After reading Richard Wright's publication of haikus, I've been contemplating the sensories that inspire my own writing. Lately, piquant yet pleasant odors have been at the top of this list. Pine resin - so sweetly pungent it should be melodic, rosemary's sticky sap, thick Italian balsamic vinegar that I drizzle on caprese and enjoy for the taste as much as its waft.
One of my own haikus captures these loves, mingling them with the beauty of the life cycle of an ebony jewelwing, whose etched wings and iridescent body flit near streams this time of year:
As pine needles warm
on forest paths, resin scent
rises like jewelwings.
Another reveals the central role herb and vegetable gardens have in my life. There is nothing more satisfying than gleaning an array of garden produce you started from seeds or cuttings. And when a friend proffers such to you, it's one of the most loving gestures - especially when you recognize that it took weeks and months of compassionate tending for you to hold and enjoy that gift.
Moss quilts silvern rocks
as richly as rosemary,
plucked by bare fingers.
Rosemary, interestingly enough, means "dew of the sea" in Latin (ros maris) - a keystone thought I held recently, meandering on trails in one of the newest state parks of Virginia: Machicomoco along the York. I was pleased to see so much cultural and linguistic information from the perspective of Indigenous Peoples, rather than a colonial interpretation. It was as freeing as tears or pressing unpeeled garlic with the thick blade of a knife or an unexpected kindness or sunlight sparkling through wind-wavered tree branches and pinpointing your eyesight on details underfoot.
Light discos through limbs,
mingles with long-leaf needles
and oyster-white sand.
What imagery inspires your day, friend? How do you spend and savor Earth's pirouette, each day? What rhythms emerge that allow you to breathe and be, peacefully and joyfully, you?
The hawk's whirling kite
sparks shadow to chase a string
less held than the sun's.
For me and for you, I'm praying today captures the peace and joy we deserve. And when we rest, it's freely and sweetly, without guilt or shame.
When cold night's brightest,
moonlight slips across the floor
for dawn to tuck in.
SENK, an artist and writer in the Shenandoah Valley, savors moments contemplating life's intricate beauty.