watching the live stream

lonesome hollow


A couple of years ago, a wounded doe struggled up from the valley to seek refuge in the steepest part of the hollow and died beside the stream right where it flows the most swiftly, between 90-degree beds of hard sandstone. I almost stepped on her skull the day before last while conducting a wildflower survey.

The photo then prompted this haiku, which in contrast to the one I posted yesterday, took more than a day of pondering: where to go with a germ of wonder that wasn’t terribly original, having to do with the contrast between mortality and the inexhaustible leave-taking of a creek? In the end, I took my cue from a friend of mine who’s become a fan of a YouTube livestream of a forested stream in Denmark. Although with this obvious sort of pun at its heart, no doubt what I’m calling a haiku would be considered a senryu by some.

tiger beetle in the road

teach me your kung fu


There’s an acute lack of resolution in this photo due to cropping from a too-distant shot. The beetle was actually quite cooperative, and allowed me to approach to the point where I was holding the phone just inches away, but that’s when the camera chose to stop focusing and require a re-start, by which time the beetle had buggered off. So this isn’t going to win any awards. On the other hand, I’m rather pleased with the haiku.

Earth Day

millipede on the green
bathroom wall

waves passing through
its carpet of feet


Good to find a use once again for the target-shaped text option in Snapseed. The auto-generated font sizes and lines were a good fit for this tanka as well, I think. All in all, I’d say my smugness about this haiga-like thing is appropriate for the day, which has long been mainly an exercise in corporate greenwashing and liberal performative virtue.

April wood turtle

seeking shade
within


I’m embarrassed to admit how long it took me to get this right in GIMP. (This is the main problem with FLOSS, isn’t it? The uber-geeks who volunteer their time to develop open-source software don’t tend to see much value in creating quick and easy shortcuts for dummies, as commercial software developers do.) After trying a couple of other brush-calligraphy fonts, I settled on this one—Beyond the Mountains—for superior legibility. And only belatedly realized that the bare-twig shadows on the shell needed space, and shouldn’t simply be merged into the calligraphy as I originally wanted to do.

I flirted with the idea of treating the text like a personal ad, but who under the age of 30 even knows what that is?

This wood turtle was out and about in a place near here called the Barrens a little more than a week ago, so possibly actually late March. It’s all a goddamn blur.

question mark butterfly

my shadow
taking the shot


A little too comic, a little too obvious… fine, it’s a senryu. Bring on literalism in the haiga, complete with speech balloon.

As an adult butterfly, the question mark seeks out rotting fruit, tree sap, dung, or carrion as food sources. Only when these are unavailable do question marks visit flowers for nectar. This dietary adaptation is especially beneficial to the late spring / overwintering / early spring brood when nectar sources may be limited.

Polygonia interrogationis – Wikipedia

the shock of recognition

ant gallery


I may well have just ruined a nuanced and delicate haiku that took me days to write with an obvious visual joke, but I’m not sorry. Designing the badge (an option on Snapseed I’d never previously had a use for) led to a completely new understanding of “recognition.”

These are old carpenter ant galleries exposed on a standing dead tree as the cambium rots off.

two-day snowstorm

Snow shovel half buried in snow beside a vole tunnel.

rodent teeth find
something to gnaw


Ordinarily I’d have gone with “finding” but changed it to fit the newspaper headline and sub-heading style. That came toward the end of two days (appropriately enough) of fiddling around with various textual and font possibilities. Out-takes included “two-day snowstorm my solitude growing voluptuous” and “two-day snowstorm the sudden snap of a mousetrap”.

The fonts are Perpetua Titling MT Bold and Gauge Oblique (which to my eye is indistinguishable from Gauge Italic, but what do I know).