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Deborah Russell

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Winding Through the Junipers
By Deborah Russell
Friday, June 24, 2005

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Haibun, Published in the World Haiku Review, 05


Winding Through the Junipers

It is mid January and my hands are gloveless and cold. The sky is overcast and I want to remember these sights and sounds, because it will be the last time I will walk to the end of this driveway.

The garden is ready for spring, I had worked through the summer and fall preparing the ground and transplanting the Irises and Lilies. The Dahlias will be beautiful this year, those reds and golds, I will not see. At least someone will enjoy them, I thought.

koi pond -
the fish someone else
will feed

I pack the small U-Haul with all those things people assume they need and will probably never use. I hadn’t moved (on my own) for at least twelve years and had no concept of what to take or leave behind.

I had finally decided to move to
Colorado and in spite of the day's cold; my hands and forehead had begun to sweat from packing and moving box after box.

Most of the Maple leaves have fallen - they crunched uncomfortably and too frequently beneath my feet. The sounds were as complex and disorienting as my thoughts and the heaviness of my heart.

The house, which was no longer a home and had not seemed like a home since we had moved in, seven years ago, appeared to be guarded by an immense Sycamore and the large Cedar and Elm branches of neighboring yards.

The day was dreary and the thick foliage lent to the ominous shade and presiding atmosphere.

The vapor of my breath merged in the shape of a passing cloud. I bent to pick up another box of miscellaneous and useless house items. I knew I was breathing but, for the life of me, I could not hear myself exhale. My breath seemed chilled and silent like the grey and unconscious gravel along the curb.

granddaughter's gift
our favorite "rock" near
the rear window

By ten o'clock in the morning, it had begun to rain though not enough to deter the job at hand. Moving automatically I brought box after box from the house to stack inside the small trailer.

A flock of snow geese disrupted the sky and afterward, the silence and my awareness of the cold returned. By the time I had stopped to watch the birds, the sky was empty of them and nearly as white as winter breath.

From the back of the house I heard the whisperings of the wind, shifting and winding through the Junipers, like the sound of squirrels or movements of chipmunks that frequently scamper in and about the yard.

wind sounds
I drop another box
of dishes

The branches and sounds became indecipherable in a sudden gust of wind as the rain began to accelerate. Until this point, I realized I had not taken in the entire scene, just impressionistic dabs of color and sound.

I suppose I was trying to protect myself from the realization that I was losing yet another home, another garden and another part of my life I wasn’t ready to lose. I tried to shake off any depressing notions and challenged myself to think of it as selective perspective.

From the distance, the sound of the passing train occupies my ears - I suddenly drift in a state of child-like anticipation and daydream of moving and how far I have to travel. The sound of a train often encourages the part of the mind consumed with vagabond admiration, the same part that makes one suddenly feel young and adventurous.

I stick out my tongue
to catch one

The neighbor’s dog had begun to bark and redirected my attention to the task at hand. I started up the walk and noticed the second floor windows, on each side of the door, the screens made them appear black and empty. The front door was painted two-toned, cappuccino and aged driftwood. I never finished painting the interior. I didn’t have the heart.

There was no "family" left in the house. The boys were gone. My daughter and her boyfriend were living in their own world. I had no one to care for, no one to have conversations with. I had left all of my friends behind, when we moved to

his bird's nest
only a feather
and some kite string

Since last summer, I had tried to find a thousand excuses to stay and  couldn’t convince myself to stay in an area where (on any given day) I might run into my husband and his girlfriends.

At least, the move across country would give me the opportunity to take care of myself and not have the worry of being the victim of his circumstance.

Suddenly, I realized I was standing in the rain - hair-dripping, with a box of dishes in my arms that needed to be in the car. My hands were shaking and wet, but not with rain.

I did not know how to control these “attacks” or nervousness that happens when I think of his lies, his anger, rage and hate - the reactions that develop from adulterous and obsessive behavior - all those horrible and hurtful words directed toward everyone in our house because he chose to have "love" affairs and I chose to believe he didn't.

new time zone
the differences
between us

I don't know why I chose to believe he was faithful, perhaps it was easier to continue to believe in the lie, easier to believe he was sorry for his anger and pretend he "really" loved me. It was easier, rather than admit he was unfaithful, because if I admitted he was unfaithful I'd have to admit I'd failed as a wife, a lover and must be lacking something as a woman... evidently something I was incapable of providing.

I put the wet box down on a towel, in the back seat and from the humiliation of being a typical woman and having such circular thoughts; I slammed the door harder than I should - only to think of how ridiculous my actions were.

I looked back at the house, biting my lip, trying to convince myself I would be fine after a few months – that everything would be safe and comfortable, once I reached my destination.

I noticed the rain had slowed, almost to a drizzle, but my socks were wet. Inside, I slipped off my boots and put on a fresh pair of socks, the comfy kind. They were thick, chenille socks. The type of socks you sometimes compare with "blankies" and comfort food, like Mom’s home-made macaroni and cheese. I smiled, because in my heart I know, I will be alright.

I know how to comfort myself. I learned from the pros, the queens of self-comfort; my grandmother and my mother.

drive thru -
one cup to go
extra cream

Deborah Russell, © 2005

Published, 05

 Image: Dalhia Garden, Japan 02 - D. Russell


       Web Site: Parallels

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Reviewed by Anny Ballardini 6/25/2005
Hi Deborah,

this is a wonderful description of an interesting psychological development. I love those socks, and the way you described your new home somewhere else. Take care, Anny

Books by
Deborah Russell

Haiku No Susume

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