Category Archives: Haiku

The Transition

Fragrant – Tuesday Photo Prompt

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The gentle fragrance of the winter bloom of Acacia, lovely to see these Wattle trees signalling the coming end to winter and the arrival of the southern spring.

 

Rain moistened soil
wattle trees glorious
gestation of hope

©Paul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Be Like Water

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Moon’s Crossing, Pemberton.

 

I would break easily
if I fell upon this rock
unless like water

©Paul Cannon

 

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

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We Can Too!

Potential – Word of the Day

Redgate Beach, south of Margaret River. The beach was closed yesterday, in fact, I couldn’t even see it. The winds were gale force earlier in the day, and still strong in the afternoon, whipping the water in to shore, and making it difficult to keep a steady hand for filming. The western shore contains a variety of examples of rock formations that have been weathered by waves, and when you see the power of the water, it is no wonder.

Water is powerful, and in many ways. Wave power as an idea, a theory, has been around for years, though one the earliest attempts is still recent – Scotland, 1991. The long history of shipping has relied on water, and has also suffered from the volatility of storms at sea. The same can be said for the fishing industry, tourism, military purpose, exploration and more. Rivers and other sources of land based water have been critical for the survival of all species. Plants and animals vary as to percentage but all have a foundational volume of water that constitutes their being. Science has variably said that water is 80% of the human body, I say variably because others say it is even higher.

Water is fundamental for survival, dehydration is deadly for any species. And water, though abused by, is also fundamental to industry and manufacturing at every level. We know the absence of water contributes to desertification, and evidence from other planets shows that lack of water equals lack of life.

The potential of water goes back to the dawn of time, and onwards to the floating gardens of the Aztecs, Roman baths and aqueducts, the farming of rice, fish farming, reticulated agriculture, and the generation of electricity (hydro-power).

With climate change as a reality, even fiction, like the post apocalyptic story of Waterworld, seems less far fetched than when it hit the cinemas in 1994. Water is seen as part of our daily survival need, but also part of our future as once again, floating gardens, floating communities, hydroponics, aquaculture, and responses to climate problems like flooding, see Practical Action    have become exciting options for ways forward.

And yet, we are far more diverse than water. The human is complex, and, beyond the primitive brain, unique in brain capacity for problem solving, design, learning, creating, conceptualising, and comprehension, to name a few potentials. We too can be a positive power in the world, veritable tsunamis of ideas, science, engineering, chemistry, the arts, and more. We too generate energy. And we have the potential to creatively solve the issues before us.

We can contribute to life, we are powerful, we can be creative, eroding and wearing down the barriers and the negatives, shaping and sustaining life and potential worlds and communities,  we too are fundamental to nature though by good or ill, depending on how we value nature. We have the potential to turn around the whole climate change issue. Like water, we have to pool, pond, and gather together to get it done. Even the formation of water, hydrogen and oxygen is a metaphor for working together to achieve an outcome. One drop of water is just one drop of water, but many drops are potential, are power, resource, possibility, together we are an ocean of potential.

The ground was hard
many seeds to be planted
neighbours helping

©Paul Cannon


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Ruby Bridges

Integrated – Word of the Day

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It’s 1960, the Kenyan Crisis ended, Kennedy announced his run for the US presidency, the Beatles haven’t yet come to the fore, Adolf Eichman is captured by Israeli agents, ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’ is published, a number of former colonial countries become independent, the Civil Rights Movement was gaining ground in the US, the US sends troops to Vietnam, 100,000 people attend “Ban the Bomb” rally in London, D.H. Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterly’s Lover” on sale 32 years after it was banned, Chubby Checker popularises the Twist, Sirimavo Bandaranaike – first female PM (Sri Lanka) Ceylon, folk music moves into protest, and a number of rights movements begin, and with the pill and a number of other birth control methods the sexual revolution gathers momentum. When you read the detail of the time, they were heady days, with dramatic change

And yet … we have the scene above. The beginning of integration for black and white students in American schools.  Ruby Bridges six years old, and who passed the enrolment test, was the first African- American student to be enrolled in the formerly all-white Wiiliam Frantz Elementary School, escorted to and from school by four federal marshals! Incomprehensible, despite the historical data showing how it came to be. Bridges endured running the gauntlet of a hostile white protest every day for twelve months, parents removing their children in protest, grafiti, people yelling slurs and hate. She spent twelve months alone with her teacher, Barbara Henry, and child psychologist Robert Coles. Eventually more African-American students were enrolled and the furore died down. Norman Rockwell (1894 – 1978) immortalised Bridges bravery in the painting “The Problem We All Have To Live With.”

