Purple perfume sings
Promising warm nights to come
– even the bees hum!
It’s curious how we anthropomorphise. When the air is warm and heady with the scent of wisteria, even the bees seemed to hum happily in their work. Warm nights might come, but later in the day it was cold, and raining again. This haiku was a bit of a homage to Basho’s excellent poem…
Loath to let spring go
Birds cry and even fishes’
Eyes are wet with tears.
We impose our own interpretations on the world. That’s no crime, but it’s good to stay awake to the fact that our visions are not facts.
While Budo’s path is steady
Winter cloaks my face.
Notes: I’ve been reflecting on cycles versus straight lines. I’ve come to the conclusion there probably are no straight lines. It’s just a matter of perspective. To someone who has lived for almost 50 years, the cherry blossoms are a cycle, they go round, pass and come again. Yet my life seems like a straight line from birth, youth, all the way through to the greying chops I see in the mirror today. I wonder what my life would look like to a sequoia tree or a mountain ash (they live many hundreds of years)? Would they see my life in a straight line? Or would they look at my parents, me and my sons – and see a cycle? Ego is all that stands between us and seeing the cycles in everything.
‘The Way is hard enough!
Against Springs warm Sakura
I have no defence’
Marvin Minsky was the father of Artificial Intelligence research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was a quirky guy as you might expect, but he had more insights into the way the human mind operates as a family of sub-subsystems than any before him, or since. What has this to do with cherry blossoms? Well, Minsky said ‘If you find yourself really liking something, try not to think of yourself as having a good time. Instead, view it as a kind of brain cancer, because one part of your mind has figured out how to switch the other parts off.’ Years of developing the self discipline to keep practising even if I’m cold, tired, bored, upset or distracted (with varying success depending on the day!), but this morning’s cherry blossom (Sakura) stopped me in my tracks again and again. Beauty it seems, could switch things off. I’m not sure how bad that is.
‘Spring pink’s nodding heads
I return to say farewell
before the lowing storm’
Notes: One of the things I like about Sakura is how brief it is. One heavy storm and it’s over for a year. Sometimes you get a day or two, sometimes a week. Not so different from us, but the short timescale is a helpful reminder of our impermanence. This year, alas, just a day or two before a storm swept it away. I got home in time to say goodbye until next Spring.
Scented snow whirls on the breeze
Sunshine warms my back…’
‘Hard, easy, or not
There are tasks to be done, but
Notes: Here’s another pair I’ve chosen to keep in company. The first Spring sunny day was deliriously fragrant and warm. I really felt euphoric. How wonderful.
I find it hard, but important, to remember the middle way at times like this, as well as when things are difficult. The middle way is not available to those who get too lost in thinking ‘This is better, this is worse, this is easy and this is hard’. So even when things are going well, I try not to get ‘too high’ or ‘low’ when the flip side comes around and things are not so easy.