Butterfly Moment Haibun

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.
— Franz Kafka

IMG_6212

One of the hardest realizations after college was how ordinary my days had become. The same routine, seeing the same places, meeting the same people, day after day. Occasionally, would come a butterfly moment, when ordinary transformed into extraordinary, and my inner spark could shine.

root-bound foliage
spider plant babies waterfall
glow with health

write joyfully
creating thought collage
redolent with youth

Years later, I am locked into a similar repeating pattern, day after day, mostly domestic: cooking, cleaning, overseeing homework, laundry, ad infinitum. Writing keeps me sane, and permits the daily grind to be grist for a deeper calling. Because I must write, I find 15 minutes here and there to create. Success is continuing to write, continuing the daily chores, and finding beauty where I can. Once in a while, comes a butterfly moment, when an idea, the time to write it and the words sort themselves into a magical order, and something extra shines forth. Something I didn’t intend results; creation takes on its own life.

On my daily walk, I contemplate small white blooms, fountaining from tiny bulbs. They bloom only a few days out of each year. They might have green foliage for three months. BAM comes the frost, and the small plant dies back into dormancy.  These few days of bloom take a year of effort. Yet that bulb, smaller than a fava bean, erupts into snow white beauty, a true butterfly moment of transformation.

Would I keep writing if I only had a few days to shine each year? Am I as dedicated as a bulb?

spark hides in bulb
awaiting transformation,
butterfly moment

snowdrop bursts forth
after long winter dormancy
head bowed, grace

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Written, in part, for the Haibun Thinking Week 12, Freestyle Week.

87 thoughts on “Butterfly Moment Haibun

  1. Pingback: Friday Feature: April 11, 2014 | Baby Gates Down
  2. There’s always an expectation Brenda every week that you will produce an outstanding piece for this challenge and as always you have not disappointed. I am pleased you able to use very productively the short space of time you have to write i know what it is like with children and a household to run. I enjoyed this haibun and haiku very much Brenda.

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      • Well I always feel reading your writing is a very worthwhile use of my time. I very much like the way you craft your haibun and I did connect with you over times issues. I did uni many years ago by correspondence and with a house of little kids time was at a premium. Needless to say I did enough to pass, just.

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        • Yes, my issue is, how do I stay home and be available to the kids, but to start to generate some income… I’m a lawyer, and if I go back to practicing law, I will not be so available anymore or home very much. And I need to write, I really do. I thought I might as well give it a whirl. I have a novel in for a manuscript critique at a writer’s conference in a couple weeks, and I’m ridiculously nervous. I’m deep into creating a world for a new novel, which is way too much fun to be making a living. LOL Wouldn’t it be great if I could swing it? It would feel awesome!! And I love haibun, but it doesn’t seem the easiest to market format. It’s addictive, though. 🙂 I’m reading Basho, and it is luminous.

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          • Well I wish you luck you never know Brenda where risk might take you. Writing is fun isn’t it, I am always reminded of Terry Pratchett’s comment in his novels, ‘ writing is the best fun you can have sitting down’. But I appreciate your need to generate income and writing for a living is a hard gig. Thankfully I do it solely for the fun it provides me. That anyone reads my work is a bonus in itself, my view of a best seller you might say. Have a great day and good luck with your novel.

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  3. Very interesting perspective – to think of ourselves as a flower, having just a short season of life! I’m sure the more time we have on our hands the more we waste, at least I seem to anyway. It really annoys me when I’ve got up extra early and the entire day appears to go like lightning! Perhaps if we did have such short lives like a flower or a butterfly, we would achieve a lot more in that short space of time – maybe. 😉 Thank you for that thought, I shall have to start thinking like a flower and pack a whole load of achievements into a small space! 😀

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  4. Brenda, another wonderful poem and beautiful snowdrops, so innocent and pure. I used to work so many hours in an interesting but stressful career, where there was little time for me and family and home came first always. So I had the ‘butterfly’ moments, writing on wet paper in the bath, or on the tiles with crayons! Scribbling when out with the dogs, or waiting for an appointment. Life is still busy but there’s always time to write. As you say it keeps one sane! 🙂 xx

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    • What was your career? How tantalizing… 🙂 I also had a busy career, in my case before kids, and butterfly moments were very rare then. 🙂 I am delighted to have more time for free writing than I used to.

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  5. I can totally relate to days being mundane, and then having those butterfly moments as you say. That just transform you and make life worth living. But not everyone notices the little things, like snowdrops with their heads bowed, how beautiful that was. And that’s why writers are so special, they point those little things out to us and make us appreciate our surroundings that much more.

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    • I remember being unhappy in the mundane in my early 20’s, wondering when life would pick up, get exciting. Looking back, I realize that was excitement, what I was doing then. 🙂 Perspective is everything. I had moved to New York City, had my own apartment, went out dancing until 3 in the morning. Saw Shakespeare in the park, broadway shows. Ah, those were good days. I don’t know that I would have noticed snowdrops back then, but I do now. 🙂

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  6. I always enjoy butterfly moments. And it is a pleasure to read yours and that kismet type moment of recognition – Yeah I’m like that too…. Though at this point I traded some TV and reading time so I can write. And some sleep time too. Especially on the days when I watch my grandy-littles. Routines can be soothing and healing. I didn’t know you were under the weather so-to-speak because I just don’t have enough time to visit all my friends everyday. I do hope you are fully recovered. I am looking forward to spring – though it actually looked as if there might have been frost this morning!

