Tag Archives: june haibun

June Haibun: In transit

I sailed into work today. No traffic. That’s my reward for oversleeping. Then I left Minneapolis after lunch for a meeting at a café in St. Paul. The meeting went pretty well and then I drove down Summit Ave. to stop at the market for some groceries. Unidentified flowering trees were shedding fragrant blossoms on the sidewalks. After a few hours at home, we left to go back to Minneapolis. Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” came on the radio and as I drove along the relatively quiet I-94, I felt myself slowly unwind. A bit later, we drove from the Longfellow neighborhood up West River Road in the gray green blue of summer dusk. Finally, we drove home along University Ave. and then up Highway 280, through summer construction. The drive culminated with the short dark winding stretch of Frost Ave. that I love driving at night in the summer with my hand out the window.

    One hand on the wheel
Mark Wheat on the radio
Narrate my own life

June Haibun: The hex

The first time I fished the Hexagenia hatch, we left for the river when the day was already waning. And then, we were in no rush to get there. We went up and down the river to a couple different access points and then ended up at an acquaintance’s house on a bluff. He gave us a plastic cup with a lemonade cocktail in it and we set off along a narrow path down to the river.

It was a warm and sticky evening. Dusk was now falling and fog was already settling in the tall grasses on the banks. Stepping into the river, the water was cool and smooth. The day was lost in dark blue and gray now. We walked up to the base of a calm pool where we could hear, but not see, trout rising.

   the light fades to sound
mammoth flies struggle skyward
  my line lays gentle

-thanks to my friend Ed for those last two lines.

Hex hunting

June Haibun: Space between the stars

We have moved through the rain and into the hot and the humid. This too is part of June. We have arrived here only after experiencing a litany of other type of June weathers. From the cold and rainy to the mild and dry to warm and stormy to this, this hot and still. There is no sign of this heat lifting in the near future. In fact, tomorrow is predicted hotter and wetter.

The season now teaches us that, though the air is thick, life is only and entirely a series of moments. Breathe in this, soak it in through your pores, let the sweat run down your forehead, let the water in your body merge with the water in the atmosphere, seek icy creeks, seek cold beer, seek the present moment and seek the next.

We may be forgiven for spending our winters waiting. We may forgive ourselves for cold, dark nights under blankets. Even great bears hibernate. We may even think back fondly on such silence, such survival. But June is not a month to waste. No, this month demands appreciation, even on days when your shirt sticks to your back, when the sun scalds the sidewalk.

So I slow and I stop and I say that it is not the sight but the witness, any season of the year. It is observing the unique and meditating upon it, understanding how the Earth affects my life and wondering why it is so.

Hot upstairs
     Bathe in the cold bathtub
  Listen to old songs

ps – the title is inspired by my friend nikki.

June Haibun: More than I will ever know

Today was the longest day of the year, but it was cloudy and it rained all day. It didn’t exactly feel like the pinnacle of summer. There was no infinite sunlight and no brilliant sunset.

Even so, we joined Katie’s family for a Father’s Day boat ride on the lower St. Croix. It rained off and on so we kept the bimini up and huddled underneath it for the most part, sipping drinks and snacking, enjoying the much-reduced boat traffic on the river.

The river and its valley are very broad there, flanked by well-proportioned bluffs of hardwoods mixed with white pines, cabins and homes generally concealed in the woods. Cruising along the banks, I wonder about the little beaches with fire pits and volleyball nets under arching cottonwoods. In such an expansive place, I can look around and see in just that one glance more than I will ever know.

We anchored at the outlet of a nameless coulée where the sand extended into the river. When the rain let up, I wandered around the sandbar with Lola splashing around too. The saturated air made a view of any distance up or down the river valley a picture of haziness, merging the colors of the green river banks, the blue river and the gray sky into a romantic and mysterious vista.

Later, we grilled dinner at Katie’s parents’ house. The rain really came down while we tended the grill. I stood talking with her dad and her brother under big patio umbrellas. It was still perfectly warm and the rain fell straight down. The trees and other foliage couldn’t have been a darker shade of green and I appreciated that this too is part of summer.

Birds call from the bluffs
Waves lap against sandy shores
    I swim in the river

Lower St. Croix River in a light rain

June Haibun: The season in the city

The Twins lost tonight, but it was a good game, so I’m not complaining. They led 3-1 for much of the game, but then the relief pitching blew it, giving Houston a 6-3 lead, which the Twins scrambled back from to 5-6, but with two outs at the bottom of the ninth, a runner on second, there was a pop-fly and that was that.

But you couldn’t beat that back-and-forth drama for the entertainment value, and the smattering of Astros fans in the crowd provided the requisite comic relief. While I love to see them win, I still enjoy a close game that keeps me there until the very end. Baseball is great because every pitch can be a game in itself.

The outing was our way of celebrating Father’s Day with my dad. With Katie and my mom, I honored the guy who I owe so much to, and not just his contribution of DNA. From my height to an affection for Bob Dylan to the passion that drives me to write.

When we got out of the game, it was still quite light out, even though it was 9:15. After navigating the gridlock on Washington Ave. after the game, we took a circuitous route home, driving down University Ave.’s strip to check out the parade of old cars in town for the annual “Back to the 50s” weekend car show.

There were hundreds of people lining the sidewalks, sitting on lawn chairs or hillsides or just on the curb. Everyone was watching the action on the road, and we slowly made our way along, the windows down, enjoying the good vibrations of people out and about on a beautiful, warm summer evening as much as we did the unique cars rumbling up and down the street.

Bleachers filled with fans
      Clean uniforms on green turf
Cheer on the home team

June Haibun: Summit of the season

It’s summer solstice weekend. It sneaked up on me and when I realized it was here, I couldn’t help feeling that nagging pain that, despite having achieved this summer milestone, once we’ve passed it, it only recedes in the rear-view mirror.

But any regret about the coming and going of the solstice is probably silly. The point is that it is summer, right now, and it will be for a while, and it’s better to enjoy the splendors of the season than think about the one minute shorter that Monday will be than Sunday.

These are all long, wonderful days. The few weeks surrounding the solstice see very little change in length, so really this whole season is blessed. The foliage outside is thick and ever thicker. Bats sprint through dusk skies, terrorizing mosquitoes (the enemy of my enemy is my friend?). The cottonwood cotton is still drifting through the air like sunlight afloat. And even though the evenings are cool, the air is damp enough to drink.

    Purple reflection
River cuts through city
Patio chatter