dark hollow

all this time where
the great oak stood

Ten days ago the largest tree on the mountain fell over—an immense roar on an otherwise still evening just after 9:00 p.m. I heard it from the spruce grove a quarter mile away, but didn’t go to investigate for nearly a week because I was afraid of what I’d find. I was a little shocked to discover that what had appeared such a strong tree, bearing up against ridgetop winds for two centuries, had in fact been hollow, and so rotten that it snapped off near the ground rather than uprooting—testament also, I suppose, to how tight a grip it had on the nearly vertical beds of hard sandstone. RIP.

I came across the toppled tree just at sunset, and this dark and blurry shot best conveys my shocked reaction. The haiku is my sixth saved draft, and may or may not be the last. The play on “hollow” is as obvious as it is, to me, unavoidable. The great hole it left in the canopy afforded me my first view of the waxing moon for the evening, and I was reminded of that famous haiku by Mizuta Masahide: “barn burnt down, now I can see the moon”.

Snapseed’s fonts here (Amatic SC for the upper case and Loved by the King for the lower case) seemed adequate, especially with the unusually large gaps between words in the latter. Anything less hand-drawn-looking probably wouldn’t have worked.

crow mimicking

a crow hunter’s
crow call

With the change in the calendar comes a major change in photohaiku presentation here. After years of resisting the urge to make haiga (or postal poems, as a short-lived journal I used to edit called photos incorporating text), I’ve finally given in, prompted by the discovery that the Snapseed app, which I’ve had on my phone for years, makes it really easy. (In my defense, the text option is hidden near the bottom of the tools menu.) I’ve long been bothered by the unimaginative text-image pairings and poor font choices in a lot of online photo haiga, so this is my chance to try and do a little better (while still failing frequently, I’m sure).

I’ll still split the text between title and post, for accessibility’s sake and to maintain consistency with the archive. I may still post photos without text in them. And I’ll continue to cross-post to Instagram (@neotoma_magister) and auto-post to Twitter (@morningporch), so you can follow me there as well if you’re a masochist.