Ligo Haibun Challenge – Listen, can you hear?

Hello and welcome to this week’s Ligo Haibun Challenge! The honourable mentions for last week are listed below. Join our international group of writers (We welcome and encourage you to join us in the creative pursuit of your written words!) just check at the bottom of this page for more details.

The challenge this week – Write a haibun choosing one of the following written prompts:

“Lost Moments”
“The earth has music for those who listen.”
Quote by George Santayana
My offering for this week is from the quote by  George Santayana!

child of nature

Listen, can you hear?

There once was a girl, mostly deaf, me!  I could hear – when sounds and spoken words were loud, or when looking directly at the person speaking. Lip reading was self-taught (although unaware, I learned to speak and understand by lip movement and observing facial expressions). When a child, you don’t know you have a hearing problem. A problem undiagnosed, until 7 years old.

*I grew up in the fertile and lush Willamette Valley in the northwestern part of North America, spending days/years communing with nature through intimacy of sight and touch. At the age of 11, through a series of incidents, my hearing (overnight) became full and clear. Never explained or clearly understood, by professionals, why this happened or why it happened when it happened, but I woke up one morning and could hear.

 And so a difficulty to describe what has not been heard before. The ebbs and flows; birdsong, breezy sounds, rustling grasses, stirring leaves, streamlets rippling murmurs, distant croaking frogs. Woodland whistles through dense trees.

 I had never known nuances of sounds, nor echoes in the life force of nature. Magically magnified by my perfect ears – one hundred fold. Raw richness of sensation, the day I first heard, the music of my earth!

when first heard
nature’s symphony of life
magic inconceivable


 (A true story, I have had perfect hearing since the 4th grade and have never stopped loving the musically beautiful songs of nature, nor do I ever tire of visiting Mother nature in the wild, my true home on this planet!
this morning - the dew of grass

Taken early this morning! Thought I’d share.


All those who entered last week’s  Ligo Haibun Challenge presented well written haibun. Congratulations to all of you, please keep writing. The honourable mentions for last weeks Challenge are:

Peripetatic Eric
Reading Pleasure

Each of their haibun are well worth taking the time to read and enjoy. Just click their name! Again I am included. I am honored by the other judges voting for me.

To enter and learn more about the Ligo Haibun Challenge, click here!

Thanks for stopping by, have a wonderful weekend,

~ Penny

penny l howe

38 thoughts on “Ligo Haibun Challenge – Listen, can you hear?

  1. Hi Penny! Ste J recommended your blog to me. I havent started a blog yet although Ste J has done two blogs about me (“Knowing M.E. Knowing You” and “Soph says” I think). Anyway, I’d been told your blog is ” a nice positive one” but it’s more than that, it’s truly inspiring. This blog reminded me of some words by Helen Keller. Have you read her book “3 days to see” and “The Story of my Life”? I’d recommend 🙂 Look forward to reading more blogs from you. Best wishes, Sophie

  2. Penny! I am…….well…speechless…what a gorgeous haibun and a gorgeous example of a haibun. Beautifully written, and…the emotions I feel are still powerful. I might comment more later, as I am still thinking about what I just read.

  3. What an incredible experience. There must have been some confusion, some wonder, at the time. Beautiful haiku.

  4. What an amazing story, Penny! As a child suddenly being able to hear clearly must have been as you so perfectly stated: “magic inconceivable”.
    Truly wondrous.

    • Thank you. You know in the moment, it real was of a more curious confusing thing (hospital setting) but when I was once more with nature, yes it was awesomely magical, like lights had been suddenly turned on or something! I’ve never stopped being grateful either. xx

  5. What a fascinating story, Penny. Your haibun and the story of you staying up late at the hospital seeing your ear all better. I recently read an article on the clinical trials of some pharmaceuticals that concluded that the placebos are as effective as the drugs due to the patient’s belief they have the actual drug. Our minds are considerably more powerful than we give them credit for. And yours is stronger than most. I’m happy to have ‘met’ you.

    • Thanks Steph, my mom and dad were convinced of the mind’s capabilities! We use just the smallest portion of our brain, as you know. Just imagine if we could use it all! I am happy to have ‘met’ you also!