Bridge’s father lost his job and the family were refused service at their local store. Though neighbours organised another job, and some white people stood with the family, it was a tough year. But everyone involved in the integration praised Ruby for her bravery.

Ruby Bridges became a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement, the brave child who survived the hostile resistance to integration. I certainly feel inspired by her stance and determination.

If you read her story and watch the archive footage on Youtube, you can see the determination on her face, which tells me she was integrated psychologically. Carl Jung argued that maturity at core was individuation – the ability to separate oneself from others as an identity. Clearly six year old Ruby was able to do that. If only we’d follow suit. How wonderful it would be to lived in a world where skin colour, language, religion/philosophy, culture, nationality, were of no significance, but where the freedom to be yourself, where communities are integrated and psychological maturity are the mark of every person, imagine that!

Gray is not an option, colour is to be celebrated, melanin is no measure intellect, spirituality, ability, or the right to exist, we are people, varied and beautiful, let’s live that.

“No one (man, sic) will ever be whole and dignified and free except in the knnowledge that the people around them (men, him) are whole and free and that the world itself is free of contempt and misuse.”  Wendell Berry

“The world does not need white people to civilize others. The real White People’s Burden is to civilize ourselves.” Robert Jensen

offensive by day
colour is perception and light
darkness cured blindness

©Paul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Less Is More

Abundant – Word of the Day

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Mate, there’s nothing out here, we’re stuffed now. On the way to Jindalee.

To the untrained eye that’s true, but to any of our local indigenous clans, there’s no reason to panic because to the familiar and trained eye, there’s an abundance of food out there, what we call bush tucker.

If you are a meat eater, then kangaroo, emu, wallaby, snakes and lizards, to name a few, are nearby. Quandongs, bush plums, mulga apples, wild orange, and more are nearby. There are also mulga seeds and wattle seeds. Plenty of insects abound, cicadas, witchetty grubs, and various caterpillars. Some sweet things like nectar, especially from the honey ant, and honey from native bees. There’s surface water in the wet season, some soaks and Gorges during summer, and if you dig there’s often water close to the surface near tree roots, and granite outcrops. Then there’s various flax and flat leaved plants you can use for making baskets and any number of containers, trees for shade and shelter, tinder for fire. To the untrained eye – there’s nothing out there. I’m no expert but to my eye and many others, there is definitely an abundance of food and life out there.

“Less is more” is a phrase from Robert Browning’s poem ‘Andrea del Sarto’ (1855). This phrase was popularised by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as the principle of Minimalism in architecture in the 1940s, van der Rohe was a leading figure in the Bauhaus movement. The Aussie bush is vast but sparse, which makes me think it is a living example of Browning’s phrase, less is more.

The sparse bush is deceptive, and yet to those who know, it’s like a magnet that draws you to linger a while and indulge that other abundance – peace. To continue a theme, in the bush there is an abundance of peace, a joyful solitude, a nurturing silence. There is a generous time out in the bush, there is no competition to mark time, no stress in taking time. No wonder many of us say it is a healing space, body, mind and soul. The bush is generous, extravagant, and abundant. It teaches me to live those values. And it teaches me that less is actually more.

maples abundant
black pine a mass of needles
cherry soul-gasm

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Nature Rejuvenates

Rejuvenate – Word of the DayIMG_3048.jpg

Redbank Gorge, the beauty of carved rock and the body of water, life abundant.

When were you last on the trail? When did you last encounter nature? When did you last stroll a lake, the park, or the beach? When did you last smell a fresh blossom or admire the lush leaf cover of a tree? When did you last appreciate the movement of water or wind?

