Canada’s seat of government is in Ottawa where the parliament buildings are an iconic sight. Two distinctive features are the Peace Tower, with carillon bells that chime the hours, and the round dome of the Parliamentary Library. The Ottawa River flowing below was once a major timber trade route.
I recently wrote about my memories of the Rideau Canal. Then, when Ronovan’s weekly haiku prompt included the word ‘river’, my mind went to the main river of my life: the Ottawa River. My first 18 years were in Ottawa, minutes away from the river. I remember digging up clay from its banks, cycling beside it, and many visits to an old boat club house. My father was drawn to water, having served in the merchant navy. So he enjoyed boating and took his family out for many rides. There the romance dwindles. In those days there was an active paper mill. Log rafts and loose logs bobbed in the water—and a strong unpleasant industrial smell prevailed.
This week I attempted a tanka instead of a haiku for Ronovan’s Challenge #112. The prompt words are ‘river’ and ‘stone’. Syllable counts for a tanka are: 5-7-5-7-7.
I spotted these flowering Mullein tips this morning. From a distance they look like a splash of gold. It has felt like a second spring around here lately. Sprouts of green grass are emerging from the brown carpet, small flowers are blooming where growth had halted in the dry heat, and seeds I recently planted are sending up shoots. Just a few rains have helped, and my personal theory is that cooler nights releasing moisture from the hot daytime air make a big difference for plants. Our mornings are very dewy.
I’m linking toTJ’s Household Haiku: Gold. TJ Paris, host of this weekly event, provides an open-ended haiku prompt including a word and photo. This week’s photo is a beautiful golden canola field in Australia. Everyone is welcome to join in.
TJ Paris is also founder and facilitator of the new Haiku Hub, a community of bloggers who enjoy writing and reading haiku.
My memories of the Rideau Canal: boat trips through locks with my father, skating in winter, and cycling in summer. The canal is a 202 km waterway, consisting of rivers and lakes connected by man made canals and locks. It extends from my childhood home, Ottawa on the Ottawa River (Canada), to Kingston on Lake Ontario—I live 20 minutes away from Kingston today.
If you are unfamiliar with how locks work you might want to check out this Rideau Canal info, including an animated illustration.
Not only is the Rideau Canal part of my roots, it is recognized as a Canadian Heritage River and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It opened in 1832 and has been running ever since, making it the oldest continuously operating canal system in North America.
My haiku memories of the Rideau Canal were inspired by Ritu of But I Smile Anyway, host of the first Haiku Hub Floating Challenge: ‘Heritage’. Everyone is invited to participate. Please find out how to join in at her site linked above.
As the heat soared and air conditioners chugged, I gained a whole new appreciation for drying racks. Never mind that the plastic joints snapped exhibiting their shoddy quality, they line up and support each other with the help of some garden wire. In summer heat towels are bone dry in a matter of hours. No need for a dryer—gotta like that.
Sometimes life wheels grind and strain my tenacity,
Lost in clouds my troubled mind grasps for sanity.
Are my heartfelt words enough or excess chatter?
Even minor rebuff shakes my strained sanity.
I trundle on, an inner GPS is my guide
sending me back along a path to sanity.
Enjoy moments, release selfish concerns, allow
it all to float away–then I’ll find sanity.
No formula cures a restless spirit more than
love, giving love, our foundation, our sanity.
∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼
The ghazal is an ancient form of Arabic poetry originating in the 7th or 8th century. Centuries later, English writers experimented with the form using free verse and recently, favoring uniform measures and use of rhyme. When Jane Dougherty invited us to write a ghazal this week I hesitated, but after stumbling on a fascinating article about the form I realized that I wanted to make an attempt.