A Christmas Journey – Haibun – December 16, 2015

The bus left Arco’s cemetery’s parking lot at 6:00 a.m. destination, Innsbruck’s Christmas Market!

The sun climbed over the mountains revealing the small towns nestled along the road, how beautiful they are but oh, how isolated. There’s usually snow for tourists to enjoy but this year machines whiten the slopes with artificial snow to accommodate skiers.

The first sight of Innsbruck is breath-taking nestled in its valley where the Inn flows impetuously. The sun shone brilliantly. Our bus parked just outside the Hofgarten with instructions to be back by 4:00 p.m.

The Market wasn’t open when we arrived … the kiosks tightly closed looked like a lot of light laced abandoned huts, but by 11:00 they did open and people began to flow into the streets from all around the world.

The hubbub of different languages bounced in the streets mixed with children’s laughter, parental scolding and Christmas music. Wonderful smells charged the air, as food vendors began to ply their wares .. fried potato rings on sticks, sauerkraut and sausages, mulled wine, roasting chestnuts and pastry lured hungry visitors this way and that.

The sun began to dip under the mountains, surprisingly,  it was nearly 4:00 and the evening chill seeped into our limbs. It had been a great day, but we were happy to be back on our warm bus, homeward bound.

bright wintry spirit
this merry-go-round of joy
celebrating life

© G.s.k. ‘15

Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille December 16th 2015 “narrow road”

“I love to challenge you to write a haibun about a short trip, journey, you made. try to imagine how that trip was, remember the scenes and landscapes you saw and so on … Of course it has to be a challenge 🙂  so there are a few rules:

1. your haibun has a maximum of 250 words (including the haiku)
2. the haibun’s time is around Christmas (if possible)
3. try to “paint” the scenes which you saw”

The Narrow Road (9) – Haiku and Tanka -December 15, 2015

Starlings over the Inn, Austria

pastel colours
first sunset flight of starlings
mountains block the sun

the Inn’s rapid flow
where does it start – where its end …
smell the frosted air
mixed with mulled wine and chestnuts
as the river flows on by

these cherry blossom blooms
in the autumn cold

my ancestor’s home
wandering the streets
perhaps where my ancients walked
many Christmases ago

© G.s.k. ‘15

My mind remains in Innsbruck – a part of my family came from the Austro-Hungarian empire – immigrating to the United States in the late 1800s.  A part of the family originated most likely in Budapest, we know because of my Grandparents last name, but most likely they expanded all over Austria.  Walking in Austria caused me to speculate … and my mind wanders – seeking memories I don’t actually own but for these impressions of one day walking through this splendid part of Innsbruck, the old city.

Carpe Diem #879 On our way to Mogamigawa: summer rains, admirable

I climbed Mount Gassan on the eighth. I tied around my neck a sacred rope made of white paper and covered my head with a hood made of bleached cotton, and set off with my guide on a long march of eight miles to the top of the mountain. I walked through mists and clouds, breathing the thin air of high altitudes and stepping on slippery ice and snow, till at last through a gateway of clouds, as it seemed, to the very paths of the sun and moon, I reached the summit, completely out of breath and nearly frozen to death. Presently the sun went down and the moon rose glistening in the sky. I spread some leaves on the ground and went to sleep, resting my head on pliant bamboo branches. When, on the following morning, the sun rose again and dispersed the clouds, I went down towards Mount Yudono.

snow gives its scent to
the south valley

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Fairy Tales and Giant’s Alley – Innsbruck – December 14, 2015

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At the Christmas Market in Innsbruck, children of course are not forgotten!  All throughout the alleys of the Old Town there are 28 life-size sculptures of fairy tale and legendary heroes and 4 giants who guard the street corners and light installations light up the evening.  In the evening from 4:30 until 5:30 a fairy tale Theatre Wagon stops in town with a daily performance of one of the many Brother Grimm’s tales.