The pink lady’s slipper depends on bumblebees bumbling through in search of nectar they don’t get, then slipping up and doing it again in another flower for cross-pollination to occur. Typical trickster orchid up to no good.
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.
One of those haiku that just comes fully formed with no effort, as I sat on the porch this morning watching the rain and feeling very at home in the world. I had taken the photo of rain-drenched lilies-of-the-valley in my front garden a couple of days ago; we’re in a rainy spell. It was not immediately obvious where to place the text, and initially I had it on the lichen at the bottom with copious drop-shadow to make it legible, which was OK but not great. Under the shelter of the leaves turned out to be better in every way, and my usual technique of trying fonts at random seemed to work out as well: this is Quicksand with some added spacing between the letters.
I’m not sure who hunts this portion of the ridge but I like their aesthetic, and I did indeed sit there for a spell this afternoon, reading poetry and feeling inspired, until the rain started. On the walk back, the first two lines came to me and I debated over what sort of “spelling” to go with. One idea that I rejected as too cerebral:
sitting for a spell the word orogeny
I was keen to include the word “mountain,” especially as part of a fuller spell — sand stone mountain — but that one extra word seemed to break the spell, as it were: a practical lesson in magic. The one change I could get away with, I think, would be to go more colloquial and change sitting to setting, which could conjure up images of pudding, jello, etc.
un- POSTED sign of a bear I stay out with fewer words
This power pole has always been a major message board for local and visiting black bears, who indicate their size by their claw marks, and also add pheromones to encode other information, e.g. whether a female is in estrus. Naturally, they tend to resent human additions (though when the power company replaced the pole three years ago, they adopted the new one without a fuss). As for the tanka, I decided to try to push ambiguity to the limit. I don’t think it would work on its own, without the image.
A photo of the top of a composter, taken on a whim, seems a good fit for this haiku, which is mostly just an excuse to deploy the phrase “sub-orbital tourism.” Here’s the ad that inspired it. To be honest, if I had money to burn, I’d probably sign up. But I do feel sorry for people who don’t realize how many absolute miracles of evolutionary perfection can be found right in their own backyards.
I should add that “high spring” is a term I made up some years ago, but I think most people from a temperate climate will know what it means: that period just as the forest canopy is filling out when the spring ephemeral wildflowers are at their height, and flowering shrubs such as dogwood and azalea are in bloom.