One Reason for the Season….


 Xmas wreath


I saw the Cooper’s hawk this morning. She landed on the chimney pot, probably looking for my miniature hen, Grayson. Four years ago she was a starving fledgling who mantled over while I fed her cold chicken. She’s back this holiday, my spirits lifting. A good Christmas present.

In the middle of the commercialization of Christmas, Nature closes the gap. I have noticed squirrels with pecans in mouths leaping the trees, hawks hunting low over now-bare woods, unknown song birds sitting on fences, heard the migration of Sandhill cranes as they honk in formation. You hear their cacophony well before they appear. Their chiding cries float down to our upturned faces.

There is brightness to the holly, washed by our late autumn rains and the orange of the nandina berries has turned crimson. Smell of wood smoke in the air and the crispness of mornings means the earth is going to sleep. We humans should reclaim our past and join the slumber party of our brother bears.

Jingle Bells will fade and our tension with it. Looking towards deep winter when the Earth is again silent will restore our balance and calm nerves with a blanket of Peace.

 Winter’s seasoning

Bitter winds, branch of holly

Haunts in the attic.




Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016






My beautiful picture

Merry Christmas!

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32 Responses to “One Reason for the Season….”

  1. Mother Willow Says:

    A Merry Christmas to you Jane. Lovely write, you have a very keen sense of observation. So much to enjoy all around you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hayesspencer Says:

    Lovely and haunting haibun. All the elements of southern winter join together in a whispered song. The haiku at the end ties it all together like a quiet gift.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ladynyo Says:

    Ah, that’s so beautiful a comment, Toni. You are right: these are the components of a southern winter. We have the birds, the birds of prey in the winter here. I can’t remember them in the winters of my childhood in rural NJ, but I’m sure they were there. Thank you so much for reading this and your lovely, lovely comment. Makes me appreciate the winters and the seasons where I am.


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Merry Christmas to you, Helene! I forget sometimes the simple blessings that surround me here in Atlanta. Not quite the city, about 3 miles south of it….but enough. The trees are huge here, oaks and pecans 120 years old, and just so grand and overpowering. When I feel oppressed by humanity I can watch the trees surrounding me. They always give me a sense of what really matters. Nature, to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hélène@MotherWillow Says:

    Wonderful place you live in. Enjoy it all. We have city on one side of our building, river and park on other side of building. Two different worlds when we look out the windows from our 6th floor condo.


  6. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) Says:

    Love the sense of rest in your winter… skipping the worst part of Christmas for a hawk in the sky sounds like an excellent idea… I really love the haiku


  7. ladynyo Says:

    THank you, Bjorn. That was what I was trying to define with this poem. A sense of peace, or rest. Xmas can get really overwhelming with the noise, appeals to buy merchandise, etc. I look to the fresh blank canvas of Winter to inspire me. Summer is also overwhelming to me.

    I am glad that the haiku speaks to you on the end of these haibuns. I am really loving this form and that it demands I produce a haiku each time is a good exercise. Thank you, again.

    On another issue…I was wondering if during this new year….we could start a conversation on ‘what kind of poet are you?’. I seem stuck in narrative poetry and perhaps that is why futurism, etc. is so hard for me. I was wondering what other dverse poets thought of their writing poetry style.

    Joyful Music Every Day!



  8. ladynyo Says:

    But that is even better, Helene! a river and a park on one side! Marvelous! we have no water at all…but we did years ago dig a small pond for goldfish. LOL!
    Not a river though. I was raised about 500 feet from a river. It was my playground, plus the woods when I was a child. I believe the nature poetry was latent in me, and didn’t come out until about 10 years ago! Influence has to come from some place.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) Says:

    Great subject for a discussion.. I think I do love narrative too, but more if there is some extended metaphor in the story… but I guess I’m mostly eclectic in my poetry.


