At the very end of May, we planted grasses in the planter on the Laboratory’s patio. Since then, they’ve grown like wild fire, along with the Morning Glory vine we plunked into their soil to further screen us from our neighbors. We love watching the grasses move in the breeze; they seem to constantly change and catch the light in new ways. The other day, we read a haiku by Issa that revealed a quality that we hadn’t been conscious of:
Plumes of pampas grass,
it’s the helplessness
of their trembling.
It’s from one of our favorite books The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa (Essential Poets). Our friend David Saltman, who has been recuperating here from a recent very serious illness, spent quite a bit of time reading it.
A while later he said: “I’m thinking in haiku.”
When we asked what he meant, he said: “As I was sitting on the terrace, I found myself writing haiku in my head, about the things I saw: bicyclists riding the wrong way, hawks circling in the air, the guys hanging out on the corner playing dominoes, the way the Morning Glory vines found and wrapped around each other…”
We find the same thing as David: reading haiku slows us into the moment, and makes us think in haiku…
…and provide an instant moment of zen in busy days.
Haiku seems to be a mindset that can be cultivated, as we saw from Anne Herbert’s lovely website Peace and Love and Noticing the Details*. All you have to do to change your thinking is read a few.
*Although new posts stopped abruptly in June of 2012, it remains a rich trove.