It may be that nature doesn’t do it for you, but I can say without a doubt that nature rejuvenates me, body, mind and soul. To smell the air, unlike urban air, unlike carbon infused air, is refreshing. To bask in the warth of the unimpeded glow of the sun is refreshing. To hear the sound of water lapping a shore or singing over rocks is refreshing. To hear and feel the sound of rain, wind, thunder, hail is refreshing. To hear the curlew, owl, honeyeater or magpie is refreshing. Somehow all these things stir my soul, open my eyes – the eyes of my heart. I live in awe of the beauty, but also the depth of nature to speak into my life differently to buildings, concrete, politics, conflict, ego, machinery, drudge, stress … Nature is unpredictable (in the main), uncontainable, it is its very own and no other. Nature is owned by no one, and speaks for itself without agenda. It is truly free to include me (if I am willing of course) and release me through its freshness, its beauty, its uncomplicated relational way of being, and its overwhelming gift of humilty and vulnerability are priceless.

Whether it be birdsong, crickets, cicadas, or the sight of fish in the water, a tortoise on a mission, a kangeroo escaping, or a dolpin in conversation, nature has an impact on my daily being. Nature can be my solace, my meditation, my prayer, my friend, my antibiotic, my next breath …

Nature is something that brings me youthfulness, breath, a sense of being, an awareness of the present moment, and understanding of otherness and a sense of self. Nature is where I refresh, recharge, reframe. In nature I rejuvenate, I am new, playful, differently aware. I hope you are too.

Old branches reach up
ravaged by wind and sun
birds sing me life

©Paul Cannon

Paul

pvcann.com

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My Lissome Soul

Lissome – Word of the Day

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Dame Margot Fonteyn (1919 – 1991) a truly graceful ballerina. James Monahan (Fonteyn, A Study Of The Ballerina In Her Setting) referred to her as delicate and feline. She had an illustrious career dancing with the Royal Ballet. Sir Robert Helpman and Rudolf Nureyev were two of her outstanding dance partners, Nureyev became her sole (indeed, her soul) partner for most of her latter career, and they became very close friends. In a PBS documentary (1990) Nureyev commented that he and Fonteyn danced with “one body, one soul.”

I never saw Fonteyn live, that would have been amazing, but I was at least able to see her recorded performances. She moved with grace and soul and, at times (as in Swan Lake), her movement is itself a meditation, mesmerising.

O to move through life the same, that with the dance of life I might move mindfully and gracefully and with outstanding journey friends of one body, one soul. That my soul be lissome, albeit unburdened, unshackled and free, a meditation.

in my lissome soul
I danced life's curves
like floating blossom

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Gregarious – Word of the Day

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Corellas flock together, gregarious by nature, foraging, bathing, flying, playing, they love being together, even when roosting for the night. It is rare to see a lone one and there’s an apparent sadness when one dies. Many animals are gregarious by nature, humans especially, whether introverted or extroverted.

You can be introverted and gregarious too, just in smaller doses, as author Karen Armstrong puts it: “I like silence; I’m a gregarious loner and without the solitude, I lose my gregariousness.”  As author Susan Cain says: To be introverted is to be concerned about how you respond to stimulation, especially social stimulation.”  Or as poet Norman MacCaig once said: “I’m very gregarious, but I love being in the hills on my own.”  As an extrovert I can still relate to that.

The cost is different. Introverts will feel drained after much social stimulus, whereas, while extroverts my feel tired, they will thrive on social stimulus. But both will become vulnerable because there is always a risk in social interaction to the self. We as a human community thrive better when we have social interaction, when we work together, when we can make friends, work in teams, and when we can walk alongside one another. We just need to appreciate each other’s needs more accutely in the area of personality. To be introverted is not a negative pathology, I should know I live with a household of introverts, and I get reminded. We’re all gregarious, just differently wired.

The video below of Susan Cain speaking from the perspective of an introvert may seem long at 19 minutes, but it is well worth a look.

 

We're in full swing
you withdraw, I re-engage
elementary

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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John Adams

Independence – Word of the Day

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Eurasian Coot, Big Swamp, Bunbury. Alone again, naturally. This one had set a course for herself, away from the others.

The stories of other nations and communities are always interesting to me, how they evolved and what are some of the key historical points that have become the DNA of the nation, and who are some the characters in nation building.

It is July 4th, the celebration for Americans of their independence from Britain. One of the things that always intrigues me, is the story within the story. Eventual political independence came as a result of independent people. One such person was John Adams (1735 – 1826).

