Smoke Again

again this smoky haze
the incense of
an unwanted cleansing

Forest Fire

A thick blue haze has settled on the fields again today. We’ve shut all the windows, as the smoky air is hard to breathe. I hope you’ll pardon me if I’m boring you with all my versifying about forest fire —I find it hard not to think about it whenever I step outside.

On a positive note, two bright but very timid orioles have been snitching from our hummingbird feeder today.

On Fire and On the Move

Our air quality seems somewhat better today. Earlier in the week smoke from northern forest fires lay like a fog on the fields. Today there’s a faint gray haze and the sky’s a solid pale blue, but the sun’s colour is normal. I noticed only a whiff of smoke in the air when I was out earlier.

We’d have had a lot hotter temps this month if it hadn’t been for the smoke screen we’ve been living under, so I guess there’s one small blessing. Yet when I think of vast tracts of forest burning…

I wonder if the birds suffer in smoky air? The hummingbirds are still zipping around, busy at the feeder, especially in the early morning. Since it’s the end of the season I was able to buy a second feeder on sale and they seem happy to slurp from it, too. In just over a week they’ll be gone, so I’m enjoying them while I can.

I was out for a walk a few minutes ago and ONE grasshopper took flight beside the driveway. Can this be Saskatchewan! As soon as it landed I stomped on it — I don’t at all mind some species becoming extinct. Birds can’t eat them anyway, so…

Actually that’s not quite true! One fall morning about six years ago we saw a juvenile great-horned owl, still with his white baby feathers, sitting beside our garage. Mostly silent and observant, he opened his beak now and then to let out a shrill peep. Later we watched him run up and down the driveway devouring grasshoppers. You haven’t lived — or seen “funny” — until you’ve see an owl run. They’re so awkward, hopping as much side-to-side as forward!

poplar shoots
spring up in my driveway
bent on take-over
Birnham Wood creeping
to Dunsinane*

At different times this summer, walking along our driveway, I’ve thought of that phrase from MacBeth. The original owners planted a row of poplar trees on the west side of the property. Theses have grown tall in the last ten years and are no longer content to stay in one neat row. Shoot by shoot they are creeping toward our castle. Bob has been keeping them at bay with the lawn mower, but they aren’t giving up.

Which inspired me with a tanka on the subject. A tanka is a five line poem which, in old Japan, went in a syllable sequence of 5-7-5-7-5. Here’s what haiku master Alan Summers writes about it.

If you are interested in learning more about haiku, senryu, tanka, and other forms of Japanese poetry, courses are being offered this fall. For details, check out Call of the Page.

*The woods near Birnam in Perthshire, Scotland. In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, Macbeth is told that he will only be defeated when Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane. Later, his enemy’s army comes through Birnam Wood and each soldier cuts a large branch to hide himself, so that when the army moves on it looks as if the wood is moving.
https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/birnam-wood

Fire + Verse

As Alan Summers, a.k.a. haikutec, so helpfully informed us on my post about haiku, August 15th is the deadline for submissions to the next issue of Cattails, the online journal of the United Haiku and Tanka Society.

The community of haiku enthusiasts had produced a number of societies and journals: Cattails; Troutswirl; The Heron’s Nest, Modern Haiku

Yesterday I was looking through various haiku I’ve written to see which might be suitable and I came to a sad conclusion: I can’t tell the difference between a verse that is good and one I only think is good because I wrote it. 🙂 I write scads of haiku, but which ones to submit is a whole ‘nother decision.

Anyway, here’s one I concocted yesterday on the way home from work. Seeing the sun so sickly, a pale pink-coral overlaid with a hint of grey, calls out the muse in me. Smoke in the atmosphere does something to the sun you just have to see for yourself.

I’m so thankful this is all we see. It would break my heart to see miles of forest ablaze, to see first-hand the suffering and death of the woodland community. Anyway, here’s my haiku, good or bad, and a verse I wrote another time when our skies were overcast with smoke.

sun’s fire smothered
in a smoky haze
weep, rain, weep!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Heavy air smells of burning;
mighty forest fires rage,
send smoke signals wafting
across the province for days.

