Haibun Thinking – City Life and Nature’s Heartbeat!

Photo prompt:


photograph © Arthur Browne

My entry:

This is the city. I’ve lived in the heart of a metropolis. I enjoyed being there. Something unique in the nature of city life. A day time hustle and bustle not found in rural life. Although to a large degree that has changed with the intrusion of malls and “everything you need at one place” mega stores.

But at night, cities still hold sway to that uniqueness I mentioned. There’s a grittiness that comes out in between the city lights, neon signs and mostly empty sidewalks. The sounds and smells are intriguing. I won’t deny that I loved my stay in the city. And I won’t deny that I miss a certain aspect of it. A “making things happen” kind of feeling. A hustle and bustle reminding one of living, moving forward and yet …

I don’t regret leaving. I missed the countryside. I missed the early morning mist and dewy greenness of nature. A different pace in the natural world. One I’m more suited for and one I was out of step with for a period of time in my life. The balance was missing, reclaimed when I returned to my roots.

a balanced life

at the very heart of the matter

is nature’s heartbeat


Haibun Thinking is a weekly writers challenge. If you wish to enter click here. Big thanks to Alastair for hosting this haibun challenge and giving writers an opportunity to improve their writing skills.

~ Hope you enjoyed, thanks for stopping by,


Alastairs Photo Fiction – If Idols could cry

photography copyright Alastair Forbes

The Idol

Lovingly carved by my human creator, I stand posed in quiet contemplation on a shelf, in a room, in a house. My permanently, etched eyes “wide open” watching life take place around me.

Removed from my birth home, from where my body originated, I am far from the natural elements of nature’s flow, and yet it still survives within me. So it is now, with great sadness, that I silent and helplessly watch the hardships humanity lay upon themselves; confronting each other and their own selves, but without the nourishing rhythm and balance of nature – that they now willfully deny, much as wayward children not wanting to learn life’s important lessons.

I watch as they try and fail to come to terms with their errors of judgement, losing their precious connections to one another and to mother nature herself, even as they (with sometimes innocent intent) tear down the very infrastructure that lead to their existence and survival as a species.

I can see so very clearly and there is a great sadness within me as I sit on this shelf in solitary confinement. If I could, I would cry. But my tears would not be seen, either.

Penny L Howe, 2013


Yes definitely way over the 150 word limit, But I am hopeful this short written piece is still one you will find an interesting read. To join Alastair’s Photo Fiction writing challenge, (who’s weekly prompt is one of his wonderful photographs), click here! Go for it – you’ll have fun!

~ Penny

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An Angel’s tears of Gold ~ the value of life!


They found her in the early morning, she was curled up in a fetal position inside the depression of a large rock. The sharp cool tang of mountain mist still clinging to low hanging clouds. They had almost missed her, except for an ethereal glow that surrounded her … and those sounds; unearthly, softly penetrating.

Not the kind of sound you associate from hearing, but one felt inside your mind, your heart. A mourning, soul searing sound that was gut wrenching in it’s sadness.

The children found her first and then the adult villagers came. All standing quietly, a few feet away staring in awe. They’d never seen an angel before. And no one had ever heard of an angel crying.

The villagers spoke quietly between themselves in whispers. “Do angels cry?” “What’s she doing here?” “How did she get here?” “Why is she here?”

And then a small child spoke the words that were foremost in everyone’s thoughts, “Why is she crying?”


No one knew.

The crowds grew larger during the day, still standing respectfully at a distance but when the clouds cleared away they noticed her teardrops turning to gold as they landed by her feet and trickled into the crevaces pooling around her.

“Look” one of the villagers shouted. She’s crying tears of gold, all else was forgotten as the crowd surged forward to collect the fallen golden teardrops that lay everywhere around the little angel. But before they could reach her they began to hear a second sound. This one more like a soft growing thunder in the sky.

Above them they saw first one and then another until there was gathered above them a mighty host of angels, soaring and gliding angrily above and around the sobbing little angel. Her tear drops rolling down her pale cheeks turning into sparkling gold as each one struck the rocks making a small pinging noise.