  10. Hélène@MotherWillow Says:

    Oh, we lived by the river all of my teenage years and swam in it too. Gold fish are beautiful. Today here it is (minus) -20 Fahrenheit . Brrrr


  11. Bodhirose Says:

    I’d much rather notice the wildlife around at this time of year…we have Sandhill Cranes year round here, and love your haibun. I love skipping over the commercialization of Christmas and how much stress and strain it puts on people. We’re trying to make plans to do that very thing…skip it for the most part. Although I’ve let a lot of that pressure go through the years. I don’t much buy into it anymore.


  12. ladynyo Says:

    Gayle, same here. We cut boughs of fir from around us, use Nandina berries and holly, and yesterday we cut some sprigs of camellia…very old bushes that are huge (neighbors) and needed trimming. LOL! I try to knit a pair of socks for my husband each year, but we both succumb to online shopping for clothes, gifts. We haven’t hit a mall in years. We don’t have any special religious belief with this time of the year….battered by fundamentalists both of us, me more than him, but The Winter Solstice is something we observe in thoughts and mindfulness. The amount of crime in Atlanta soars, and the standard excuse is that people are stressed and want to ‘give’ a Xmas that everyone else has. This is bull. These folk are generally the standard criminal that does this all year around, but is especially prolific during these holidays. The mass grab for gifts, toys, etc…is one of the worse displays of humankind. The Sandhill cranes fly over us, too, and their heading south signals the start of the season early. The cardinals come right after the New Year, and with the bare branches, these wonderful, pugnacious birds are a shot of color in the bareness of winter. I send my thoughts and love to you, in whatever manner you choose to celebrate this time of the year!


  13. ladynyo Says:

    I think with exposure and forms presented here, we become more eclectic. Narrative might be easiest for many of us, it’s just extended story telling in a way, but I do like something in the ending that gives thought, memory, or even morals…’

    Thanks, Bjorn!


  14. ladynyo Says:

    Yikes! my one experience with Montreal was enough! minus 37 degrees when we arrived. enough! LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Bodhirose Says:

    During my ashram days, we were mindful of the Winter Solstice with a 10 day gathering of meditation and reflection…and fun too. I’m respectful of others religious beliefs but I don’t think that any doctrine of Christianity states that Christ decreed that his birthday be celebrated in the manner that it has become. We also have cardinals here year round…such beautiful, chipper birds! Thank you, Jane, for your good wishes and love and I send you love and warm hugs and will meet you back at dVerse after our break if not before. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  16. ladynyo Says:

    Love and Hugs back to you, Gayle. I am going to post some recipes during the week….today starting….of Hungarian comfort foods. Simple meals, (I hate goulash) of Chicken Paperkash , Kiflies (pastry…easy) and other things I grew up with when I was around my Hungarian Grandmother.
    Ashram, huh? That was quite an experiment. I was in a commune for a while….but it wasn’t much fun. I follow the Winter Solstice with the book and reading of Celtic Devotions, mostly..but the Moon stuff sort of confuses me.
    Christ: The commercialization of Xmas is not in ‘tune’ with the celebration of Christ’s birth. The net result of debt after Xmas and the useless and broken gifts is certainly off the path. Cardinals! A true gift of the Season!


  17. Hélène@MotherWillow Says:

    We are used to that weather here…but I don’t like winter at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. ladynyo Says:

    I can see why not! I just posted a recipe for Hungarian Chicken Paprikas…..with weather like that you have to have something hot and comforting! LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hélène@MotherWillow Says:



  20. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! I love this dish….easy….and one of my favorites. I forgot the parsley in the original posting. A good handful of chopped parsley gives a lovely color.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Bodhirose Says:

    How great to have some of your grandmother’s recipes, Jane.
    Yes, lived the ashram lifestyle throughout most of the 70s. It was an amazing learning experience but I was done after all those years. I felt hindered by too many rules and regulations after awhile. These days, I just pay attention to what feels good in my heart and feeds my soul. Most of that is simplistic…no need for “teachings” from those who think they know better than you. That’s the best barometer for me so I follow that path. Yes, cardinals! They truly feed my soul. xo


  22. ladynyo Says:

