without knowing the future

monarch butterfly

One advantage to only using a cellphone for photography is that it requires one to get physically close to one’s subjects for photos like this, which involve lots of patient stalking. Out of such absorbing experiences, haiku sometimes emerge fully formed. Such was the case with me and a series of monarchs this afternoon. And it’s a great example of how scientific knowledge contributes to a sense of wonder. So yes, I had a direct experience in a sort of Zen way, but that experience was shaped by my knowledge of monarchs’ multi-generational, epic migration—an epic they themselves presumably have no intellectual grasp of. Like most animals, they are, we suppose, in the moment at all times. Which is simultaneously attractive and terrifying to contemplate.

heat lightning

the meadow’s whisper
of crickets

One of those haiku that really needs that space or punctuation in the semantic break. Written on the phone as I was walking back through our old field (hasn’t been plowed or planted in 50 years). Then I remembered that a) I had a flashlight, and b) the phone camera has a flash, so several minutes of photographic experimentation ensued. I did have to wait till I got back to the house in order to finish it up with GIMP on the laptop. The font is called Rage Italic for some damn reason. It’s certainly one of the most legible cursive fonts.

The crickets in question are mostly not the ones that go cheep cheep cheep but the ones that make a rattle-y kind of trill. I think the storm is going to miss us.

skinned alive

by a porcupine
sweet birch

Sweet or black birch (Betula lenta) has the same flavor as wintergreen. It’s a first-succession species, and over the past few years I’ve seen porcupines noshing on it so often, I’ve decided that this is the main reason it hasn’t completely taken over our old fields.


small gray feathers melting free of the snowpacks

fox’s leftover
junco feathers

Process notes

I notice that this is the third haiga in a row where the haiku pivots on a pun (here, junco/junk). This is a departure for me though in placing the text in the dead center, foregrounding it primarily to knit together an otherwise not terribly impressive image. But is the match of text to image too literal?

This came out of a haiku-gathering walk yesterday in which I was seeing photos and hearing words almost simultaneously, deep in the participatory magic of original making. So I’m putting my misgivings about literalism aside and trusting in the process.

I should add that I don’t know for sure that these junco feathers are the result of gray fox predation—it could’ve been a red fox, coyote, barred owl, etc. I have seen small fox tracks in the vicinity and our neighbor’s game camera recently captured a gray fox so we know at least one is around. So I think this is easily covered by poetic license.