Ends of the Earth Haībun

Definition of reverie: n. rev•er•ie (ˈrɛv ə ri) 
1. a state of meditation or fanciful musing: lost in reverie;
2. a daydream;
3. a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea.
—  The Free Dictionary


Mary Cassatt painted a woman contemplating a flower and titled the painting Reverie. I stared at that painting, reproduced in an Impressionist art book, struck by the name, a word unheard for years. I looked around the crowded Starbucks, and everyone was looking at a screen or talking intently to others. I wondered when was the last time I experienced a reverie. Do they exist anymore? Are they like the fabled unicorn, only appearing to young children?

round, red zinnia
smells sweetly of rainy days
tastes of summer

I remember reveries from childhood. One time I toasted a hotdog on a bonfire. It was burnt on the outside and cold on the inside. Afterwards, I felt sleepy, contemplating the fire. I had a twilight dream that I was the hotdog, burnt on the side facing the fire and freezing on the side away.

I remember looking for shells on the shore of Lake Michigan and finding agates, speckled with unusual colors. I wondered if the whole bottom of the lake, under the fish, the algae, the weeds, the shipwrecks and the silt was like a huge, curved agate of jeweled colors. Contemplating an agate with all the blues and greens of the water and the sky, I remembered hearing my father playing a record, the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. With the waves of Lake Michigan freezing my toes in August, I finally understood how a large ship could sink in a November gale on Lake Superior, a lake even more vast than Michigan. Water stretched as far as my eyes could see, and I imagined that Lake Michigan must be like seeing the ocean, immense and powerful.

cold wind blowing
salty like fish on Friday
seaweed between my toes

These days when I close my eyes, I see pictures in my mind from all over the world, places I have seen and places I may never see in my life. They are the stars of my inner eye, icons symbolizing places full of mystery and magic. They are all bounded by one thing. Were I to travel all the way south to South America: glaciers and ocean. All the way north in North America: glaciers and ocean. Along every coastline, more ocean.

El Perito Morena Glacier El Calafate used with kind permission of Cindy Knoke

El Perito Morena Glacier El Calafate Patagonia, used with kind permission of Cindy Knoke

I hear, in my inner ear, the songs of the whales, the call of seagulls and happy chirps of dolphins playing, free to travel always in the oceans that surround the continents, the islands of our watery world. I’m haunted by pictures I’ve seen of our oceans crowded with human garbage, stories I’ve read of medical waste washing up on the Jersey Shore, reports of massive numbers of sea creatures dying in the Pacific. I wish I could save the oceans from all our human trash, from nuclear disasters, from toxins, overfishing and pollution, because oceans are the cradle of life. Without our oceans, our world would have no ends, no edges, no reveries at the beauty of its limitless vastness.

Glaciers calving in the sea
Salt on my cheeks

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: Inspired by the weekly Līgo Haībun challenge offered by Ese’s Voice and Ye Pirate. Thanks to Cindy Knoke for her kind permission to use her photograph of Patagonia. For people as fascinated by glaciers as I am, you can see an Alaskan glacier calving here.

52 thoughts on “Ends of the Earth Haībun

  1. The way this blossomed, and grew was really very interesting, from the barbecue to the lake to the glacier to the ocean. It just opened and opened, naturally, seamlessly, just flowing. The reverie style you have is yours. It is a particular genre that seems to just go so nicely with your theme, your words and style and the rhythm of the piece, pulling people into the memories until they are there. That you always have more than one haiku is part of the secret of the success I think. It really works rhythmically. A lovely piece and haibun, as others rightly recognise.


    • What a wonderful comment, thanks, Managua. My heart is opening with the haibun style of writing. I love focusing down on the haiku and then opening up again into more prose, and often only one at the end leaves me still hungry.


  2. Such an important topic, the ocean..I have a wave photo this week…As I read your words Ia was taken back to an exhibition I viewed late last year…can’t remember if I blogged about it…I’ll search and see…but the point is that it was about the places we have not spoiled yet…I was moved to tears by the photos…If you ever get the chance, go see Genesis by Saebastiao Salgado. The internet does not do the pictures justice. See them up close. Breathtaking…Thanks for taking me back there. Peace. Paul x


    • So important to not destroy our planet, to be respectful of the wild places. I will look for those photos. Thanks for dropping by and leaving your words, always appreciated. Peace and Joy, Brenda


  3. I liked this post tremendously! I enjoy when I hear of words that are either not used often enough or in this case, not used in practice enough! Reflecting and daydreaming have elements of this word… I love the way you shared your memories and favorite places in verses. I also am a big fan of Mary Cassatt. I had a few of her paintings/prints in my children’s rooms while they grew up. I am sure they were not as excited as I was by them, since they were very relaxing and loving ‘motherly’ paintings.


