cherry blossom . . .
the baby’s hand unfolds
around my finger
Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational 2011
My haiku path, like all good paths, is a winding one. So why do I bother with such a circuitous route when I could follow a more straightforward path through life and, most likely, get to my destination faster and easier? The answer (not that you asked) is that haiku helps me to focus on what’s important, to take time to notice the little things, which are, of course, the big things, in life, whether real or imagined.
When I met my grand-nephew, Logan, for the first time last December, he clasped his hand around my index finger the way that babies do. A simple reflex action. Nothing more. Nothing less. But when his small hand began to unfold and fold again around my finger, the action reminded me of something bigger and more eternal than the two of us. It was, for me, a haiku “moment.”
In my garden, the cherry tree I planted the year before Logan’s birth bloomed for the first time last spring . . . about the same time I began thinking about entering the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational. Cherry blossoms are, for both Eastern and Western gardeners, a harbinger of spring, of new life, of beauty. They are, quite simply, a heady and delicious reminder of all that’s right with the world. It’s a reminder I often need to help me through so many moments that don’t seem, somehow, quite right . . . or that are in fact far more disturbing.
Throughout those first few weeks of early spring, I watched my cherry tree set buds and slowly release the buds into small white, fragrant blossoms that, one by one, broke free of branches to make way for new foliage. By then, the blossoms–shattered and lying fallow on the garden’s ground–were yesterday’s memory. I know, however, that with luck and grace and a certain amount of nurturing that memory will become reality again when my tree, now dormant, awakens to new life next spring. By that time Logan will most likely have a baby brother who holds onto his finger . . . or perhaps mine . . . and unfolds countless small remembered moments. I plan to keep on counting as many of those moments as I can, moment by moment, dream by dream. That is the way of gardeners and haiku poets, I remind myself. A dizzying, roundabout, hopeful way full of blossoming dreams.