The animals, the birds, the trees;
my eyes water in sympathy
at their last mute cry for help
as they perish in flames.

Have mercy, Lord, on Your creation;
send them buckets of rain. Torrents.
But, please, no lightening.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My response to today’s Ragtag prompt:
COMMUNITY

Rainstorm Passes Through

I  think this will fit with Fandango’s writing prompt this morning, which is COMMOTION.

Dark clouds and lightening on western horizon when we went to bed last night; the storm system crept closer in the wee hours. By 4 am the thunder was booming over our heads, plus the sound of pouring rain. After weeks of almost nothing we received almost an inch on Tuesday night and I’m sure our rain gauge will show as much again this morning. (We may be almost all metric here in Canada, but folks hereabouts still measure rain in inches — though Environment Canada gives stats in millimetres.)

I couldn’t sleep through all the noise so I got up around 4:30 am and humored the cats with a snack. Then I then checked my incoming g-mail. Passed by the hallway window at 5:20 am; in the faint light of dawn I noticed a young hummingbird at the feeder. The early bird gets the juice and all that. Twenty minutes later I saw two of the three juveniles we often see zipping around, both trying to get a share of the banquet.

We have the feeder hung about three meters from the hallway window so we can observe them. Trouble is, they’re at the feeder so often these days we can hardly go down our hallway without scaring one or the other away. Also, I’m convinced as I watch them interacting that these young squirts burn most of their calories keeping each other away from the syrup.
Hummingbird
They’re curious little creatures, too. One morning I was standing out on the steps at the front door and a hummer whizzed up to about a metre away and just hovered there a couple of moments examining me. Bird watching, reverse version.

Passing Over Us

Silver Blue Day

Many-toned layer of clouds
envelope the sun this morning
shield it from the unrefined
eyes of rustics who beg
a display of its beauty.

Like a prince it rides in silver
and blue coach over the land,
not inclined to offer friendly
waves, not feeling to scatter
gold coins to peasants today.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Daily Addictions prompt for July 18: REMOTE

Ragtag Daily Prompt word for today: CLOUDS

Share Your World

There are a number of writing challenges and prompts in the blogging world, among them is Cee’s Share Your World, which she posts once a week. She posts a number of questions, some on the humorous side, supposedly to share some of our likes and dislikes with our readers.

Anyway, here’s her list of questions for this week and my responses:

You can have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what is it? Sushi? Scotch Tape?

Thinking along immaterial lines, I’d say “FRIENDS.” But in terms of actual things, my practical answer may contradict that noble aspiration. Just leave me in the Library — preferably with pens and stacks of notebooks, since you’re never supposed to scribble in library books.

Books

Pixabay

Teleportation or flying?

Teleportation is a sci-fi thing, where all your cells turn to — energy? — and are flung off to some other place or planet. Then you materialize again. Being fearful of the unknown, I’d worry that during teleportation my cells might get swirled around and I’d come together again with two arms on one side, or lose a foot in transit, or all my hair? Not a risk I’d ever take.

Besides, I love flying. One time, as the plane was taxiing down the runway full throttle  and the roar of the engines thrilled our ears, I turned to the fellow in a business suit sitting next to me and said, “Don’t you just love flying!” 🙂

He replied in a crisp British accent, “Personally, I find it nerve-wracking.” 😦
Oh well. Can’t please everybody.

Would you rather live where it only snows or the temperature never falls below 100 degrees?

winter street

Pixabay

I can’t take the heat…but to live where it only snows? To never have spring…never any nesting birds or flowers? Could I bear it?
In either case I’d be staying indoors, so my choice would be looking out at sand dunes or snowbanks. Hmm…

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

Our private school put on a program of songs and skits Wednesday evening for the end of the school year. Lots of smiles and chuckles. Of course the highlight was watching our three grandchildren up on the stage doing their parts. The oldest is out of school already. Why do those school years fly by so fast?

Cat sleeping

Pixabay

We have two cats that both think my desk chair is the most comfortable and best-located seat in the house. I’ve evicted one or the other of them a dozen times this week, but all I need to do is go pour myself a coffee and when I get back…
(This gives my husband more smiles that it gives me. 😉 )