Monday, October 31, 2011

Samhain in the Village

The air is cold and the night is dark. Jack o'lanterns grin brightly on porches and lawns, beckoning witches, princesses, knights and ghouls.

"Trick or treat!"

Bags open, small, excited hands reach in.

"Just one please...OK, go ahead and take two."

The wooden bowl of lollipops and chocolate quickly disappears. Quick "thank yous" and "happy halloween" give way to the next group of trick-or-treaters and it starts again.

Eventually, candles burn low, porch lights are dimmed and windows turn dark. Inside warm houses, late dinners become mere condiments to the main course of candy hidden in pockets. The usual bedtime routine is replaced with unzipping costumes and scrubbing faces clean, while tales of spirits and lost ships are told to sleepy children.

Tomorrow, the magic will give way to the sun rise, but tonight the ancient rite of All Hallows' Eve marks the end of autumn and ushers in the cold and quiet of not-yet-winter.

Happy Halloween!!

-A story written by Grace, Mason, Lillian and Elena

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sleeping In on a Saturday...

 ...and the room is icy, but the bed is warm. The light is soft and gray while the promise of hot coffee is very tempting.

I am reading about haiku this morning and fascinated by the complexity. There are the sounds units of on and its difference from syllables; the skill and art to kireji, a "cutting word" that has no English equivalent except for the use of ellipses and dashes; combine all this with a stage subtly set by kigo which is meant to suggest a season, but not necessarily be about nature. Even the physical way of writing haiku has me intrigued. I love how the Japanese write haiku vertically, lending visual art to the form and then contrasting that to the horizontal, familiar lines of English.

And now, I am inspired by my surroundings to write haiku. Please forgive me Matsuo Basho, for being unabashedly American.

Old dog, snorts and snores

We snuggle in wool blankets

Yikes! Your toes are cold!