Ox weeks

This weekend we worked in the garden burning the branches that had been building over the past few years. A rare sunshine glanced through the trees and a scent of smoke stuck to my clothes and my hair. A neighbor passed and asked us if we believed it was spring, and I realized that I had almost felt happy. Today I started working again, and of course it was hangover cloudy again, and the sun had settled below the horizon at three. January is the longest of months, slow and dreary as the oxen pulling the plow, but it ends with my birthday.

silence of crows
reminds me of winter —
a layer of ice

Plowing with oxen Nova Scotia, Canada, 1881

Kim asks us to write a haibun from the Perspective of January at dVerse…. after the weekends, we settle into workdays with wallets much thinner… in darkness and dread.

January 7, 2018

23 responses to “Ox weeks

  1. Happy early birthday, in case I miss it. Your description is very effective. I had not noticed that crows are silent in winter (but then I am not outdoors much).

  2. i was amused how the word spring had a positive effect on you , for a moment there, how lovely to have a birthday at the end of a long month, many happy returns!

  3. That is such a great name, ‘ox weeks’. I enjoyed the activity and cheerfulness in your haibun, Björn, and could smell the bonfire smoke – I love that smell. What a shame you had to go back to work. I had a magpie and you have silent crows.

  4. January is indeed a long month. It is only 31 days but sometimes those days seem like sixty. Is it spring? Not by a long shot but I like how the question gave you a mental lift. Happy Birthday in case I miss it!

  5. I think I could have cried when I read “and I realized that I had almost felt happy” because I’ve felt that myself this month. I think you’ve captured January perfectly in this, and you’ve used such a brilliant metaphor at the end “slow and dreary as the oxen pulling the plow”.

  6. Your birthday falls at a good time for you as it announces the end of long dreary month of January. I also like the part where you were working in the yard and got yourself into a spring frame of mind.

  7. I like the way you paint such a vivid picture of movement during the time when nature is inactive and the sunlight weak.

  8. Lovely haibun, brother. I too liked the killer haiku, the chapped lips, the sense of false Spring, ant feeling of January moving sloth-like. Birthday just before Valentine’s–what a rush.

  9. Slow and dreary here too Bjorn! I try to be happy and can imagine soon it is spring. But it ends up on a good and happy note with your birthday, smiles.

  10. The sun below the horizon at 3! You’ve convinced me to stop complaining about it growing dark by 5 p.m. in my world!

  11. A great comparison of a dreary, lengthy month to the oxen pulling the plow. I’m so glad I’m not the only one that feels this way about January.

  12. I can smell the smoke. Hmmm… it’s almost as if keeping busy helps the time pass better and idle hands lead to suffering. Lovely haiku too.

    Our shortest day ends at 4:30pm. I can’t imagine the sun leaving at 3! Hang in there, man.

  13. A sunny day is such a wonder in clouded-over winter realms, when all is dark and dreary without end, and the rush of…hope? activity? Vitamin D? I love “hangover cloudy.” Around the Pacific Northwest, I think of winter skies as quilt-batting heavy, like being interminably stuck under grey blankets.

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