    • David, I hope you have not been ill. I’m glad you liked my reverie, I put a lot of my heart into it. Have you written your children’s story as you wanted? Cheers, Brenda


      • I’ve had a rotten cough and just wanted to sleep – you know coughing all night and keeping myself (and poor Jackie) awake.

        I seem to be ill every December – then I hang on until after Christmas so I don’t spoil the hols. Once the hols are over I collapse. I find it really irritating and frustrating. You know how it is – you just lie there thinking about all the things that you want to be getting on with.

        Happily, the cough and thick head are mostly gone now.

        I did manage to churn out enough stories to send the grandsons home with something each – thank you – but all the plans for new and exciting stuff are still in the pending basket. Well, on the ToDo list, actually.

        Hope you made it though the holidays safely and now have the house and children back to normal.



        • I got sick when we shut up the house in November. I finally realized that each winter, I’ve been sicker, and each winter, the mold in the bathroom is worse. We are renovating to get it out. The bathroom was riddled with it. Now I have glue fumes. I hope to feel well again soon. Can’t write much with strangers in the house. Trying to work a lot today. 🙂 Glad to hear you are writing.


          • I really hope you’ve managed to put your finger on the cause of the problem – it’s miserable to be sick when everyone else is celebrating and visiting.

            Is it warm enough to venture outside yet – and breathe all the fumes out? I hear you’ve had a polar invasion or something – just open the window in the bathroom and see if those grasping mould goblins can stand against the twinkling frozen fairy filigrees (off duty now Santa is away on his annual leave) – although the glue smell may give the poor things a headache so leave a few paracetamol handy.

            Hope you’re feeling better by the time you read this.



            • I hope we have the problem sorted, but you are right, I’ve traded one fume for another. The glue, plaster and paint smells will be awhile partying in the master bath. Still, we are all happy the mold is gone. Goodbye sour prince… Your princess awaits you in another’s castle. I am feeling okay today. I have tomorrow off from construction. The plaster has to set… 🙂 Cheers, Brenda.


  4. Your memories brought forth memories of my own, I consistently found myself in states of ‘intentionally sought’ Reverie determined to pull myself through my life as a young girl/teenager.

    I enjoy the way your writing does that, and wish I visited more often!

    Thank you.



  5. really wonderful. your mention of unicorns remided me of the last unicorn by peter s beagle, book and later a film, there is a moment that molly grue, who had spent her childhood dreaming of meeting a unicorn, comes face to face with the last unicorn as a middle aged woman, it’s a very bittersweet moment, i cry everytime! when she says it would be the last unicorn that came to molly crue i crumble inside. anyway not related at all but thats what sprang to mind, i haven’t thought of that moment for a long time!


    • Aw, magic should never have to end for any of us, as long as we are breathing. I have moments like that one with films. When I get to the end of Secret Garden and the main character runs away lamenting “I wasn’t wanted,” I cry every time. Glad my piece moved you to remember something precious. Warmly, Brenda


  6. I have frequent “reveries”. Daydreaming – and imagining – keeps me alive. I had a huge imagination as a kid, and it’s fun to watch my eldest play by herself, because she is very much as I was – inventing all sorts of fabulous tales for her dolls and stuffed animals. And if she misplaces one? A special friend has gone missing and we must locate them immediately – in true CSI fashion. She imagines vividly and feels everything so deeply. I miss – and almost want that – again.

    I think that’s why I love your blog – you bring a little of that back. You provide these beautiful “what if” snippets (with awesome pictures) that just let my mind wander…

    I know you’ve had many – but I nominated you for a Sunshine Award – because you are really one of the bloggers that have made this experience better for me – so I wanted to say thanks! Here’s the post (which you’ve already liked – as you do – but rules are rules and I still want to come and properly thank you) : http://babygatesdown.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/awards-awards-awards/


    • Wow, Louise, you are fabulous, somehow I didn’t see myself in that post, but I was happy for you! Congrats to you. I’ll come by and reread soon! Aw, the sunshine is one of my favs. Cheers, Brenda


  7. I was briefly passing the Golf Channel and the tournament was being held in Hawai’i somewhere…they showed a small pod of whales playing freely in the warm water. Bringing memory to the time I was myself off a Maui shore up to my chin in warm ocean water and still able to see my toes…but we were warned not to go in the water that was by the condo we were staying at because that shore was the path of waste for some company. There has got to be a way to recycle everything so it hurts nothing. Sigh.


      • I’m not sure just how bad it was, but we were warned that it was best not to swim there. Though I did see crews rowing long boats…

        Most likely done before any regulatory stuff was put into place and before that area was built up so it may have been grandfathered. But still as you say that isn’t a very good excuse not to make improvements.


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