SEEDS FROM A BIRCH TREE
Writing Haiku and the Spiritual Journey
By Clark Strand
Category: Adult Non-fiction (Craft)
I found a copy of SEEDS FROM A BIRCH TREE on the used book sale shelf of the Peacedale Public Library, where my kids and I passed a rainy August afternoon during our vacation on the Rhode Island coast. For fifty cents, it was mine, and our (wet) vacation took an unexpected and sunnier turn. The things I’d brought to read sat neglected as I communed instead with this little masterpiece. And wrote haiku.
(Me? Writing haiku? I know it sounds crazy, but …)
Strand’s thoughtful look at the form and his zen approach to creating it is perfect for the tentative beginner. He doesn’t talk about composing poems so much as experiencing nature in a purposeful and meaningful way and, if the words come, recording the experience in seventeen syllables.
(Hey! Even I can do that.)
And Strand frames reading haiku as a spiritual practice, an idea that completely resonated with me.
(Slowing down? Looking deeply? Honoring the spiritual? What better time for that than a vacation?)
SEEDS was as inspirational to me as any book I have ever read. I wasn’t looking for it. I didn’t expect it. But there it was. I’ve taken to carrying a notebook when I’m outside in the woods, an idea taken from Strand. Now I walk, and watch, and count syllables off on my fingers. It’s an addicting habit, a lovely practice, and I hope it stays with me.
pine trees cast their hopes to wind
© Loree Griffin Burns, all rights reserved
For a hefty dose of nonfiction, check out this week’s Nonfiction Monday roundup, over at Wrapped in Foil.