welcome to the haikutimes

Issue #116, Wetterhorn Basin, Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado, August 4-9, 2005. A backpacking group kukai featuring haiku by Jonathan Machen, David Teitler, Nicholas Brown, Eric Vanzura and Cass Adams. Photographs and drawings by Jonathan except where noted. Additional haiku at the end of this issue by Robert Power, writing from the Wemenuche Wilderness.

While Jonathan was away traipsing around the mountains, the haiku group back in boulder roamed the neighborhood for the annual night ku..

from left to right: Eric Vanzura, Cass Adams, Nicholas Brown, Jonathan Machen, David Teitler

the good thing about
being miserable in the rain
is that flowers grow

thunder above
five friends from college below
the storm approaches

lupine and fireweed
prostrate in summer hailstorm
red cliffs laced with white

brown river
red-throated hummingbird
deep blue larkspur

i hear rocks falling
in rain-soaked
san juan mountains

fording raging streams
so docile just minutes ago
summer thunderstorm

light rain-drop patter
in a tent in the high country
alone but with friends
leaving behind the structure
and reality of the city
where when it rains
you notice it in a different way
distracted with
books, computers and telephones,
schedules and calendars,
obligations and concerns,
rain seems not to matter-
here, the rain drips from the fly
with a heartfelt urgency
i will hide in this tiny space
but not get wet, thinking
of the bighorn sheep who stay year round,
of the four other men
i've ventured up here with,
of my wife and friends.

pedicularius bog
swamp loving elephant plant
pink blossoms, moist roots

Pedicularis groenlandica, Elephant's head

named after rooster
looming cliffs remind us of
the stately coxcomb

by a sea of paintbrush
tie-die hues of white and red

Castilleja rhexifolia, Splitleaf paintbrush

at eleven thousand feet
hanging on paintbrush

inflamed with nature
yellow indian paintbrush
brighter than the sky

Castillija sulphurea, Western Yellow Paintbrush

the way it is
make hay while the sun shines
sit on a precipice in sun
reduce life
to the simple experience
of rocks, sky
and a friend playing harmonica
everything else is hide-and-seek
with mind games
the dark clouds roll
behind, spreading
their moisture.
from a particular vantage point
everything else is relative
sit in sun, enjoy it
while the rain falls somewhere else

sharing city woes
with the enlightened picas
we question; they chirp

afraid of fainting
he will only kick the hack
will not stoop to pick

high-headed high time
hackey sackey foot move
the rain time cometh

negating common sense
five old friends ply higher
hoping for the edge

old friends
bringing old memories
around the camp fire

where only goats go
hanging out on a scree slope
with flowers and friends

perching on a rock
sitting with a friend in peace
the rain falls gently

scattered like seeds
across the mountain expanse
brilliant like colored dots

thunder echoes off of
high peaks
and that is the only news
we hear of today;
clouds bringing moisture
to this wide-open valley
but in my dreams -
early morning of August 6,
the same morning that
hiroshima burst into a ball of flame,
i dream of nuclear explosions
on the horizon -
three distinct orange mushroom clouds
so far away
they blossom in silence;
a vast ring of smoke
in yellow haze.
i wake my dream companion
crying for all unborn life.
i have no way of knowing, out here,
if i am reliving the karmic nightmare
of the japanese Hibakusha,
or sensing the unholy reality
of an exacerbated conflict.