    Thank you for selflessly sharing yourself. And thank you for your ‘likes’ to let me know you have stopped by. Makes me smile each and every time. Cheers ~Jules

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    • I’m so glad you could relate to my experience of life. I am fully recovered, and the kids are all well, thanks. I’m glad to drop by your site, although I don’t always have time to comment. I love having haibun and poetry friends. 🙂 Peace and Joy, Brenda

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  7. There were two thoughts here I absolutely loved – first the idea of butterfly moments and second the idea that the daily grind is “grist for a deeper calling”. Such a great way to see pieces of the ordinary in a somewhat less routine way.

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      • From how you write – and what you write above (ie: much of the beauty/wonder found in everyday and nature) I think you are well on your way to giving your kids that.

        I find my kids are pretty good at reminding me about it too 🙂

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  8. Forgot.
    This September I´m going to start an online class on Edex University called “The Art of Poetry” So watch out ! Here I come……gonna do a battle of Haiku´s with you. I´m going to be a 31 year old student, yet again studying, actually I´m looking forward to be a student again.

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    • aloha Rick, thanks for visiting. After being sick, I had so many nonproductive days in there, I was trying to put that into perspective for myself. We can’t shine everyday. I loved your photo from last week. I was sad to not feel well enough to write something for it. I had a plan and a draft, but no words. It was a hollowing out, nasty bug I had. Anyway, great art! Warmly, Brenda

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      • yeah. being sick is not fun. and it sometimes difficult to get back on track in or after the recovery process. just become well. that’s a good first step (imo).

        thank you on the image. no worries about writing to it. when it moves you at some other time you can always clatter away on the keyboard then.

        i’m glad you are back into wording again. stay well and enjoy the on-path to spring. aloha.

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        • So many good stories. I had a plan to write about my grandpa Fred, and you are right. Perhaps I will, one day. 🙂 Life is beautiful is my motto today. 🙂 aloha

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  9. That photo is beautiful! I just love the way you write. I know what you mean about “butterfly” moments and squeezing in some writing…I am sorry I did not keep any of my journals when the children were very young but I do know it kept me sane to write…and children’s stories, just creating…you do it so beautifully, Brenda. I love your writing, your photos and especially your poetry.

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  10. wow girl I have never seen that flower ever. Not that I am a pro or anything but they almost look like the Oklahoma wedding bell flower which droops down like these. What a beautiful sight. You know what I find comfort in routine things. I have a job where I do the same thing pretty much all the time. Yes it changes from story line to story line but for the most part I know what I am doing everyday and with life sometimes isn’t that comforting? I worked with a man that did the same job for 42 years, you could always count on him to be there, be stable and constant and I came to rely on that/him. I loved knowing he would be there doing the same thing the same comfort zone which offered peace to my life. All else could be going nuts but that man was constant. I’ve had two mentors and he is one of them. You are someone comfort Brenda and I think that says so many wonderful things about you as a person! People count on you and that’s so cool to me. I’m headed to bed but wanted to see what was up with super mom! 🙂 😀 Hugs to you sweet Brenda!

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    • My kids count on me. I do the same things every day, and we have fun, too. I do find comfort in my routine, but I also like to use it as a platform to imagine, as a lens to see the bigger picture through. I like change, too, though. I started blogging last year, and also teaching my class. Those are still fairly new to me, but now wonderful parts of my routine. 🙂 Nice that people count on me, do you mean blogging friends? I love my blogging friends. Warmly, Brenda

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      • Oh I mean everyone! I know that a lot of people count on me. Just the big scope of life. It’s funny how if we are not in our place in life some people notice and will ask where were you or are you ok. Things like that! I just didn’t realize what spot I held in some people’s lives until I started to change and move in a different direction. Sometimes they like you to always stay the same and I of course always change. Except for work and family immediate I mean. As far as family as a whole I have stepped out of my role as fixer, and main communicator for all. I no longer feel it is my responsibility to make sure everyone is together. That was a huge burden put on me and I accepted because when my Pa passed it fell on me the oldest. So now I am better. I was really talking in general. I love that you teach a class what class do you teach and I think that is so cool to know about you! Are you a professor?

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        • I’m actually a lawyer, inactive, and have always been writing, one form or another. I started teaching writing at the local Senior Center a year ago, and I love it!! Everybody has stories to tell. I’m going to my first writer’s conference next month, and I’m very excited. My novel was accepted for a manuscript critique. No idea what that will be like, but good, I hope!! Fingers crossed!

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    • Life intervenes sometimes, but I find myself happier and more stable writing some each week. I never seem to manage daily. Perhaps one day, when the kids are grown, I will get there, too. Thanks for commenting! Brenda

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  11. I love your poems Brenda, and I adore snowdrops! They are so cute and they make me smile! In Norway we have so many stories and legends about them and their quiet gentle strength!

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    • Thanks, Line. I would love to hear stories about snowdrops. 🙂 They are so beautiful and hardy. They are waiting for the bees. Patient, heads bowed. I must come visit you soon, but I’m too tired now. Maybe after my class tomorrow. Hugs, Brenda

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