tombescence (n):

the fruiting body
of a fungus

This may not be a proper haiku, but presenting it as if it were might prompt an attentive reader to look for multiple meanings. E.g. could a particular mushroom be intended, and/or a mushroom-like thing (nudge nudge wink wink)? Why no “mushroom” when the arched moss in the haiga is so architectural? And of course the whole sex-and-death thing, la petite mort as nature morte, etc.

So why then did I present it as a one-liner? Because I felt the urge to make the haiga on my phone, and the free app I use (Snapseed) has very limited font and formatting options compared to GIMP on the laptop. So why do that, then? Because lately I’ve been trying to recapture the sort of frictionless, in-the-flow self-publishing magic I first experienced 18 years ago, when blogging was new and so many of us got excited about becoming documentarians of our daily lives, mining the quotidian for moments of beauty or heightened awareness. These days, that mostly means posting stuff to social media, in part because the WordPress app for iPhones can’t seem to handle posting to this blog, I think because it’s hosted on a multiuser installation ( but under my own subdomain, and that confuses it. But I was at least able to post the just-made haiga to Instagram (and on to Facebook) while it was still super fresh, sitting on a bench in the woods. I love that. I hope my rock-bottom cellphone data plan continues to allow it.

moss climbing the trees

mountain lake

Wandering the Haddie Buck Peninsula in central Pennsylvania’s Glendale Lake yesterday, it took me an embarrassingly long time to work out why so many of the trees in its rather impressive oak-hickory forest wear such thick collars of moss. A forest in the middle of a lake is always rather special—for one thing, it’s a bit less accessible to the marauding deer. This looks like a very good place to revisit in spring wildflower season.


in the forest
the footfalls of moss

Given haiku’s extreme concision, it is sometimes necessary to adjust the facts to fit the reality of an insight. In this case, the tar paper roof is not on a shack, exactly, but a corncrib-like feeder for deer. (This is a former hunting camp acquired by a land conservancy and just transferred to the public in the form of new Pennsylvania state forest land.) But there are plenty of hollows around here where people are poor enough to inhabit shacks with roofs very like this one, so if readers imagine that kind of scenario, they’re not wrong.