Phacela sericea, Silky Phacelia

rocky mountain buzz
emanates from the scree slope
as i skip downward

the sky my computer
the basin my website
i can't stop logging

staggering proportions
equal parts paintbrush and bistort
cascade towards me

thirteen thousand two
throwing rocks off precipice
men will still be boys

we men in our forties
five of us, with a historical web
of connections, adventures
in summer and winter,
in urban and wilderness surroundings,
through ups and downs of relationships,
now stir a new pot of stew
here in the basin of wetterhorn
(so true to it's name - wetter than ever)
exploring the new presence
of ourselves, without our mates -
yet the conversation shifts
to experiences with
significant others,
not the struggles
to simply have a significant other.

nicholas, still 112 lbs
black goatee with a few sparkles
of grey jutting
under eyes wrinkled
from constant exposure
to mountain and desert locales
mourns the loss of his red hat
but just as magnificently spots it
with binoculars, five hours later
from a rocky ledge, retrieving it with joy.
at 43 he is camping and floating
and road-tripping throughout the west
soon to return to his beloved
when his penchant for wandering,
seeing friends and landscapes
slumbers for the fall.

eric, 44 and father of two,
lives in boulder and maui
master of many professions
like engineering and medicine;
carries a sixty-five pound pack with ease
full of extravagant backpacking goodies
as he does his multiple careers,
now celebrating
the chance influence
of old friends and wilderness,
setting his sights
on ridges and precipices.

cass, 44
hungry for companionship
yet blessed with a beautiful daughter
drives six hours from taos
to meet his college buddies,
wears a streak of blue in his hair
muses over the subtle
way humans communicate
and the ways of co-workers
who can be so brutal;
seeks solace in new mexico
with like-minded spiritual avatars -
and he, among the few
with a wilderness quotation
on the back of a box
of morning thunder tea.

david, Dr. Dave,
very soon to be 42,
acupuncturist from carbondale
might have stepped off a viking ship
lifetimes ago
with tales of lands vast and beautiful
regal in flowing red, curly hair
statuesque and bony
with even stride
he knows the mountains of colorado
like the back of his hand;
he, the asian traveler,
adopter of a vietnamese boy,
with his wife has
mapped every contour
of these gentle green
glaciated valleys,
rejoicing to visit
yet again.

jonathan, the youngest at 41,
purveyor of pictures,
deacon of documentation,
sets forth his vision of the world
in one haikutimes issue after another,
a visual and poetic response
to the shifting climate
of human nature and perception
that we each carry within us,
anxious of his role
of father-to-be.
saddened by the corruption
of politicians and government,
seeking to make right
his own very small role
in a mobile home community,
he puts to rest any such concerns
as soon as he straps his backpack on.

rocks act very light
a few moments in our time
suddenly plunge forth

stupid socks, stupid hair
dirty grungy underwear
spongy lichen in my hair
everybody beware

evening light dissolves
with bird chirps and full bellies
the peaks turn red

hot potato haiku
passing lines amongst ourselves
its a group kukai

Pestemon ellipticus, Rocky Ledge Penstemon

low boot in danger
warming footwear by fire
after wet walking

though still on the trail
feeling lost in the wilderness
without inner guide

Penstemon whippleanus, Whippe's Penstemon

they say i've gained weight:
paiges home cookin' and beer -
how lucky i am

wetterhorn frolic
in a basin for five days
exploring ridges

Hymenoxys grandiflora, Alpine Sunflower

napping in the rain
awakened by nicholas
and his wooden flute

the fear mongers
could not live here
in truth and silence

lost in the violence
insane ideology
destabilized world

4:20 am
rain fly
magnifies the rain

Aquilegia coerulea, Colorado Columbine

pitter patter rain
becomes bigger badder hail
then still silence reigns

morning light brings clouds, rain
jagged peaks poke through briefly
until next moment

green beauty mountains
surround with deep embrace
i become one here

i dream goinka
no specific details known
just exist within

delicious rain drops
fall on my tent and my dreams
as i doze off

five hours by the fire
drying shoes and socks dashed by
one slip in the stream

harmonica wail
the elk have all disappeared
only we remain

continental rise
grey faced mountains push upwards
into heavy clouds

hearing cass
being himself
through the harmonica

shroom coach points out
magnificent spire in fog
looming above all

Coprinus Comatus, Shaggy Ink Cap

the day of lost hat
waiting patiently by log
spotted by binocs

cass of the blue hair
boston red sox through and through
charmin does the trick

Coprinus Comatus, Shaggy Ink Cap

dave calls home
wherever he is
out here in the woods

silverton, ouray
telluride in the distance
lunching on the ridge

sweep of the san juans
from ridge top august vista
dark clouds build above

anterior taler fibular ligament
stretched again despite my hopes
for a pain-free trip

