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Monday, April 20, 2015

Harley King

While I saw my first robin this year over a month ago, I am still reminded with each new sighting about the importance of the seasons.  The seasons are the touchstones of our lives.  They remind us of who we are and what we are all about.  This year has been a particularly hard winter where I live and people delighted in the coming of spring.  The seasons measure the passing of time.  

Our lives are also like the seasons.  Our youth is the spring of our lives — full of energy, excitement and enthusiasm.  We seek to discover the meaning of life and the world into which we are born.  Why are we are?  Who do we want to become?

In the summer of our lives, we settle into the world, mating and raising a family.  We find employment to pay our bills and hopefully, provide us with a sense of purpose.  The questions of our youth become less important as we are in pursuit of life's abundance.  Like the squirrels we are finding nuts and burying them for the coming winter.

In the autumn of our lives, we return to the melancholy of our youth.  We think again about the meaning of life and our purpose for being here.  We question and challenge the decisions we have made.  Have we settled for too little?  Have we given in too easily to the demands of life?  If our time in this life is limited, what changes do we want to make?

In the winter of our years, we know the end is near.  We can feel the coming death in our bones.  We will return to the soil from which we came.  We watch our friends and companions of this life pass on to a world beyond our grasp.  We live in memory of what has been — hopeful that our passing will be blessed.

The seasons have also been a touchstone of my creative life — beginning with the wild and crazy hopes and dreams of spring.  I wanted to be a poet and a novelist — a rich and famous world traveler.  In the summer, I chose to find a job to support a family.  Writing was relegated to the early morning hours while everyone slept.  In the autumn of my years, I have written thousands of poems and published little.  I am more interested in the process of creating then in fame and fortune.  Winter is around the corner and I find myself also drawing and creating art.  I wonder what will happen to my creative work after I am gone.  Will it disappear?  Or will it find a home somewhere?

In 1977, I published Winter Silence, my first book of haiku to celebrate the birth of my daughter.  The book was organized by the seasons.  In 2014, I read and recorded the haiku from that book.  Enjoy this short reading.

May your heart rejoice 
with the coming of robins in the spring.