say I am in my element and I am where I was meant to be.
The Full Moon of May is known as Flower Moon to signify the flowers that bloom during this month. It makes me think of Texas wildflowers. The beautiful gifts of nature that come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
I lived in Dallas, Texas for 14 years and will never forget the miles and miles of brightly colored wildflowers that would grow along the side of the highways and in fields. It was a sight difficult to describe to anyone who had not seen it for themselves. It was as if nature had laid down a multi-colored wall to wall carpet stretching for miles. You would see Indian Blanket, Pink Ladies, Black Eyed Susan, Indian Paintbrush. Mexican Hat, Milkweed, Texas Bluebonnet, Blackfoot Daisy and many more.
The Texas wildflowers was as inspiration of Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of President Lyndon Johnson. Both were nature-loving Texans. Johnson’s crowning achievement was the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, or “Lady Bird’s Bill,” which not only promoted the planting of wildflowers and other fauna along the growing Interstate Highway System but also limited billboard advertisements and other roadside eyesores such as junkyards. To this day, Springtime in Texas is a magnificent sight. The flower fields have become popular settings for family photographs and weddings.
When I was growing up, the expressions “Slow down” and “Take time to smell the roses”, were often heard. Too impatient for most things to materialize and hungry for life to happen, I had little interest doing either of those things.
Now, much later in life, as I sit watching the sun slip down in the late afternoon sky, I see its cache of shimmering diamonds spilling onto the water’s surface. I am entranced by moments that I never want to end. At this time of year I know I have at least another couple of hours to watch this kaleidoscope of color turning slowly with the passing minutes. The color palette is different each day and I let it touch every sense. The Gardenia bushes are flush with fragrant white blossoms and woodpeckers are drilling the side of a palm tree. The warmth of the sun is relaxing aching shoulders as a Mockingbird atop the chimney stack begins his late afternoon serenade.
Ah, beautiful Cherry blossoms, the harbinger of Springtime. On dreary, dark days the sight of an avenue with Cherry trees in full bloom can elevate a mood of despondency to that of being in a fairy tale. Walking down the street under boughs of pretty pink blossoms, feeling like a princess, is an almost magical state of being.
Some unseasonably warm weather in Washington DC has meant that today the trees are in peak bloom (osozakura). The sight is spectacular and normally drives many tourists there to view the trees when they are at their most photographic.
This is the time when they would be visiting in full force but the pandemic has put a stop to that. The National Park service has urged visitors not to come, and instead is encouraging the public to enjoy the puffy blossoms virtually using the Trust for the National Mall’s online BloomCam. Innovative, yes, but not quite the same, is it?
I was born in London at home and delivered by midwives instead of the hospital. It was quite common at that time. We lived in the downstairs half of a house with an elderly neighbor occupying the upstairs. Her name was Mrs. Philpott and my mother would always refer to her as such because everything was more formal in those days. My earliest memories are of my older brother and sister setting up a tent in the back garden and we would camp out. It was like having my own little house. I loved it!
Sometimes they would take me on the bus to a park and we would walk to the river carrying our fishing nets and jam jars on a rope to catch tadpoles. Once when I was four, I fell backwards in the river and had to ride home on the bus wearing nothing but my Mackintosh. My brother had to carry my wet clothes in his hands. My mum was upset but let us put the tadpoles and spawn in a big tub and we would watch them every day to see them grow legs 2 at a time until they became tiny black frogs.
We moved from that house when I was six to somewhere bigger and brand new but there was no back garden to speak of and the river was further away.
I was walking my dogs early one morning last fall and saw a bird flying above. I knew immediately by the immense span of black/brown wings and striking white head that it was a bald eagle.
To my surprise he landed on a tree just in front of us on one of the lower branches. We stopped in our tracks and the dogs quietly sat down and none of us moved a muscle.
The majestic eagle stayed in place for at least two minutes while I watched in awe. I was so excited I wanted to get a photo and of course all I had was an iPhone with two large Labs on leashes, but I managed to get a least one picture, even though it’s a little grainy. (see below). These moments are like little gifts from Nature.
It’s been 20 years since that cold wintery day I had to let go of my Thoroughbred, Magnum. He had been my friend, my team mate and my confidant for many years but sadly he had developed severe laminitis. A condition which made it difficult for him to walk, resulting in a life-ending decision.
It was truly heartbreaking to have my vet come and euthanize my horse and I will always be grateful for his kindness and thoughtfulness in making arrangements to have the body removed while I was at work. I think seeing it would have been too painful to watch.
Later in the day I returned to the stables to remove my tack and belongings. I walked into Magnum’s stall one more time and looked out into the pasture. Sitting just outside his stall was a cat as white as pure snow. I had never seen it before and it just sat there and looked at me for a long time. It held my gaze for what seemed like an age and then it just ran away. I remember reading somewhere that white animals appear as spirit guides after a death. Perhaps it was helping him on his way.
Kim is hosting Monday Haibun at D’Verse Poets and has prompted us as follows:
This week, I would like you to write about a time when you last watched stars, a storm, the sea, an animal, or something else in nature that left you with a sense of wonder or awe. Aim to write no more than three tight paragraphs, followed by a traditional haiku that includes reference to a season.