< meta charset="UTF-8"> Haibun Today: A Haibun & Tanka Prose Journal

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 4, December 2019

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Peter Newton
Winchendon, Massachusetts, USA

Victory Dashboard Road

I've passed the old apple orchard a hundred times before, but something about it being fall makes me stop. The farmhouse right up at the road stands long-abandoned like a hitchhiker who has given up on getting there. Out back, the grass is waist-high between the trees. Unpruned branches block the way like construction barricades.


No longer a clearing, the space now forbids full sun. The surrounding woods have advanced, the flank of apple trees outnumbered and infiltrated with wild volunteers. A few branches snapped from the last kid or maybe a black bear that tried to climb into the tree’s not-so-high canopy. Feasted on, nibbled at, lived in by squirrel, deer, fox, bear, rabbit, what have you. Bluebirds and flickers have filled the cavities that have opened up over time. The clouds today are on the move and make the sky look torn and then repaired and torn again.

heart pine floorboards

There’s a healing going on here. A return to what's wild. I don’t wander too far. I stand still mostly, an actor moving from mark to mark with no lines to deliver. I might as well be trespassing in a cemetery. My only connection to this sacred ground is whatever loneliness I keep root-cellared inside. My need to tap into it every now and again. This place, the people who farmed here have all changed a long time ago into something else. And here I am, no different, only somewhere else in the process.

autumn sunlight