by Dan Montero
I've embarked on a project for 2019. One of grand, nay, epic dimensions. What is this mighty endeavor, you ask. Well, I decided back at the beginning of the year that I want to write a haiku for every day of 2019. Every single day ... even the ones we don't get out to play!
Why haikus? I don't know exactly, I am very attracted to the conciseness, the strictness, and I seek to convey in the short lines a complete story or image. Haikus probably don't need too much explanation, but the article on them at the Poetry Foundation is a nice entryway. However, I have just been interested in the form for a while in my usual not-very-regimented way. (Indeed, after reading the article I find mine to be more narrative based and probably not very haiku-like.)
The project does have a bit of genesis, however. Last year I set as my goal to write a journal entry for every day. That was an interesting experience, but not one I wanted to repeat. The repetition of journal entries sort of became rote and I was pretty glad to see that over. But I wanted to do something, and I struck upon haikus. I had gotten interested in them more deeply in 2018, and had also found a simple little app called Haiku that helps draft them. This isn't to say it was planned, however, and in fact the first haiku written for the year isn't January 1, but January 7. That was the day I had the idea to do this, and so then I worked backward to 1 before moving ahead. The goal isn't necessarily to write the haiku on the specific day (although as I learned very well last year, if you let it go too far it becomes very hard to reconstruct), nor do I expect them all to be perfect or unchangeable. I just want to capture the flow of time in this way.
Please let me know if you find this project interesting and if you'd like to see more examples. I don't want to clutter my feeds too much with this, but if there is interest I could figure out some sharing options. Also, if you want to share a haiku (or anything) please do!
Sometimes the best and most fruitful explorations are close to home. Photos from Rattlesnake Mountain and Huffaker Hills regional
by Daniel Montero
We have made a little spot alongside Pyramid Lake’s Monument Rock. The water level is very high now. there is almost no beach, and we have spread out our picnic in the shade of some trees along the shore underneath the bulbous northernmost of the two monument tufa structures. We settle in and Renee reads from Michael Branch's new book, How to Cuss in Western, to me.
We have been sick all weekend, irritable, if not grumpy, and the apartment a little too small but the states of ourselves a little too degraded to want to be outside. So we’ve hung on, but then, not sure if we’re feeling better or not, but not really caring either way because we are stir crazy, we decided to excursion out to Monument Rock on Pyramid Lake. It is one of our favorite Pyramid Lake places, high up on the northeast side with great views of the whole span of the lake from the Pyramid and Anaho Island, up to Tohakum, and the Needles up on the north end catch the light. Not only is it a beautiful place, it has a rich personal history for us as well, we’ve camped here many times, on bike tour or just for a night escape from Reno. We saw Perseids here one year with a group of friends, lying in our sleeping bags on the (much larger then) beach watching flares of space rock trace across the sky all night long.
But for one reason or another we haven’t stopped for a few years and it was a great pleasure to see the lake up high and the dry tree skeletons in the water again. There was a car when we arrived but the people left immediately and we had the rest of the afternoon to ourselves. We had our picnic and then left our things in the shade and wandered down along the shore, walking more in the lake than out.
Tufa is for me an extraordinary structure. It is hard, but appears soft. Fully mineral, but with a sense of movement to it that seems organic. It has geometric structure, but geometric structure as imagined by Gaudí, not by Euclid. Speaking of, I don’t know if Gaudí ever saw tufa, but if he had, I bet he would have loved it. The water was clear and the lake almost entirely still on a windless afternoon and so walking in the water with the tufa below was textural overload, a sense of walking in a dreamscape. We stopped out near the favorite of the tree skeletons that have been in that place for years, high up on the sand when I last walked by, but now protruding appendages from an otherwise still water. I've found a child's swimming kickboard along the shore, almost new despite its journey here, and when I resolve to go out to my favorite of the skeletons, Renee tells me I should use it. I don't think the water will get deep, but it does, and I do end up following Renee's directions and kicking myself out to the tree where i climb up onto its bone white truck and balance on its smooth surface. Pyramid is like that, a place whose very austereness is a sort of sensory overload when the mind tries to make sense of it. The whole overwhelms the particular almost completely. At least until you start to see the detail, and then you realize that all of this giant landscape is equally overloaded and you are just a little part of if, tiny, nothing.
We wandered among the afternoon, read in the shade and generally played on a Sunday afternoon. Toward sunset we climbed up on the tufa mounds and watched shadows ascend, filling the places the light had left for the day. Just another play, another day. From away the Monument Rocks look like full masses, but both of them have open spaces on their tops. Up over the lake, under a dome of open sky with the lake ranges as the audiences to our play in the amphitheaters, we are consecrated, ethereal.
The sun gone but our spirits balmed we started back toward Reno, toward our conceptions of the future, while behind us the lake slid into night.
It has been a while since I have done a sky observation and description. The ones I'm posting today I wrote before life became a bit hectic and we put our writing on the back burner. Both of these observations were done while I was visiting Las Vegas back in early April.
Sitting under a Vegas sky it's pretty cloudy, no shadows playing upon the ground. There's a bit of an opening, showing blue behind the intermingling clouds that are laced throughout the break. A plane flys towards the opening, I wonder if any of the passengers take notice of the sky. The clouds are mostly light in color, not looking terribly threatening. However, there are small patches of darker gray within. The clouds being light, I feel the promise of spring in the air. It's a warm and inviting sky. It's a beautiful day here in Vegas.
A breeze is in the air, a strong breeze maybe even windy. A gentle blue sky lingers above the gusts, it looks so calm up there. Billowy white clouds hang puffy all around. Not threatening at all, but towering and bright. Palm trees sway adding motion to a still skyscape. Despite the breeze the clouds appear motionless. They haven't moved much since I sat down to write. Here where I am airplanes seem to be an ever present fixture in the sky. coming, going I don't know, but it doesn't take long for one to be overhead.
The wildflowers have been slow to show their pretty faces this year. I believe it's because we've had a lot of snow this March and thank goodness for it, because we had a super dry winter, but Miracle March came through and dumped a bunch of snow on us.
Finally, last week, I started to see some of the showy early bloomers such as violets, phlox, yellow bells and buttercups. I had seen Lomatium before the snows came, but they disappeared while the winter weather was upon us, but they are back now too.
Can't wait to see the kaleidoscope of wildflowers the season will bring!
This blog is dedicated to stories and ideas from our explorations. We hope you enjoy!
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.