In this part of the world, the harvest is in, and a new cycle of activity is happening in the farming community. Many farmers consider the Autumn to be the beginning of the farming year – particularly arable farmers. Right now, fields are being ploughed and re-seeded with crops like winter barley and winter wheat.
Speaking to a local farmer this morning, I was asking about how winter crops work. He told me that if they plant winter crops around this time, then they would expect to harvest them in June/July next year. If you do the maths on that, that means the crops are in the ground for around 9 months. It really didn’t take me long to smile about the significance of that number, and the words Earth Mother came straight to mind 🙂 .
So today’s haiku is entitled “Earth Mother” : it’s a poem all about what happens after the harvest. You can read it here, and I also read it out loud on today’s video-blog.
For today’s adventure, I returned to the copper beech tree! At the week-end I attempted to gather seeds from the tree for planting, but every seed failed the “float-sink” test (they all floated, and many sources say that this means that the seeds are infertile).
When I collected the seeds, the earth was covered in beech nuts and their open casings. The open casings looked like little hairy hands that had released their grip on the seeds. Looking up into the giant copper beech, many of these open hands were still on the tree. It made me think of a mother with thousands of children who was ready for Nature to take them off her hands 🙂 .
Further research suggested that not only might the float-sink test be invalid, but also that the first fall of seeds from a beech tree are often infertile. No-one is quite sure why this is, but some people think it’s a kind of decoy. The local predators go for the first fall and realise that the seeds are of no value, leaving later seed-falls to their own means.
So, it might be worth gathering some seeds now – and gathering some seeds later!
Anyway, back to the business of the day 😛 . Today’s adventure is a poetic one : I’ve written a haiku about the beech tree. You can read my poem here, and you can hear me recite it in today’s video-blog too.
Yesterday’s mushroom-hunting adventure was so exciting that I leapt out of bed this morning, keen to get to work on a fungus-based haiku. Only it seems that my imagination had other plans :P.
Returning from my early morning walk with my dog, I went into the kitchen and opened the blind to let in the light. The window looks out onto a patch of grass. The grass caught my eye : that patch of green stuff really looks like it’s doing exactly what it wants to, in spite of any gardener’s urges to control it or keep it in any kind of order.
I stood still, just gazing at the grass for a while, when a haiku just appeared (that’s exactly how I experienced it, like a flash of inspiration!)
My research into haiku revealed that the traditional form was not only an attempt to capture the essence of something in the natural world, but was also a skillful way of drawing attention to an aspect of the human condition. In today’s haiku about grass, the words ring as true for grass as they do for any of us who have experienced the messier side of human relationships.
It seems that this whole process of writing haiku poems is not only connecting me to nature, it’s also connecting me to my own nature. I’m beginning to see myself in nature. I’m beginning to really feel part of it. And because I’m beginning to feel part of it in such a real and alive way, it’s changing the way I feel about it. I’m in awe of it. I respect it. I think it’s clever, brilliant and beautiful. I think we should protect it, nurture it and nourish it. We should be in it more. I think it’s real. I think it could teach us a lot. I think it will help us to remember what we’ve forgotten.
You can read “Grass” here ; I also read my haiku out loud in today’s video-blog.