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Contemporary Haibun Online: January 2015, vol 10 no 4

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Ian Felton

The Most Beautiful World in the World

It's June and I'm putting on my Dad's binoculars for the first time. He died in February, his unluckiest month, also the month I was born. I feel the hundred thousand times he lifted them to see what some flickering wings in a tree were, what was in that pond or floating out at sea.

One time, we were in Ohio, or Canada, I don't remember, but they are both mostly flat as I recall and home to birds. He and my older brother were out birding. I stayed at the picnic table by the tent. I didn't know what bird shit looked like. I put my finger in it and the stink never went away. The same day I got a terrible sunburn from falling asleep in the sun with no one watching me.

When I was a little boy, sometimes I wished I could fly. I imagined that if I thought hard enough, I could will myself off the porch of my grandparents' farm house in West Virginia and fly wherever I wanted to go, not that I knew what was out there. Now, standing on my roof in Minneapolis, decades later, I wish I would've figured that trick out. Maybe if I had flown across the horizon, landed by some reeds in a pond, he would have lifted his binoculars, the ones around my neck right now and yelled: "That's my son! I see my son!"

snow in June –
one bird
in a million