Haibun Monday – Taking a Bath in the Forest – say what??

Today at 3:00 PM, EST, I am hosting the Haibun Monday prompt for dVerse Poets Pub.  Come join us at this virtual pub for good conversation and good poetry.  I am asking people to write (non-fiction) a one – three paragraph haibun ending it with a classic haiku (using kigo and kireji) and to write about the last time they were immersed in nature.  The subject that prompted this was shinrin-yoku – literally forest bathing.  It is a recognized health benefit in Japan and lately other places.  So please, come join us! I was going to write about getting my vegetable garden ready for planting but decided on true shinrin-yoku. I am an old tree climber from waaaay back.

Having a tree as a BFF is a good thing!
I leaned back into the arms of the old oak tree, it’s warm bark comforting and cradling. All around me in the stillness of the woods that surrounds my home, I could hear the sounds of birds – songs, calling territory, rustling in the branches, wings occasionally flapping as one landed or took off. Every once in awhile, the bark of a crow or several sharp caws would join in. Small creatures – squirrels, chipmunks, deer, bunnies, snakes, frogs – all would make sounds as they went about their daily business. Foraging for food, scurrying from hawks gliding overhead, tunneling, eating, croaking and meditating in the sun – all the woodland sounds.

I come to these woods about once a week to nourish myself. I stand at the edge and decide what path to take today. Often I take the path to this ancient oak, an old friend of mine. I climb the tree until I find the certain conjunction of branches that hide and hold me. Winter or summer, spring or fall; snow or rain, sunshine and cold or heat – I love all the turns of the seasons I can watch from this place in the tree. Last summer, I watched a nest of cardinals hatching over in the neighboring tree. I looked down as a buck and his harem processed majestically beneath me. I have seen much and felt much in this tree. This tree is like the welcoming arms of my husband or my mother or a friend.

It is time. I rustle around a few minutes and bring forth my violin. Today in midsummer, it is time for something light and playful. I place my bow to the strings and begin Boccherini’s La Musica Notturna Delle Strade No. 6. The woods and all its creatures listen for just a space and then, they begin again, going about their business.

summer sounds drift by –
lazy creek at bottom of
hill sings its own song

copyright kanzensakura

40 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. whippetwisdom
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 15:15:39

    A beautiful haibun Toni and what a magical place to be in the arms of your beloved oak tree. I love your closing haiku and the hill singing its own song xxx


  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 15:18:34

    I love how you have found your friend in that old oak… yes trees can be friends and family… actually every house should have a tree that is part of the family I think… 🙂


  3. frankhubeny
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 15:52:03

    That “the creatures listen for just a space” is a sign they heard and then maybe joined in, in their own way, or realized this new sound was not going to harm them and so it could be welcomed.


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 06, 2017 @ 16:00:09

      Exactly Frank. they know no harm is meant. I have been sitting in this tree and fiddling for about 15 years now. The first couple of years were strange but then, they realized I was one of them and accepted me.


  4. ladynyo
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 15:56:44

    Oh, how beautiful…but how healing this is, even to a reader. How fortunate you are to have such an environment at your footsteps. To be able to choose which path, depending on your mood or circumstance, is a true luxury. And a violin to serenade those around you! I also play my fiddle outside in the garden, but my dogs howl and my cats grimace and the birds grow very quiet. LOL! I am not the violinist you are. How wonderful and peaceful a scene you grow for us. And how healing of the heart.


  5. sarahsouthwest
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 16:02:55

    This is full of peace and light.


  6. Jane Dougherty
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 16:28:25

    Ah, you’re already looking forward to summer! Violin music and the stream as backing, lovely images.


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 06, 2017 @ 17:44:32

      Actually, I am looking forward to planting my vegetable garden! I have already planted the seeds for carrots, beets, radishes…they are poking their little green heads above the dirt and yelling for all they are worth – we’re here!!!!

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10


  7. wolfsrosebud
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 17:12:20

    Would like to climb a tree and play an instrument; alas it’s not my path. Instead I’ll hum a tune and listen to the leaves clap. You do some fun things in the forest.


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 06, 2017 @ 17:26:57

      Of course humming is most excellent. I can’t sing so sometimes I hum. I often take a violin and/or penny whistle with me to the woods. I play them often times along with the songs I hear. Not always in tune, but passable.


