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Hello everyone!  Welcome to Haibun Monday.  I hope you all are well and enjoying early Summer weather. In my neck of the woods, it is more like April – cold, rainy, more rain. But next Monday in the US is Memorial Day and is the official kickoff to Summer.  Many have their summer vacations planned. Spontaneous day trips on weekends will be taken, festivals attended, farmers markets enjoyed.  The mood seems to lighten – picnics, cook outs (barbecues), sports events, enjoying the sun and warmth…even clothing is lighter and more colorful. Shoes and boots morph into sandals and flipflops. 

Rest, relaxation, recycle, refresh, regroup.  Many of us get so busy doing these things, we forget to r-e-l-a-x.  In one of my favorite movies, The Last Samurai, the main protagonist of the movie is being taught the Japanese form of fencing.  He keeps getting beaten in the spars, can’t get it together.  The son of the leader of this group of Samurai tells him and not being proficient with English and unable to verbalize, you are thinking too much. You aren’t concentrated, you are being distracted.  Instead he says, too many mind….no mind.

When you try to relax, do you have too many mind?  What do you do to relax?  Do you really relax or while walking on the beach or biking a scenic trail, are the thoughts of work, soccer schedules, grocery lists, drafts of poems crowding in? Or, do you truly rest and relax?

What do you do to relax? What do you do to clear the stress out?  Do you do different forms of meditation?  Tai chi? Swim laps, crochet, do crossword, jigsaw, or rebus puzzles?  Run several miles, read, write, listen to music, play an instrument?  Travel to another city and visit a museum and indulge in a luxurious meal?  Camp out under the stars, take photographs?  Garden, cook, play wiith your kids, sit on your balcony in the early morning and read the paper while drinking several cups of coffee? Retreat to the mountains in winter and totally unplug?

I like to clear out my mind practicing boketto, a hard to translate Japanese concept.  Basically, one stares at the horizon and thinks of…nothing.  Blank, empty mind – no mind. I also like to take walks in the woods what the Japanese call shinrin yoku – literally tree bathing. Many believe it has actual health benefits.  I use it as a focused meditation focusing on the smells of the trees, the sound of leaves rustling, songs of various birds.  Again, empty mind. But that is just me.

Again, what do you do to truly rest and relax?  Write a one to two paragraph compact haibun describing your activity – how you enjoy it, how it soothes, refreshes you, the sights, sounds, smells of it.  Relax!  Take us with you.  Use the haiku at the end to lull us, gently set us in nature and share your rest with us. You may give us some new ideas!

If new to dVerse, please do the following:
– write a haibun related to the prompt and post it to your blog.
– click on Mr. Linky below to add your name and enter the direct URL to your poem.
– You will find links to other poems and poets. Please read and comment on other poets’work. The prompt link is good for a week. Some poets will post later in the week so please check back to read.
– Provide a link on your blog back to dVerse.
– if you are promoting your poem on social media, use the tag #dverse poets
– Relax! Have fun.

Toni Spencer (hayesspencer, Kanzen Sakura) has a deep love and respect for the Japanese culture and classic Japanese poetic forms. She strives constantly to improve and perfect her writing.