Autumn Haiku in Winter

flash_of_autumn_in_ashland_oregon

A burst of sunlight

A tree consumed by fire

Ignites the Autumn

I’m from Southern California, so watching the seasons change is a new thing to me. I moved to Oregon in August just in time to watch the trees turn from green to an array of browns, yellows, and reds. This tree pictured above inspired me to write a haiku because it looked dramatically different from the rest. While the others around it took their time to turn colors, this one was ready to go up in flames like a phoenix. I’m not a poet, so take it for what it is. It also takes me a while to process anything into writing that is cohesive, hence the autumn haiku in winter. Look for my winter haiku some time this spring. Or not. But I did visit that same tree this month to take a picture of it.

It was the first week of December and I never expected it to snow. Everyone in town told me not to expect it. If it did, it is usually melted away by mid-day. I told everyone how much I wanted to see snow, so when it came down, they jokingly blamed me for the worst snowstorm in over seven years. At least, I think they joked about it.

So there I was, in my sneakers and light jacket (I packed all my winter clothes from So Cal because they did say it would get cold) braving temperatures hovering just above freezing. It was a far better accomplishment standing there, than spending yet another hour in front of a blank screen, unable to write a single word. When I finally reached that tree I couldn’t feel my nose, fingers, or toes. I snapped a few pictures of the tree and made my way back home. I was disappointed. At first I thought I didn’t know what to expect, but if I was going to be honest, I knew that I would not expect to find that same tree with the vibrant leaves that inspired a poet just a few months earlier, if only for a brief moment.

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I left Los Angeles in a whimper after a decade of intermittent sparks of creation. It was not a happy transition, as I felt defeated. Now I felt like that tree, consumed in creative fires only to die out. I focused on the hopelessness of those branches with layers of snow weighing them down. But something happened that changed all that. I went back home and started to write again.

Through the winter season, this tree, like all the trees in this park, will bear the weight of the snow, but when the season starts to change and the sun regains its strength, the branches will shed the snow and they will be able to feel their fingers and toes. And when they do, they will sprout new life.

Perhaps I’ll write that haiku, or perhaps I won’t, but I will trek to the park this spring to see that phoenix reborn.

 

 

This blog post won Top Row Five in Yeah Write Weekly Challenge!

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10 thoughts on “Autumn Haiku in Winter

  1. I grew up in New Hampshire, where snow was something that didn’t happen for a few days in August. When I accidentally went to boot camp in Northern Illinois, I was shocked to see how many folks with me had never seen snow, and were excited to get to experience it. I “jokingly” blamed them when we were made to do pushups in the snow to accommodate their joy! 🙂

  2. I love how much you got from one tree, and that you went back to it to take in more from it.

    The weight of winter is devastating sometimes. Only the promise of spring makes it bearable.

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