Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I awake to the sound of steady rain, an unwelcome change from the warm sunny weather we have been having. I don't want to miss out on my daily walk, so I do household chores and some writing and hope that the rain clears. By mid afternoon it has stopped, though the sky is still heavily overcast.

I head out in my car and park at the base of the hill. I am looking for a little more challenge than the easy track I have been practising on. I look at the steep hill to my right. Hills like this one are the reason I haven't been orienteering much this year. Looking from the bottom to the top, thinking "I have to get up there" is a little daunting. But I am not orienteering, and hence there is a track to follow, which zigzags gradually up the steep slope. It is narrow and the surface is damp, but the hardpacked earth has not turned to mud. Long grasses on each side bend inwards so that the seed heads greet each other. They remind me of a guard of honour with crossed swords or rifles. They brush my trousers, making them damp, but not too wet to be bearable. The zigzags of the track are almost level in places, but at each turn of the track, I climb a little higher. Eventually I reach a spot where the track becomes indistinct as it passes over bare rock. I take what I think is the right direction to a plane table which identifies features on the horizon.

It is quiet on the track. I hear distant traffic, the thwack of my track shoes on the path, the swish of my rain jacket. Even the sheep have gone elsewhere. The tops of the hills have disappeared into the clouds. When I think I have climbed high enough, I turn and descend down the other side of the spur.

the rocky gorge
cliffs topped with pines
river runs below

I reach a gate and finish my walk along a road which leads me back to the car park.

alone in the car park
my only companions
starlings on wet grass

[Haibun is a passage of prose which includes haiku. It is a form that has been used historically in Japan for poetic diaries. I am also currently reading a travel book which takes a similar form: "Here Comes Another Vital Moment" by New Zealand writer Diane Brown. I like the idea of using this form for a journal of a trip, and am contemplating trying it when I go to the UK next year.
Haibun is this week's topic at onedeepbreath, where you can find links to examples from other bloggers.]


susanlavonne said...

You've really created an inspirational haibun! Thanks for the book title and again, for the inspiration.

January said...

Very nice passage. I've learned so much about differnt poetic/literary forms from other blogs. Thanks for sharing--this is lovely.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love a good walk too! I really enjoyed your haibun especially the second haiku.

paris parfait said...

So beautiful - walks/climbs like this don't occur every day and your haibun captures the bliss.

Deb R said...

Very nice, Catherine! I'd never heard of haibun until the ODB prompt and I really like your take on it.

Becca said...

Catherine, I think your haibun and haiku are quite perfect examples of the form. Your travel journal in this form will be quite amazing!

The book you mentioned sounds very interesting, too.

This was lovely, and made me feel as if I had been on the walk with you.

Jennifer S. said...

this is so beautiful, I did take a nice deep breath with you on your walk... now I long to get outside for one of my own. the haiku are perfection.

Anonymous said...

Lovely solitude of place/peace

Andromeda Jazmon said...

I love this, especially the way wrote about the wet grass, the sheep and the starlings. Very nice job.