Iowa Haibun

Rural Iowa and fifteen acres of land. Three rusty metal cross-bars hold taut clothesline flapping white sheets and cotton diaper cloths. I stand on tip-toe, reaching high to pick low-hanging fruit. Branches sag with their weight. Nearby, the garden waits. Beet greens wilt, red-veined, atop vegetables grown too plump beneath the soil. Feathery dill goes to seed as crazed zucchini plants maze through cukes and pumpkin patch.

In the distance, I see dust rise before I hear the car. George is returning from city life to our quiet country home. A space to live simply on the land.

rolling hills of green
beribboned by dusty roads
corn silk dries in sun

It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Toni is tending bar and speaks to us about the Japanese tradition of foresting — simply walking through the woods, unplugged, relaxed, listening and smelling what is true. Our Haibun must be one or two tight paragraphs of prose (not fiction) followed by a haiku. She asks that we write about a time we simply enjoyed the out-of-doors or a natural place. She wants us to relax with our readers — offering a post of calm.

43 thoughts on “Iowa Haibun

  1. kanzensakura March 6, 2017 / 11:50 am

    Oh this is lovely. And I do believe we are going back to cotton diapers due to the stress on our teeming landfills. I so enjoy the photo of the corn. Along with your wonderful haiku it is perfect for your write. You have shared some of this time in your life in Iowa with us. This is indeed a perfect snapshot of your time in Iowa, “a space to live simply on the land”. I like this immersion into nature.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian March 6, 2017 / 12:06 pm

      Thank you, Toni. I always feel so so happy if I’ve written a haibun that gets your positive comments! πŸ™‚ We truly loved our time in Iowa….it was a quiet, lovely and simple time. I canned and froze produce — made my own catsup, applesauce; canned beets, stewed tomatoes, harvard and plain beets, green beans. Had a wonderful recipe for freezer sweet corn where we electric knifed the fresh young kernals off the cobs….froze many loaves of zucchini bread! And also put tinfoil in bottom of several glass pie pans, fixed up the sliced apples and loaded in for pies — stuck in freezer and then, when frozen, pulled out the pie shaped filling on tinfoil and froze in plastic bags….ready to pop back into pan and into oven. And how I loved the smell of sheets, just in from hanging on the line! πŸ™‚ Special special time! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • kanzensakura March 6, 2017 / 2:51 pm

        Yes. It was special. Sorry I have not replied to your question of cutting words in Haiku separating the two parts. It isn’t always a simple answer. But basically, you want a separation between contrasting ideas in the first line and the last. It is open separated with a small dash – an aspiration of breath in the Japanese and unwriteable. If you look at my haiku today you will see the difference in the first and last lines, separated by the short dash. Often if is a natural separation.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. BjΓΆrn Rudberg (brudberg) March 6, 2017 / 1:59 pm

    I love how you tied this to the land, and what it can give… we do need that simple life, and somehow there is something that we miss from not being close to soil

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 6, 2017 / 2:18 pm

      I agree! And living now, right smack dab in the city of Boston in a high rise, oh how I miss that garden, the clothesline, and the taste of the first tomato right off the vine! πŸ™‚

      Like

  3. Glenn Buttkus March 6, 2017 / 3:23 pm

    Living in a small town, most folks have gardens, a few still have chickens. We only raise tomatoes now–eight plants a year, feasting on fresh tomatoes all summer. Your piece is very slice-of-life. Not many of us spent extended time on farms. You make it sound wonderful.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian March 6, 2017 / 4:57 pm

      Well….we weren’t farming. We rented out a good amount of the land for a hay field to a farmer who also used our 100+ year old barn for storage. But – we were the only house – hence people, for miles and had a humongous garden. George was born and raised right in the heart of Chicago and bought a small ride-on John Deere that he used to mow our huge lawn, plow our garden and plow snow from our long country driveway. He was n seventh heaven on that thing!

      Like

  4. sarahsouthwest March 6, 2017 / 3:59 pm

    Oh oh oh. Little house on the prairie. I can feel the heat, and the weight of those beets. It just sounds so wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 6, 2017 / 4:59 pm

      We truly loved it there. I could go out on a hot summer day in my underwear to hang out sheets and only the farm cats were the wiser.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Misky March 6, 2017 / 4:02 pm

    I couldn’t convince my daughter in law to use cotton diapers. She insisted on disposable because she said it was easier. And, oh yes, air-dried bed linen is perfection. How long did you live on your farm?