    Gayle! I’m laughing my head off: we had similar experiences in the 70’s;…but mine was with a Communist commune. A bunch of narcs and rich boys who thought they would rule the world! I was just a peon. I married one of those boys and he turned out to be an emotional Nazi. LOL! They all were. And there were also too many rules and regulations. I gave up my higher education to these fools. Worked in factories forming (hah) cells. Pointless and a particular slavery. I agree totally with what you write: just pay attention to what feels good in the heart and feeds the soul. Perhaps that is why we became poets? I do know that there are so many damn fools out there demanding we pay attention to the ‘social’ issues that make them famous….and we are just foot soldiers for their battles. Of course, these folk never read or comment on our hard won poetry. And these folk…opportunists of all races, colors and creeds, just feed off our souls. No longer do I play their games. And there is one woman here in Atlanta that is about as old as I am, and she runs for Mayor, etc. every time. Never wins, but it ‘feeds her soul’. And she is always around asking you for support, etc. I have learned a lot about human nature in the past few years especially. Family and friends who don’t support my own endeavors (I love that word!) are no longer in my life. Life is too damn short and I think back to all those ’causes’ I was involved with and gave money to. None of those people are around or are friends anymore….but that’s the way we find out where we are in life. Cardinals! A shot of blood red in the white and black winter that startles us with the contrast. Love them!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Bodhirose Says:

    Ha, the things we do when we’re young, so idealistic, right? I had thoughts of living in peace with like-minded people and reaching my “enlightenment.” Yeah, right! The ego trips that people laid on you was incredible and people vying to be the teacher’s “best student.” People are people and their true nature will be shown to you when living in such close proximity. We had certifiably crazy people that used ashrams as “flop” houses as they wandered aimlessly through life. One of those crazy people pressed bogus charges against my husband and I and had us arrested before she fled the ashram! I wouldn’t trade that experience of my communal living days for anything but I was happy to move on to another path. Seems we have both learned a lot, Jane. I’m not interested in supporting all the “damn fools” out there and their personal agendas. I’ve realized that the best way I can help the world is to be the kindest and most joyful that I can and not add too much of my negativity into the world. My best to you, Jane! xo


  24. ladynyo Says:

    Gayle, I’m still laughing my head off! YesJlook back at this….it is shocking to me that they were so young and so casual about hurting or using others; In reading what you wrote, it opened my own mind as to that past history, and I have to thank you. I have avoided thinking about it because of the pain and shame that I allowed myself to be so used and miserable. Of course non of these people are around now….and there is no way of seeing what they have come to Except in a few cases. Jerry, who was deeply involved in the “revolutionary” movement here….and disappeared for 30 years or so, two years ago contacted me. Wanted to have lunch. he hadn’t changed much…still involved in basic liberal/opportunistic causes…and at 68, this is a sign of lack of development. Then he whipped out his phone and showed me a picture of his naked wife being spanked by some other man. Jesus! then he tried to kiss me. I remember this fucker trying to rape me the night before my first wedding. I called him a dog and a pig, and that was that. he is a supporter of a man,opportunistic character. Jerry’s wife is still an unthinking liberal at 69 and frankly, I don’t want to be around people who haven’t grown in all these 45 years. I think Churchill was right: “If you aren’t a liberal while young, you have no heart. If you haven’t become conservative when you have aged, you have no head.” I realized that my negativity came mostly from my experience with family and people I had nothing in common. These people were always clambering for you to support them (i.e. give them money) and it was a constant scam. We only learn when we pull away from these people…go No Contact. Then our lives can start up again in positive and creative ways. I was a painter of mostly landscape for 40 years and none of these people even noticed the paintings on the walls, They just wanted money and support in different ways. It’s hard to grow when you have these sort of shackles on. My love to you Gayle. Merry Christmas!