southern clouds shine down
the repetitive chaos
cliffs below my feet

cast in shadows
wetterhorn looms
dark like snape

wetterhorn's visage
looming in darkening skies
reminds me of snape

dave fixated
on harry potter
below spiny peak

florescent lichen
spotting the pink granite green
moist, boggy basin

as the marsh recedes
elephant head also fades
blossoms wilting

great elk migration
summer peaks to winter plains
natural rhythm

calm reflecting pool
mirrors jagged wetterhorn
and gentle sedges

giant boulders strewn
from the base of a fourteener
resting in silence

fast descent
from wetterhorn scree
steep sandy brown wash

on thistles
trail to wetterhorn

guy using cell phone
at the top of wetterhorn
wilderness dissolves

mountains - eroding
we humans contributing
by running gully

cass saw a weasel
and found some funny shaped rocks
on solo evening

acutely aware
that deer, holding rack alert
as humans descend

more than i can count
through paiges binoculars
elk grazing in peace

Delphinium nelsoni, Larkspur

a family of elk
hears us and in a moment
masses to the ridge

heading for safety
mother elks, fathers and calves
they do not like us

from a great distance
the herd senses our presence
quickly moves away

fearing intruders
elk gather en masse
discuss what to do

transit trail goes up
elk on the other side
breathing hard feels good

haiku paper used
in failed attempt to start fire
on rainy ridge-top

in civil twilight
at eleven-thousand five
mountains frame the sky

spiky phaecelia
and purple-red penstemon
indian paintbrush

alpine sunflower
yellow cinquefoil and rose crown
rare arctic gentian

verdant scenery
long hike amongst good friends
do we miss our wives?

Polemonium viscosum, Sky Pilot

harmonica wail
affects old friends differently
mountain melody

composing haiku
on purple thermal lounger
jonathan ponders

savoring shiatake
under magnificent mountains
after eight hour hike

Sedum rhodanthum, Rosecrown

chocolate mellymac
imported from hawaii
munched in the mountains

Aconitum columbianum, Monkshood

don't have to look too far
see remarkable beauty
with every foot step

mountain stream flows bright
mountain marmots and ravens
keep well out of sight

mystical garden
with ever so much rainfall
forest comes alive

the following haiku
are by Robert Power -
Weminuche Wilderness August 05

hummingbird buzzes
my ear, automatic fear -
brace, turn and see it

an avalanche fell
uprooting a lot of trees
and blocking the trail

just one gust of wind -
fine red dirt blankets everything
inside my tent

quick plunge into creek
icy water sucks up
sunburn ache

thunder overhead
go right - the ridge, left descend
why choose 'wisely'

i see no - one all day
until I stand naked in the stream
they don't even say hi

swatting mosquitoes
plenty to keep me occupied -
manual repellant

Gentiana algida, Arctic Gentian

fourth day out - move slow
peacefulness settling in
why hurry

naptime - drifting to sleep
the swaying shadows of trees
keep time to my breath

awakened from the nap
voices - one, three, ten, aye fifteen
people, oh my god

dive bombing and swarming
in the morning sunlit air
the flying insects

Lupinus argenteus depressus, Silvery Lupine

the flowing creek -
a constant noise like city cars
but much more soothing

forms the morning clouds
so rain can fall again

the power of falling snow
as an avalanche

who is startled more
the family of grouse
or me

cold rain or cold creek
either way I get wet.
off go the clothes

i begin backpacking,
thunder. Five days later
i walk out, thunder

summer haiku photo - picture
by Johanna Heinemann (below)

solo/group kukai
jonathan machen