Category Archives: Haïku – Haïga

Where did I put it?

Maui (1347 of 2119)
A couple of Ruddy Turnstones at at the Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, on the Hawaiian island of Maui

I first met ruddy turnstones on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, at the entrance of the Bay of Tampa. From our very first encounter, it was impossible to forget their name (although I didn’t know the name at the time we met) because that is exactly what turnstones do: they turn stones on the beach looking for insects and other little creatures they can eat, quickly moving from one stone to the next, never staying in place for very long.

These two were enjoying the white foam on the shores of Keālia Pond on Maui.

Hey, look over here!
This one looks so familiar.
No, must be elsewhere…

Splashing Around

Giant of the sea
Mighty elegance in flight
Just splashing around

Privileged to see
Humbled by the spectacle
Unforgettable

This is a sequence of a humpback whale breaching by a fishing boat, with the slopes of Kaho’olawe Island in the background. I caught these from the beach at Kamaole II in Kihei, Maui HI, and I would estimate the distance to be at least 2 miles from the beach, but maybe as much as 5 miles (not sure). Shot with Nikon D7100 with Nikkor 55-300mm lens.

Translating a Snowfall

I watched the snow fall, softly, a curtain of large flakes slowly drifting down to the ground. The white comforter it created—thicker than a simple blanket—covered everything in such a way that sharp edges disappeared, dulled out by the few inches that covered them. The snow effectively acted like a low-pass filter, attenuating the high frequencies of the scenery.

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I continued to watch from my front window for a while, then I took a look out back. Once more, the edges that could be seen only a few minutes ago had been dulled out; the gaps between the deck boards reduced to shallow curves barely perceptible in the gray light of the early morning. For a moment, the falling snow was transforming my familiar backyard into something new, different, almost surreal.

I scanned the whole view through the window and tried to follow individual snowflakes on their unique journey to the ground… and suddenly images of falling raindrops rushed to my mind… and I wondered if I could translate each flake into its corresponding drop, imagining this wintery scene turning into a warm summer shower. I could almost hear the sound of the rain as it hit the sunroom’s tin roof, the leaves on the trees, the blades of grass, and the wooden boards of the deck. I closed my eyes and could smell the rain…

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The snow hadn’t slowed when I opened my eyes; I ran outside to listen. Try as I may, I could not hear the sound of the falling snowflakes. In fact, the thick white blanket muffled every sound as it grew thicker. I opened my mouth and tried to catch snowflakes on my tongue, just as I did when I was a kid. Content, I walked back inside and closed the door.

Snowfall

 Flakes floating gently
Translated into raindrops
They melt on my tongue

Sharp, angular edges
Softened by thick, white blanket
Cold sound of silence

Childhood memories
Rekindled by a snowfall
Frosty eyelashes

Waxing crescent moon
Basket in the evening air
Set to catch Venus

Painting Haleakalā Crater

A visit to the summit of Haleakalā Crater is bound to create lifelong memories, and I’m not even talking about the drive. Once I found my mountain legs, which took a few  minutes after getting out of the car at the Visitors Centre (and later at the summit), I needed to find my mountain lungs. Trekking at 10,000 ft altitude takes a little getting used to.

No matter the viewpoint, every look is as grandiose and breathtaking—I did catch my breath eventually—as the previous. The crater’s rocky rim with its jagged edges, like a giant mixing bowl, runs down to the centre where a number of reddish chimneys (volcanic cones) are visible among what looks like endless rock slides. Clouds file in from Pai’a direction and others spill over the southern rim, like fingers of a hand holding on for dear life to the edge of the crater. Everything has a lunar landscape feel to it, with much brighter colours.

Reluctantly, and after what seems much too soon, we begin the 8,000 ft descent down Maui County Hwy 378 with its 30 hairpin switchback curves, when a small sign that reads Kalahaku Overlook draws our attention. Just one more look… Along the eastern edge of the crater, we’re treated to more breathtaking views and a new sightline of the reddish chimneys. Sheltered by the rocky wall above us, the wind has stopped where we stand. We’re alone. We swear we could hear a pin drop on the crater floor; all is perfectly quiet, magical. Everything stands still save for the clouds sliding into and across the crater. We could stay here for an eternity—there’s a certain calm, zen, all around us, peace, feels so good—but I don’t want to drive down in the dark…

But we weren’t alone. A young lady artist was busy mixing oil colours and applying them to her canvas, the spirit and life of the crater appearing with every stroke of her brush. Her face is well protected from the hot sun by the shade of her wide-brimmed hat, and covered with a thick white layer of sunscreen. She smiles at my surprise, realizing that we were not alone. I ask permission to photograph her, all too aware that I am disturbing her concentration and inspiration. She explains the painting in progress briefly and returns to her work. The name on the card she graciously offered is Hiu Lai Chong, from Maryland, here for the Maui Plein Air Painting Show.

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Haleakala Crater viewed from Kalahaku Overlook, Maui, HI

Haleakala Haikus

High above the clouds
Peace, awe, and serenity
Cool wind and thin air

Awe of destruction
Lava flowed 200 years hence
Pele rests in peace

High in the blue sky
Enchantment, dreams come easy
My feet on the ground

The fright of the climb
The reward awaits the brave
Sights like no others

 

Pastels on Mokule’ia Bay

Driving the Honoapiilani Highway, on Maui’s northwest tip, we came upon Slaughterhouse Beach, a name stemming from the Honolua Ranch slaughterhouse and tanning/storage shed (torn down long ago) that were located on the cliff’s edge above the ocean.

On the sand, near the sharp black lava rocks, where the waves break with much fury and white spray, I met Montana artist Aaron Schuerr putting the finishing touches to a pastel painting of the beautiful landscape of the bay. Aaron graciously answered my many questions about his art and inspiration as he put away the hundreds of little coloured pastel sticks; each stick in its place, forming a neat kaleidoscope in the flat artist’s box.

The painting—a pastel drawing is called a painting, I learned—Aaron produced over the previous three hours captured the scene with emotion, depicting the flow of the water among the sharp lava and onto the warm sand, mixing colours and light expertly.

It’s easy to find inspiration out here. But from a quick look at Aaron’s portfolio, he seems to know a thousand more places where to find inspiration…

Pleasure meeting you, Aaron!

Haïgas on the Bay

Softness of pastels
Lend colour to a gray day
Contrast sharp edges

Rainbow in a box
Colour of the scenery
Crash, sound of the waves

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The scene at Mokule’ia Bay captured with my camera