Julia L F Goldstein

How Are You Changing the World?

Three Haikus for a Winter Morning

Feb 03, 2017 by Julia L F Goldstein

Yesterday, February 2, was Groundhog Day. Apparently, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter. It certainly looks and feels like winter here in the Seattle area. In Pennsylvania, however, where he lives, Phil’s prediction may not come true.

According to the National Weather Service, the next three months are supposed to be colder than normal in the northwestern part of the U.S. from Washington to Minnesota. But the entire East Coast and the South are expecting warmer than normal temperatures. These predictions are in line with data from January 2017. Some TV news program showed a map yesterday color-coded with national averages for the month that just ended. The Northwest was blue, 8 degrees below average, the Southeast was red, 8 degrees above, and the middle of the country was neutral, just about on par.

What significance do these data and forecasts hold regarding climate change? It’s impossible to tell from one snapshot. Overall, however, 2016 hit high temperature records in much of the world. This XKCD comic gives an impressive and frightening graphical representation of historical climate change over the last 20,000+ years. Some may argue that data from prehistoric times are questionable, but the message is clear. If this country does not keep its promises from the Paris Agreement, we are all in trouble.

Meanwhile, the local winter weather inspired me to create some haiku poems. They came into my head during my morning travels this week (two by car, one by foot), and I decided they were worth writing down and sharing. In case you don’t remember, a haiku is a three-line poem with specific syllable counts for each line: 5, 7, 5. For non-locals, 520 is a freeway that runs from Redmond to Seattle. Here are my haikus:

Olympic Mountains
dusted in powdered sugar
view from 520
In the cold, cars spew
steaming tailpipe emissions
but my Leaf makes none
Brisk wind chills my face
footsteps crunching in light snow
walking to Starbucks

I wish I had taken pictures to go with these, but I suppose a haiku should create an image for the reader without the need for a photo. Are you inspired to write a haiku? Post it in the comments.