  8. Grace
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 17:12:53

    I wish I can go often to the woods and see those woodland creatures ~ The sounds with the violin sounds heavenly to me Toni ~ I feel very relaxed and comforted by your haibun ~ Thanks for hosting ~


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 06, 2017 @ 17:46:36

      I am glad you feel relaxed and comforted by my haibun. That was one of the things I was hoping people would put into place in their haibun. The world is such a snarly mess nowadays, it seems something calm and soothing was needed.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10


  9. kim881
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 17:15:20

    I so agree with you about having a tree as a BFF, Toni – I have my willow and you have an oak! I love the image I have in my mind’s eye of you up in the oak branches playing the violin.


  10. Victoria C. Slotto
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 17:50:41

    I so love the idea of playing your violin in that comforting old oak. I almost wrote of my pepper tree that I used to spend hours in as a child. The memory I culled for my haibun, and that tree are two of my favorite places to find refuge anytime, anywhere.


  11. Beverly Crawford
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 17:50:44

    Your haibun is enchanting. The sheltering oak is special, and I wonder what the forest denizens think of the sounds of the violin emanating from its branches! Thank you for sharing your story!


  12. Glenn Buttkus
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 18:55:52

    Wow, a rush. My grandfather played the fiddle, and he would take it when we hiked into the mountains. He would find a high perch and play several tunes right at sunset. I thought I would never hear the like again. I used to wonder if others in the vicinity were confused by it.


  13. welshstream
    Mar 07, 2017 @ 05:28:33

    This is an immense and wonderfully evocative haibun of a lovely place that is clearly very special to you. Some lovely images and I particularly like the thought of you not only taking peace from the forest but bringing some to it with your violin.


  14. lillian
    Mar 07, 2017 @ 07:50:32

    I used to climb Mrs Jester’s big apple tree when I was a little girl. Any season. She was an elderly neighbor and I have absolutely no memory of her except her name, but I remember the comfort, the adventure, the blossoms, the peering through branches as a spy or cowgirl…the magic of her tree. Thank you for awakening these memories this morning!
    And….aha! NOW I see — the dash … and the second two lines that can be “run-on in meaning.” I always thought each line in a haiku had to be “alone” — Your haiku today is now written in my journal as an example of the two parts. Thank you! 😊❤


  15. lillian
    Mar 07, 2017 @ 07:54:14

    Question – can the dash be at the end of the second line, so the last line, instead of the first, is the “different one” for lack of better words. The first and second lines together — and then the third line as the second part?


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 07, 2017 @ 09:10:23

      Yes or even, i the middle of or at the of the second line. It is very fluid. If you were to look at a Japanese haiku written in Japanese, you would see it is one vertical line and thus, the language aspiration is there. In the English version, the lines are broken up into three lines and therefore it is harder to find the intaken breath and the separated parts. Of course, for thevlast 50 years or so, the Japanese have also been writing in three lines along with the single vertical line. It is rather fluid as long as the season word is used. A haiku without nature is called a senryu…an unidentical twin to the haiku. And as long as there is that “aha” moment,that moment of “ahhh” or even a surprise, such as in the old frog and pond haiku. The surprise is the implied sound of the frog splashing. Often times, the haiku is “finished” in the imagination or heart of the reader. I’ve been writung them for 50+ years and am still learning…for a “simple” poetic form, it is complicated. But that is the Japanese for you. Nothing is rarely straightforward, especially about nature. About 25 years ago, I took a trip to Japan and followed the path of Basho’s famous long journey during which he created the haibun. Very enlightening.

      Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab®|PRO


  16. Sherry Marr
    Mar 07, 2017 @ 15:24:19

    Oh my goodness, how I LOVE the image of you sitting in the tree playing violin. I’ll bet both trees and forest creatures enjoy it so much. I also love that its arms feel like those of your dear ones. Loved this poem!


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 07, 2017 @ 15:38:11

      Thank you Sherry. the surrounding woods and huge kitchen are two of the reasons we bought the house. I hope the trees and creatures enjoy my playing. They haven’t complained in 10 years of my doing so!


  17. Misky
    Mar 07, 2017 @ 15:25:19

    I love idea of playing music for the birds to enjoy (and I’m sure that they do!).


  18. rosemawrites
    Mar 07, 2017 @ 23:53:29

    your words took me to that exact spot with you. this is so beautiful! 🙂 ❤


  19. Sreeja Harikrishnan
    Mar 08, 2017 @ 09:37:31

    that’s so lovely….the violin and the tree…heavenly!


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