Where Have You (I) Been? or Haikus on Joy

Where Have You Been?

Please tell me the days of CovInsanity have not ripped away your hope, or your health, or, heaven forbid, your loved ones. For me, the tug at my positive outlook on the world, the one I eventually return to after days of down or blue or even bluer, has been as tough as the tide. I feel tugged, but I find my ground again. I fight the pull with my feet stuck in the proverbial sand of ‘yes, we will be okay.’

All this sand rubs off the callouses, that’s for sure. Enough to make me feel soft and doughy and lazily craving long hours curled up on the couch reading with shades drawn against the heat, or myself, or perhaps the world. And then, darn it. Enough. I’m up again. ‘I can do this. Let’s go.’ Callous-free feet be damned. I’ll toughen up. I hope the same for you wherever you are.

I hope the days of Black Lives Matter are not days, but time unlimited. And the lessons to be learned — new, challenging, but hopefully once and for all — are, again, as relentless as that tide. And as swimming lessons have been available for the social classroom for centuries, centuries, if nobody attends the sessions, then the doubt and fear and anger take over the school, and their training methods are severe. No more drowning in injustice. No more.

It is a time to swim! To talk, read, discover, remember, and re-evaluate. I hope your days since the uprising — resulting from one more murderer killing one more innocent black citizen, George Floyd — have been replete with awakening and honesty and conversation. I hope you have began a reckoning with yourself, and a willingness to learn more, and to help others learn as you do. Social injustice is not a notion, some fad or phase with a few bumper stickers that will fade or fall off. This is a reality and we’ve been kicked in the ass. It’s about time.

How have you been spending this topsy turvy tumultuous time? These days? Days of monotonous winter cold that wouldn’t go away, then record breaking heat waves, and now hurricanes, and fires; ‘Oh, California,’ as Joni sang. The marble upon which we spin seems out of whack. Jolted and jolting. But there is joy. I hope you are able to find one moment of joy every day.

That is my goal: at least one moment of pure joy, or one good belly laugh, and not at anyone’s expense. I am guaranteed the joy, if not the laugh, each morning when I walk a few miles at Dead Horse Ranch State Park. The natural world is glorious in its ability to just carry on, and the creatures and plants fly or flutter or flow or grow. They complain little and their boasts are always beautiful and strong. Recovery and change seem effortless. Oh, what we can learn.

I have been writing a lot these days, and so you will be seeing me a bit more in your box. Please enjoy, share, and feel free to respond. I live alone, and I am still laying pretty low in this CovInsanity world. Thus, I am always happy for voice, story, song, joke. Send me a photo or tell me how you find joy in these truly trying times. How do you find sanity?

Thanks for reading. This poem is an abecedarian poem which I opted to lay out as a series of haikus. These are my mornings, here is my joy.

Mornings at Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Across the river
rooster says exactly what
he thinks, someone yawns.

Branches between teeth
wide as Monday, beaver swims
into the new week.

Calf muscles strain, Jean
climbs the lagoon hill backwards
faces soft sunrise.

Diesel lays across
the path, twice Nina’s size, half
her punch, dog finds her eyes.

Etched limestone conceals
eagle hunting from above
sunfish shines like gold.

Funny otters pose
like teens on spring break laughing
“Look, seals!” a kid says.

Giant cottonwoods
umbrella the riverside
enough room for rain.

Hazy mist lifts, leaves glass
surface, it doubles the view
two Jeromes, two moons.

“Invite everyone!” squawks
noisy grackles across trees
“Black feathers required.”

June bugs neon like
an ‘open’ sign, show up late
and blind: it’s August!

Kayak launched, fisher
casts line, seeks breakfast, trout, bass
finds sunrise solace.

Lazy datura
opens white ruffles, big black
bumble bee dives in.

Muddy trails reveal
unburied frogs and crickets
scrambling up the edge.

Nine vultures watch
from silver snag, still hungry
wings stretched wide to dry.

One last sip from ditch
then daytime disappearance
deer pause like strangers.

Pelicans stop by
flycatcher, a spot of red,
against cooling white.

Quiet rings expand
like swimming children; the blue
trout only jumped once.

Rickshaw stationed there
big-hatted dude leans west
drone glides to river.

Shadows stretch as long
as last night’s snake, absorbing
evening’s hot exhale.

Two eagles hover
bass left by careless fisher
one guards, one pulls flesh.

Unfazed, thin yellow
coyote stares at Romeo
share canine secrets.

Vince holds court, a king
on a bench, aged tanned hands wave
languid in white tank.

Walking sticks, clenched fists
old man smiles between hearing
aids, behind his mask.

Xenial hills greet
morning walkers, unchanged but
sunrise is new, that bird.

Young owls wait for mom
hungry, obedient, practiced
deception, silence.

Zealous dragonflies
aren’t playful, industrious
eating mosquitos.

Photos are by me. An owl family is living in a grove of gigantic cottonwoods near the Verde River. I see them one, two, or three at a time as in the pics. They let me watch them. Photos aren’t great, but they’re real. 🙂

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