What Are You Up To?

The sun’s rays filter through a stand of spruce where twenty horses are hitched. As we unpack them, Dave, a lanky outfitter, and I chat about the grizzly we spotted earlier in the day and how the horses are holding up.

men’s talk –
the smell of
sweat and manure

Dave asks, “Ray, what are you up to these days?”

I’m embarrassed to say that I receive a monthly check without having to work, that I no longer wake up by an alarm clock, that I feel guilty about those who have to rush breakfast and fight traffic, that I view my avocations as luxuries in a world stressed by war and poverty.

Finally, I say: “Well, I write a bit and do some photography.”

Dave replies, “Oh, do you sell your photographs?”

 “Some, but not enough to pay for the camera.”

So there it is. I can’t simply sit on the back stoop and admire the lawn growing, the shadows lengthening.

“Well,” Dave grunts as he hefts a 60-pound load off the horse, “must be nice to have time to pursue your interests.”

How many times have I heard that I now have time to be the writer I always wanted to be, to travel as much as I want?

In younger times I was a jock, a professional, a dad, a leader and a teacher. Now I’m a retiree, a senior, a grey beard, all of which carry undertones of geezer, hints of useless.

The horses don’t like being corralled, and I don’t either. When we release them, they race out into the meadow, roll in the black loam, shake and begin to graze.

I wish this rawness I feel could as easily be shaken off.

monkshood bloom –
the whine of mosquitoes
seems diminished

Note: Haiku first published in Modern Haiku. Haibun with haiku later published in Lynx Haiku Journal.

2 thoughts on “What Are You Up To?

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