bird’s nest of roots
nowhere to turn

One of those images so laden with potential significance that I had to spend quite a lot of time deciding what not to include, e.g. the fact that I found the nest on the road, the (hopefully obvious) fact that it fell out of a tree, etc. Even once I settled on turn/turning as the key abstraction, there were many enticing possibilities to rule out.

All of which is to say I’m not entirely sure there isn’t a better haiku hiding in this image. Perhaps that why I chose to half-hide the image behind the words.

It kind of looks like an album cover, though. Perhaps a more understated approach to the haiga would’ve been better.


of clouds

I keep trying to accumulate enough haiku to make submissions to certain hoity-toity journals that only consider haiku that have never been blogged or shared on social media, and then finding excuses to post them here anyway. Oops! In this case, the excuse was provided by an eight-spotted forester moth that landed on the brim of my ball cap, then obligingly stayed there while I de-capped, fished out my phone and took some snapshots.

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.

trailside camp

the Indian cucumber root’s
second story

Another from Friday’s hike in the Seven Mountains. Not bad for a quick cellphone snapshot if I do say so myself. I love the way Medeola virginiana sends up a second whorl of leaves if it’s going to flower, but then half hides the flowers. Is it possible to be shyly flamboyant?

stopping for the view

an inchworm’s pure green
on my hat brim

This is the oldest section of what became a long distance hiking trail stretching from Maryland to New York state, the Mid-State Trail. The guy who led the effort, a Penn State physics professor named Tom Thwaites, was exceedingly fond of scenic views, which to me are relatively uninteresting compared to trees, rocks, wildflowers, birds, insects, lichen, etc. So as many times as I’ve been here, I’d never actually checked out most of the viewpoints along this stretch of trail until Friday, when I made a point of going to each one. And of course I then found plenty to interest me, such as the inchworm mentioned here.

coffin-shaped spring

the plucked banjo string
of a tanager

One of 24 haiku (many of them admittedly pretty bad) that I drafted in the course of a ten-mile ramble through central Pennsylvania’s Seven Mountains area on Friday, mostly on trails that I’ve hiked and camped along dozens of times over the decades. This old ridgetop spring was originally built for watering horses, I believe.

I didn’t think I was the only one to compare a scarlet tanager’s “energetic and very distinctive chick-burr” call to a plucked banjo string, but a web search only turns up my own posts. Oh well.

rain still falling from the trees

wood thrush song

A nano-puddle in a fallen oak leaf. A wood thrush was singing while I crouched to get the shot. I was working with a much broader crop when the limitations of the free Snapseed app—most of the best font options, including this one, don’t permit line breaks—led me to experiment with bleed-through of contrasting colors at ~50% opacity to emphasize the semantic break.

the millipede’s carnival colors

I forget where I am

I believe this is Apheloria virginiensis. I did indeed get so lost in looking at it that I couldn’t remember where I was until I stood up. And it’s not as if I’d never seen one of these before; they’re fairly common in the forest leaf duff.

I processed this on my phone, as usual, and didn’t notice until uploading it to the laptop just now that it’s slightly fuzzy. Oh well.