Britannica.com describes Adams and his wife Abigail as fiercely independent. Adams was an early advocate for independence. His father had hoped he’s follow in his shoes as a church minister. Adams trained with that in view, but on graduation from Harvard spent three years teaching at a grammar school. He eventually determined to do law, and set up practice in Boston. It was while in Boston that his independence came to public prominence. Eight British soldiers had fired on a crowd in Boston – the Boston Massacre -and were on trial for murder. John Adams decided to defend them. He believed that they had the right to legal representation (and for a fee no doubt), and his view was that the soldiers had been provoked. While it was an unpopular thing to do it showed that Adams was a principled person, and it also showed that Adams was one who could think and act independently.

In 1765 Adams wrote a dissertation against the Stamp Act, He went on to oppose the Townsend Act (import duty). In 1774 he was elected to the delegation to represent Massachusetts at the First Continental Congress. In 1775 he published his “Novanglus” essays arguing that Britain had no right to legislate for the colony. He attended the Second Continental Congress in 1776, and was nicknamed “The Atlas of independence” surely an irony? He dominated debate and made crucial nominations – George Washington as comander of the Continental Army; and Thomas Jefferson to draft the Declaration of Independence. His list of achievements is long, and include a term as ambassador in both France and England, two terms as Vice President, and one term as President. While his political philosophy is much debated and some of his views unpopular, Adams has been hailed as a patriot and revolutionary who spurred a colony to nationhood.

No matter what you think of him, you can’t deny that he was indeed and independent thinker and activist who worked for the nation’s own independence. Perhaps in that light we might say that America’s independence is an outworking of the independent-mindedness of its founders, especially John Adams. I note though, that Adams was not a one-man-band, he ably delegated, deffered, and encouraged others to do their bit, not wanting to hog the limelight, but rather to share it. Independence doesn’t mean solo, or maverick, though it doesn’t exclude those labels those labels are not the principal defining behaviours, it means appropriate dependence and independence in synergy. A bit like co-dependency is not all bad, we all have a positive level of dependence and co-dependece in our lives, if we didn’t we’d have sterile relationships and bland communities and not a lot would get done. We also need a positive level of independence in our lives too, without it we are not an identity, just a name, alone. I like to think I have a bit of John Adams in me, an independent thinker and activist, but also one who can function in and for community. I hope you do to.

many fine new branches
a multitude of blossom
the trunk is solid

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Take Courage

Exposure – Word of the DayIMG_0134.jpg

Augusta, the town jetty, and Blackwood River rising.

Fortunately we had raincoats and we knew the rain was coming, but nonetheless, with the wind whipping the rain along, and the cold air pressing in, we felt more than a little exposed. But, because we were prepared we enjoyed the walk. The tide was very high as predicted by the Weather Bureau. There was also a lot of flow from up-river after three major rain bearing fronts have been through and local flooding was expected. You can’t tell from the photo but the timber decking of the jetty looked as if it was floating as the water was touching the underside. We haven’t seen it like that for a while.

Weather exposure can be very serious, hypothermia or sunstroke, the risks are great if you’re not prepared. Preparation means covering up, sunblock, hats, raincoats, warm clothes, appropriate footwear. So that whatever the weather we put on what is necessary to be comfortable and to protect ourselves. However, we know not to wear winter gear in summer and vice versa, and usually we’re good at that.

We’re not so good with emotional exposure. We’re trained, or we train ourselves, to overprotect, and sometimes we wear the wrong emotional gear, like using the mask of happiness to cover depression, or the mask of confidence to cover fear. Rarely do we let others in, we become invulnerable, strong, a veritable fortress. Yet the best possible way forward, the only true way to wholeness is to trust others with our inner world. Of course, it goes without saying, you don’t grab a megaphone and announce your life to the world, but there are people in our lives we can talk to, take off our masks, and be vulnerable with.

As Brene Brown has said many times, in our society vulnerablity, to be exposed, is to be seen as weak. Brown counters this with “vulnerability is our greatest measure of courage.” Brown defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” It is an opening of the self to another, whereby empathy becomes the healing counterpoint or the supportive staging point, depending on what we are going through. Brown’s research is thorough, and in it she discovered that every courageous act was underpinned by vulnerability. That tells me that we can only really flourish when we are able to speak our truth and take off our masks and be real with others, then we are whole and not just pieces or segments. The fortress life may serve us well but to really floursih we need to let the drawbridge down from time to time, otherwise we not only defend ourselves against the outsider, we imprison ourselves from the world. I’d rather be open than be a captive! Take courage.

cherry tree winter bare
cold has stunted many new buds
the wild branch has fruit

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

 

 

 

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