  6. Thank goodness for the miracle. Whatever the reason was, it is great that it was resolved and it has made you appreciate nature all the more. Thanks for sharing, penny

    • Hi Padmini. When you’re a child and experiencing life and there is no reference point to compare to, what you experience … just is. Now looking back I understand how very lucky I was for the happening! Thank you, my friend! 🙂 xx

    • I was graced with a precious gift, that night for certain Celestine, for there truly was never the knowing why, which of course is not ours to know sometimes dear friend, thank you! 🙂 xx

  7. What a story Penny! I believed every word before you mentioning it was true. Perhaps you contracted a virus that finally and miraculously left your system. During those years when you didn’t know you were challenged you developed all of your other senses to compensate and that development shows today through you as an artist and humanitarian. Bravo 🙂

    Oh – thanks so much for your comment on my personal site – really good of you to take the time to stop by and take a peek around. xx

    • Hi Lesley, I was in the hospital at the time of the “miracle” (mom’s version) with acute mastoiditis, surgery scheduled for the next morning. A conversation with my mother about “believing” I can make things happen (and my fear of the surgery and being in the hospital) made me very focused on seeing my one ear not hurting any more, stayed up half the night “seeing my ear all better. Fell asleep, woke up and I could hear and the disease was completely gone. The doctors were dumbfounded about the disease being gone, but said my getting my hearing was somehow related to the infection so you could be right. The thing is. The infection was only in one ear and I could now hear in both, so I don’t really know. Thank you for your kind words!

      And I do love the new look of your personal site, absolutely beautiful and very well laid out too! xx

  8. Going from having acute hearing to being a little bit deaf has been a struggle for me but it also has its compensations. I have the perfect excuse to tune out verbal drool! Being a dotty old lady has its perks 😉

    Glad you got you hearing back and put it to such good use. X

  9. Wow – a miracle!
    My Alexandria has hearing issues when her ears get plugged up. They don’t naturally clear out. So- every 6 months or so – I have to take her to get them professionally cleaned out by an ENT. When the tv starts getting louder ot I get a lot of huhs & what’s – I know it’s time to make an appointment. We come out & she’s like – “I can hear!”
    xx 🙂 🙂 xx

    • I’m glad to hear that RoSy, that build up can affect hearing quite a bit. A little more complicated for me. My mother was sure it was a miracle. I don’t know. But very happy it happened! 🙂 xo

  10. Where you been.??.. see you commented on a lot of my posts all in one day, I assume you have been away and just returned… but you did this without telling me…. Loved this post… from one that has suffered the problem, to one now suffering from it, me. this is something I suffer from due to firing rifles without ear plugs that has now caused a degeneration that is irreversible… Lip reading is something I never taught myself, it just came naturally as the hearing has slowly gone so the lip reading just slowly came about…
    Nice to see you back…

    • Hi Bulldog! Yeah I feel about like that. Just really busy in the offline world of life. I had a little time yesterday and wanted to catch up with you. I have spent very little time going visiting in the last few weeks. Hopefully my time will free up in the near future. Sorry about not letting you know about my new “look”! Just wanted a change. Still getting used to it though. It’s so much brighter than the other format!
      Thank you. It does seem that our problems with hearing are reversed. But it sounds like you learned to lip read the same way I did. Glad to see you here too! Have a wonderful weekend! xx

      • Thanks Penny… went look about on my email site as a lot of comments on WordPress are disappearing into spam… I found a ton of email notifications of postings by you all sitting in spam… I can’t understand why this would have happened, and will have to go catch up on your posts… this cyber world is playing up at the moment… I was also hacked on my FB account, don’t know if this can affect anything….

        • Oh lord, that’s awful Bulldog. I’ve been hearing that some other bloggers are also having the same problems so WordPress definitely has some things to work out. I am very sorry to hear about your Facebook being hacked also. I hope these things get worked out soonest for you my friend!

    • Hi Michael. Mom was sure it was. The doctors didn’t know. There is a story behind what happened. The Short Version: My mother telling a scared little girl (who was going to have surgery the next day) that if you really believed in something hard enough, it could happen. I have never focused as hard and as long, as I did that night on believing, I kid you not. Did I connect the two together after I understand I could really hear? No. I was just happy I could. And the need for surgery was gone also, so my mother was sure. I don’t know, that’s the truth. If someone were to ask me if I believe in miracles I would say yes. And I would also say I most definitely believe in the power of positive thinking! Short story! 🙂

  11. Your story is a very beautiful one Penny. I am so happy by 4th grade your hearing was restored. I wonder if the forces of nature were conspiring on your behalf the whole time… preparing for the day you would hear their symphony. Lovely write dear friend ~ much LOVE x RL

    • Thank you Robyn. Perhaps! What a wonderful thought. I’ll never know why. It seems that even after birth, nature was rather unique in fine tuning my senses. Have a most excellent weekend my dear and special friend! with love, Penny xo

  12. I can’t say I’ve had a similar experience. While I think I have always had my hearing, perhaps early trama set a steal trap on emotions. I kind of remember suddenly waking up in grammer school – as if a light had been switched on. I had very few memories from before that moment. But then I believe that everything that happens to us shapes who we become.

    Glad I found the ligo challenge again, even if by a round about way.
    I actually already have something written that fits this prompt. And since time is a bit tight at the moment…I’m going to use it instead of writing a new piece. But I think you’ll like it anyway.

    • I think when you experience something different, which I did upon wakening, it is more interesting than scary. So I was curious. I deleted our other comments Alastair, as I decided I was adding more information about myself than was really needed! 🙂 xx

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