  25. Bodhirose Says:

    Well, Jane, I’m glad that my words could perhaps help you let go of some of the shame from those days long ago. We aren’t the same people now and I find no shame in following our ideals back in those days. I agree that some people do get “stuck” and never do evolve with the times…yes, a lack of development and in Jim’s case just a bad case of being an asshole! I don’t have an interest in those types either. I must admit though that I think I’m still more liberal than conservative but maybe more middle of the road these days. When I think back to my joining the ashram, I can clearly see that in some ways I was trying to leave my upbringing behind and get the hell out of that house. But funny thing, I traded one madhouse for another in many ways. Which goes to show that you really can’t run from your problems because, like the Buddhist and author, Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book’s title suggests “Wherever You Go, There You Are!” We’re only as free as our mind allows. Our thoughts create our pain or joy. I wish much joy to you, Jane, and Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. ladynyo Says:

    Yes, trading one madhouse for another. Exactly. Jim is an asshole but I don’t have to interface with him. And that is the blessing. We must and can choose our associates. especially when we are retired.
    Kabat-Zinn sounds good. As for me, I still have liberal social concerns, but I also know now…working for charities, campaign groups, community groups, that there are a lot of scammers out there and you have to be aware that some people are only in these fields for self aggrandizement. I guess the shame comes from not being able to stop the mental abuse then. But I sure can now. And I have found my path and I’m happy! But most of all, I;m creative and that is the best of things. B efore, so much of my energy was used for others and they were opportunists hands down. Now? I have learned to disengage and ignore. Joy to you Gayle, and Merry Xmas!


  27. Bodhirose Says:

    I’m glad you’re now feeling empowered to set your boundaries with people…even those family members who are energy vampires! No one needs those types in their lives. Joy and peace to you always, Jane, every day! Merry Christmas!


  28. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Gayle! It took me years to ‘justify’ no contact, but now??? I realize that this was stunting my creativity. When my 96 year old mother says: “I can never be truly proud of you because you didn’t allow me into your artistry”….it became even more clear that this woman was not only an energy sucker, but a real narcissist…and they will destroy anything they get their hands on. I am setting boundaries on ‘friends’ who also can’t think for themselves….and just want to whine and bitch and use up YOUR energy. LOL!

    Merry Christmas, Gayle. I am so glad I met you and you are one of the few that understand this issue deeply.

    Love and Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Bodhirose Says:

    It’s especially tough for “no contact” when it’s our own parents that seek to destroy us…but what choice do we have? I also think that the word ‘friend’ is used way too loosely. The type you describe are NOT friends! I’m glad we met too, Jane…I do understand how important it is to protect ourselves however we can. Enjoy your holiday; love and hugs! Gayle


  30. ladynyo Says:

    I don’t think that even most therapists understand No Contact. I’ve had dealings with a few who say: “she’s your mother, you have to love your mother.” hah! Love is also a term that is thrown around too much. A parent who tries constantly to belittle, to dismiss, to insult must be avoided. It’s only when we break free from this emotional sadism (and it is…) do we grow and become more creative. My mother is toxic. Let the dead bury the dead. After decades of her behavior, it was an issue of ‘how do I survive such toxic people? You can’t because they have a lifetime experience of hurting others…intentionally. You have to break free. This issue of NC only came late…about 6 years ago….from an elderly Bavarian therapist. She was wonderful and knew that I probably wouldn’t survive much longer if I kept thinking that my mother would change for the better. And it’s not senility at all…she’s been this way, according to a dead sister since she was 5 years old. I don’t even care to know how this could happen. I just want to protect myself, my son and my husband. Upon meeting my 3 year old adopted son….within the first hour, I heard him cry. She has slapped him on the face: “He spit at me”. I should have thrown her out the window.
    As far as friends….this is the rotten fruit you get when you are raised by a narcissistic parent: you are desperate for friends, and you just don’t have the ability to understand what is true and what is not. Now? I have cleared myself from the ‘junk’ people that I would have hoped were friends…but realized they were not. They were users. Merry Christmas, Gayle. Have a wonderful holiday!


  31. Bodhirose Says:

    Ha, is right! I often questioned the Bible quote that said to honor your mother and father. Really? I think they have to earn that honor. We’ve both come a long way, Jane, and for the better. Yay for us! See you after our break, if not before. Merry Christmas!


  32. ladynyo Says:

    there is and interesting interpretation of Luke 17 I think. It;’s on line and it deals exactly with this issue. I’ll try to find it…I’m not a bible thumper but I thought this was the ONE thing that gave sense to NC…in the bible.

    Love, Merry Xmas


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