Seasons of the Sun Haībun


When the summer sun shines, blinding me with its full radiance, the pleasure is painfully exquisite. If I bask too long, my sunburn is a long, slow torment, my body retaining the summer’s heat for days. Yet that same hot summer sun provides the energy for all the food we eat, makes the world a vibrant beautiful place.

hot reckless summer
sun provides food for tree leaves
blessed saving shade


In the autumn, the sun’s strength has diminished, and its power to blind and burn has faded with the earth’s turning. The leaves mourn with me, turning all the colors of the earth from the loss of that unrelenting brilliance. A cool morning is made a delight, sitting by the lake, soaking up the remaining heat, with no fear of sunburn.

a bench in the sun
light glints on still lake water
sun warms cold morning


Fall warmth has to last through the dark days of winter, when the sky can turn gray with snow for days in a row. The weak winter sun cannot burn through snow clouds, and instead sends a diffuse light leaking through. After the clouds break, the fresh fallen snow can magnify the sunlight into a thousand knives, piercing my eyes with a painful overload. Crossing a field after a snowfall, the light forces my eyes to thin slits, tears seeping and freezing on my cheeks.

boots sink in new snow
icy wind curls under scarf
eyes shut from white fire


Spring finds moderation again, without the piercing light reflected by the winter white, without the intense burning of the summer sun. The whole world bursts forth in bloom, bulbs shooting forth their starbursts of color and myself shedding clothing layers. Spring sunlight is an invitation, a benediction, a renewing from the universe.

starshine gently falls
magic balm to the cold earth
life springs up dancing

Copyright 2013 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: This post was inspired by the Ligo Haībun challenge by Ese, who offered a Mexican proverb: It is not enough to know how to ride – you must also know how to fall. This proverb reminded me of autumn, the leaves falling after a summer of riding the sunshine; life in its eternal circle; the earth circling; the sun in its seasons.