Snowball Battles Haībun


Words held back are like snowballs unthrown. Turned around, patted, added to, growing in size and coldness until, blam! Released, they slam into the target.

pile of snowballs waits
giggling from behind the fort
duck, one is coming

After getting nailed by a young son, my laughter starts while I form my own snowball and launch a counterattack. Usually my son is running for cover, dodging and weaving.

both combatants
howling with laughter
ducking and throwing

In snowball fights, people have their weak points, and the battle is over once someone gets snow in their eyes or down their neck. Or someone breaks a window. Yes, tempers can flare, even in a snowball fight, and things can get out of hand. Any kind of battle can wound.

When people start flinging words, sometimes a stray comment lodges in the memory, suppurating and infecting until the thorn is drawn.

My dad always liked to tease. One of his favorite ways to deal with complaints was to make a fist, thumb up, then circle his thumb on the closed index finger. “Do you know what this is?” he would ask. The first time, I said “No.”

“It’s the tiniest record player in the world, playing: My Heart Bleeds for You.” And then he would laugh. I still smile at the memory. He had an infectious laugh. For a long time, though, the memory of that tiny record player and my father’s laugh did sting. Looking back, I realize he was teaching me to solve my own problems. I learned not to bring him my problems. By and large, that was good training for life.

I have learned to draw the thorns from my memory. Raising my own kids has helped me understand my parents. Leaving in the thorns is like leaving the ice down your neck after a snowball fight. Uncomfortable in the extreme.

pulling out old thorns
bitter thoughts wedged in deeply
best with compassion

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Inspired by the Friday Haībun prompt by Ese and Ye Pirate. This week, they used two of my photographs as prompts. I chose the one above, entitled: The Arsenal.