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 6, 2017 / 5:06 pm

      We had three glorious years in this farmhouse (although we did not farm – see a comment reply above). We’d lived the three previous years in the rural town of Marengo — population 1,100 – no stop and go lights, a town square, and the county seat liquor store where you had to read the board to get the number of the bottle (wine, liquor etc), write it down on a piece of paper with your name and address and show your ID – the clerk then got the bottle for you from the shelves behind the counter! We were also the last town in the state, maybe the Midwest, maybe the US that only had 5 number telephone numbers so anyone calling from outside Marengo had to use the operator to call us — and we still had party lines. When I told my folks we were moving to the country and had bought our first home, they said “We thought you already lived in the country!” LOL

      Liked by 1 person

      • Misky March 6, 2017 / 6:09 pm

        What a marvellous adventure and such wonderful memories to share with your grandchildren. πŸ™‚

        Like

  6. kim881 March 6, 2017 / 4:56 pm

    Iowa sounds and looks like a wonderfully spacious place, Lillian. Farms here are small in comparison. I love the way you describe the washing on the clothesline – there’s nothing like the smell of freshly washed laundry drying on a line. The garden is so fertile and full of fruit and veg – heavenly! I That’s a great link in your haibun, between the beribboned hills and the corn silk. Such a contrast to Boston, I should imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 6, 2017 / 5:09 pm

      Huge contrast. When people ask me what I miss, I always say the first taste of a fresh picked tomato! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 7, 2017 / 9:19 am

      Thank you! So glad you enjoyed.

      Like

  7. Grace March 6, 2017 / 5:15 pm

    Love the quiet simplicity of the cottage home with all the vegetables providing for your needs ~ Also liking your haiku…beribboned by dusty roads and corn silk ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 7, 2017 / 9:21 am

      It truly was a special place. The house itself was moved when they built Interstate 80 across Iowa…picked up and plopped in the middle of cornfields. We though the cracks in walls gave it character…the first home we ever owned. Many happy days there….solitude by two and then our little ones.

      Like

  8. Bev March 6, 2017 / 5:28 pm

    So reminiscent of my childhood years on a farm in middle Illinois, living the simple life. I have fond memories. You took us all to Iowa and a simpler time. Well done! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 7, 2017 / 9:22 am

      We absolutely treasure the memories of these special times and place.

      Like

  9. Victoria C. Slotto March 6, 2017 / 7:01 pm

    One fond memory I have is a visit to my father’s (I never knew him, he was KIA) family in Iowa. I was about 4, have photos of me shucking fresh-picked corn, taking a bath in an old tin tub on the back porch and visiting the Little Brown Church in the Dale. Delightful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 7, 2017 / 9:22 am

      Always happy to trigger fond memories πŸ™‚

      Like

  10. lynn__ March 6, 2017 / 10:22 pm

    Oh, Lillian, I LOVE this Iowa haibun!! You’ve captured the beauty of our rural lifestyle…and included a fabulous photo of corn. I wish I had written this…but so glad YOU did!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 7, 2017 / 9:24 am

      Smiling I am, this morning over my second cup! So glad you enjoyed….We loved living on the soil — Iowa is indeed the heartland and all of our travels and our move in ’97 to Boston have only proved this more so! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  11. welshstream March 7, 2017 / 5:06 am

    I like how you have taken the prompt and shown that it’s not just the forests where we can bathe in the positive aspects of the natural world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 7, 2017 / 9:24 am

      Oh my yes….I truly believe “foresting” can be done in many places πŸ™‚

      Like

  12. Sherry Blue Sky March 7, 2017 / 3:16 pm

    Such a lovely, restorative place to live. I was right there in the scene, feeling the warm sun, listening to the peace. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. whippetwisdom March 7, 2017 / 3:52 pm

    I love how your haibun bathes in the beauty of country life and the rich flavours of home-grown fruit and vegetables -they are the best πŸ’–

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 8, 2017 / 8:29 am

      Nothing like the first taste of that tomato right off the vine, eaten like an apple with the juice dripping from your wrist!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. rosemawrites March 7, 2017 / 10:44 pm

    You took us with you, Lill! This is a delight to the senses. I love this line a lot: “beribboned by dusty roads”.<3

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 8, 2017 / 8:31 am

      Always happy to take you for a ride … especially down Iowa country roads….did you see the cat tails in the ditch by the side of the road? They’re starting to burst now in the hot sun 😎

      Liked by 1 person

      • rosemawrites March 8, 2017 / 9:25 pm

        yaaaaaay! i didn’t notice that! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ thanks again, Lill!

        Like

  15. katiemiafrederick March 8, 2017 / 5:20 pm

    Farms sleep peacefully
    WiTh Nature ease..
    Cities wide
    awake
    wiTh
    eYes
    that never
    sleep as trees
    manmade all lit uP..
    oTheR than ThAT.. Hi
    Lillian.. FaRm KiNd now
    ForAGinG toGeTher
    even nicer
    all
    one
    VillAge
    oF HoMe..:)

    Like

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