Twelve years and a month or so ago, I challenged myself to write a haiku every single day, every morning like a ritual. I thought, if I’m honest, it’d last a month or two, that I could keep it up maybe to the 100 mark. Maybe. 100 came, then 200, then the year mark and I couldn’t quite believe I was still writing them. One year to two, two to five, five to a decade, all without missing a single day, and oddly I was no longer surprised that I was still writing them. They became part of me, and along the way I added in a daily Typewriter Series poem as well. That series spanned over 3000 poems before I finally decided to let them rest. The haiku, those funny 17 syllables wrapped up in a poem, never stopped. Today, 4,436 days later, 75,412 syllables later, I wonder about these words. I wonder who I was when I started them, I wonder if they’ll ever run out. I wonder, mostly, who I will be when they do.
I look at the photo above, snapped by Sarah on our honeymoon, and I see so many changes from who I was when I began this haiku journey. I see more wrinkles, I see myself more tired, especially in this photo after a wedding week with the whole family in Scotland, I see, above all, more joy. I have smile lines, deep ones from how often I smile, laugh, and I blame those all on my wife. I have so much more ink in so many more places, memories made permanent, every tattoo a story. I have more lines on my forehead, a brow that’s been furrowed with passion, for I am Scottish, and I am Irish after all. Passion manifests itself in many ways, sometimes humor, sometimes anger, sometimes fierce protection for those I love.
I’ve seen a lot of the world, I’ve seen a lot of the United States, and to be truthful, I don’t feel at home here very often anymore. I have learned a lot about who I am, what I need, what I long for and love, and I’m coming to a peace with those lessons. I have learned what I have patience for, what I am not willing to compromise on. I have learned from what I’ve seen, where I stand on so many issues, and which of them I’m willing to stand up for. I’ve written of love in a million shades, I’ve written of longing, of loss, of happiness, and so much of sorrow. I’ve written of light, but more, I’ve written of the darkness — that inside me, that inside this world, the metaphorical, the literal that I prefer to the sunshine and squint — and I have written of her. My her.
Truth is, most all these wild words have been about her, and it’s too little to call her muse. Sometimes, a muse becomes more than that, sometimes a single thing can ignite a life. I write of her, because she was the spark that started every fire I’ve ever warmed myself by. Funny thing is, as we grow into love, some of that beginning-butterfly-nervous-stomach-fluttery-brain transforms into something else. We smooth out into routines, into comfort and familiarity, and for some maybe this is the death blow to their connection. For us, it’s been the opposite, it’s been this growing into love that has made everything more. The words now are more about this, and I imagine they will be, the wild adventure through not just falling in love, but staying in it.
A ramble this was, I know this, but I’m introspective about how much we change in 12 years. We become something new, but I don’t believe we lose what we were. Life is like clay, we add more as we go, we reshape it along the way, but we never lose the mud and earth beneath the new. We are formed by all the bits we’ve added along the way, all the shapes we’ve molded and held in our warm hands. The question I keep asking is, what will that shape be in 12 more years? What in 20? When I come to the end, how many syllables will have been written, how many days will a haiku have fallen out?
We’ll see, I suppose. For now, 17 more syllables to read below. 17 out of so very many. Thanks for sticking around.
Wonder at the words,
wonder when they will run out,
wonder who I’ll be.
Song of the Week
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