Total Pageviews

Friday, 16 September 2016

crows discuss

I just got back from my first hike to Sorrow Falls in a long time. In fact that's the main reason I'm writing this - it's an excuse to draft a haibun about the walk, the first such posting I'll have done since early August when I wrote one about watching the Perseid meteor shower.

Some email correspondence with Katherine Gordon has shaken me out of my summer doldrums, so I decided that rather than do my daily summer walk along the river towpath in the village, I'd venture forth like a good little visionary haijin and visit one of my favourite haunts. The Sorrow Falls trail along the old railway line was my first choice, so I jumped into the Sube and headed out of town.

It seems like a very long time since I've hiked my favourite trail. The brush and saplings have grown up along both sides of the trail since my last visit. The creek was hidden by the new growth, which surprised me as it's been a drought stricken summer. There used to be a field on the other side of the trail before the first wooden bridge, but that's also overgrown now. I was feeling pretty chipper in my newfound enthusiasm, so I made it to Sorrow Falls in a few minutes less than the usual half hour.

The entire creek was completely dry at the falls, both the pool below and the riverbed above. I decided to walk upstream on the rocky path, and I reminisced about finding my dolphin shaped suiseki stone there a decade ago. The dolphin has rested beside me in my study every since, a touchstone reminder of the drala magick of Sorrow Falls in particular, and nature in general.

At first I didn't find any special tonde or suiseki stones, just the amazing water sculptures and small caves carved by millennia of water flow.


secrets revealed
with every step
in the dry stream bed

Suddenly I found a small 'temple' stone, one of those exotic looking terraced rocks. It was small enough that I decided to pick it up as a memento of the day and this first annual fall visit to Sorrow Falls.

The summer drought was so pervasive that for the first time I was able to walk the stream bed all the way to the second wooden bridge. There I clambered up the bank and through a small thicket of cedar to reach the bridge, which I'd named 'shaman bridge' in 2003 during my re-awakening period.


faded mandalas
carved in the wood
of the old bridge

Starting to feel tired, I headed back. Few birds had lightened my hike, and as I passed the swamp valley on the west side, the only birds I saw or heard during the walk were crows (Milt and Basho?):

crows discuss
drought withered fields
and wild red apples  

Image result for pic crow with apple

ayaz daryl nielsen has left a new comment on your post "crows discuss":

yes, appreciate your creativity
best to your week,
ayaz daryl nielsen

Posted by ayaz daryl nielsen to Riffs & Ripples from ZenRiver Gardens at 16 September 2016 at 20:07

Thursday, 15 September 2016

End of Days - Romance and Elegy for the Sixth Extinction

End of Days—Romance and Elegy for the Sixth Extinction

September stirs the poignancy of beauty and wilt.
The shy pinks, robust reds of earlier seasons, turn to
luminescent gold and crimson, russet and ochre.
Then the rustle of straw and browning.  Decay and farewell
pinch nostrils.
Yet the fresh and quickening winds bloom on cheeks, arms seek
woollens. We are blessed to own the things that defy the chill.
As decades slip by we are surprised at the end-of-season, end-of-days
analogy. Now our present world omens a deeper end-of –days.
The climate, once a cornucopia of wise sayings, has become unpredictable.
Cities flood, forests burn, fish flounder, seas rise. Time to take warning.
Like aging humans we are caught amazed as the familiar disappears.
Bodies reflect the wear of seasons, minds try to absorb the implications
of a hostile world.   A history of human folly begins to be written.
The information age, instead of freeing all our good instincts to better
the world, is bogged down in pettiness, politics, misguided greed.
Is there still an Equinox?
As we stand between sun and moon at the crucial hour, will we help
the planet turn into a golden renaissance era or the nemesis of wipe-out,
die-out and replacement.  A repeat of the Permian clean slate of all life,
a sixth extinction wrought by human failure.

Katherine L. Gordon
epic September 2016.


Skeletons In Moon-Rise

At moon-rise a radiating sphere of golden light
appeared on the pine floor
like a sudden sand-dune beneath the prim pane,
exotic in a Protestant valley.
I ventured bare feet into it
absorbed the unexpected tingle of light
shocked to see that bones shone
through the now transparent skin.
I knew my skeleton self...
that all soft flesh covers a secret:
eternity of bare bone
the price of trying to briefly catch the light.

Katherine L. Gordon
September, 2016

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

how I spent my summer holidays . . .

Hi Katherine,
Thanks for the concern  ;  )  I guess I'm going through a period of transition and adjustment in my life - lots of recent changes. I really miss Chase, who passed at the end of January. We were constant companions for the decade we shared. Knowing I was going to lose Chase was part of my decision to sell ZenRiver Gardens last summer (2015) - double closure for the decade which followed my early forced retirement from the library world. My life seems to be organized in decades.

My best friend Sylvia has successfully moved back to her home city of Thunder Bay. I focused most of my time and energy after Chase's passing on helping her prepare her Toronto house for sale, and now that she's moved I've lost my base in Toronto. Further closure.

PurdyFests also ended two summers ago, a couple of years short of my standard mark of a decade. It was a lot of fun and a learning experience coordinating events, and it was enjoyable playing host to a wide selection of Canadian poets. Sadly, a number of the poets turned out to be huge ingrates, including several fellow key organizers. I find it hard to reconcile how people who can be such arseholes in life can write any kind of genuine poetry - how can there be any joy and magick in your writing if you're a fuck up in your relationships with other people, especially those who've supported and encouraged you. 

As you may have noticed from my infrequent blog postings, and lack of inspired literary creativity, I'm taking one of my regular sabbaticals from the CanPo world. Now that Sylvia's settled in TBay, I've been spending my summer enjoying the raw beauty of my rural surroundings. Lots of kayak trips in my bathtub sized yacht, lots of hot and humid afternoons spent wandering the cool shallows of the Crowe River at Callahan's Rapids Conservation Area, daily walks on the nearby path beside The Crowe - that kind of enjoyable escapism and appreciation of nature. Maybe 'Wordsworth of The Shield'   ;  )-

Because of my lack of recent literary creativity, an essay from you on September would be most welcome for Riffs and Ripples. I'm surprised that the blog is still receiving an average of 30 to 40+ visits a day, despite only one posting in all of August. Perhaps your enthusiasm will inspire and lift me from my comfortable, but uninspired doldrums!

peace & poetry power!

p.s. yes, your book arrived a while back, but to be honest, I haven't even opened the package yet I'm so burned out with my fellow poets (except for you and a few others)

On 2016-09-12, at 11:31 AM, Katherine Gordon wrote:

Hello Chris, hope all is well at Zen River, especially you.
I mailed you a copy of Landscapes,  hope it reached you.

Are you in the mood for a brief essay on September?
Let me know how you are doing.  An early chill here in the
valley,  perhaps you are snug in town.