The hovering angels swooped down forming a protective circle around the angel.

The villager’s were angry but wary of the large angels. “Why do you stop us, one asked, “there is gold laying here. “Ours for the taking.”

One of the Angels landed in front of the speaker. “Do you know the true value of each of these teardrops?” He asked. “Do you truly understand what you are racing to have?”

file5731254296930There was silence.

“Then I will tell you.” He gestured to the crying angel. “She, our most special little one, is the true guardian angel for all human life on your Earth. For countless millenium she has watched mankind kill one another. First for survival, then from fear, then from mistaken religious beliefs and power and now from greed.

Today, on your planet, the worth and value of your civilization is not based on the health and well being of each human but on how much money you have. She has waited and waited for humans to learn that there is no greater value than the worth of a single human life, and you have not learned this.

And so now, for each human killed by another human, she sheds a tear of gold. And that is the value of her tears of gold. Each fallen tear, a fallen human life. She thinks, hopefully, you might actually understand if she cries enough tears while you continue to take each other’s lives (as if it is something that was ever acceptable) while making creative excuses used to rationalize the truth  (unwillingness to be involved, beliefs, intolerance, power, riches,) your inability and unwillingness to understand, grow and learn.

So here’s the lesson for today. Each time a human willfully takes or allows the life of another to be taken there is a new rate of exchange to think on “A golden teardrop = one human life!” It really is about understanding the value and worth of what is really important! Life is – anything less is not acceptable!


Penny L Howe,


Not strangers to each other ~ Not Really!


Hi ~

During the last few months (A very mild winter this year in SE Washington.) I have taken many “nature walks” in several parks located by a magnificent river. One can walk for miles. The parks abound with numerous trees, birds and all manner of wildlife! (No, not the bear, lol – I just like his friendly smile and wave “hello”!)

As you can see, the park is lovely!

As you can see, the park is lovely!


During my walks one of the unexpected happenings was the numerous greetings of “hello” and “hi” by other walkers strolling, jogging, passing by. Some couples, some with young children in tow and some solo. They came in all shapes, sizes, ethnic backgrounds and ages.

And yes, the walks were also shared with feathered friends, although their hello was more like a "honk"!

And yes, the walks were also shared with feathered friends, although their hello was more like a “honk”!


It was wonderful. People I didn’t know, enjoying the same view as I and wanting to connect through the universal greeting of “hello“. A stranger saying hello to another stranger. Is it nature’s setting? Does leisure imply “more open”? Is there a mela fluidity with our senses that can be missing in other places?

A busy city

A busy city


Why does this not happen when one walks down a busy city street or a shopping mall? The pace is, of necessity, different and hectic. And the people are certainly in greater numbers as they go about their business.

Is there a disconnect that happens, and how long is it there for? How long do we stay “closed” and distant from those around us in the artificial environment of a city structure? Of an industrial/technological society?

So many people, together yet separated from one another.


Well as for me, regardless of where you live and who you are, what you are doing, and why you are doing it, I’d like to say a great big huge, gigantic …


Have a great day, thanks for stopping by,


~ Penny

A funny sign

..or our future!



I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

~ Joyce Kilmer


I am not interested in a discussion about faith here (we each believe as we do). I am not concerned with the merits of the poem (which I think is beautiful), or the author (whom I think was a gifted writer). I am concerned about the slash and burn mentality of those who are destroying not just beautiful trees, forests, wildlife and all that accompanies it, but also our future.

The Dalai Lama said once, “We” humans, would not go into our own homes and throw all of our household furniture we need everyday into a fire we would use only once, so why do we do this to the furnishings of our home – the planet Earth.

Without going all scientific, I will say that the ecological system for this planet is finely honed, everything relates to everything else. There is a connection, a very substantial connection and as humans interfere with the natural order of how the planet operates, the planet self corrects.

The ones most at danger are ourselves. A good thing to know as we hurry onward to “greater” civilization. The life style we have adopted is slowly tearing the fabric of our futures apart.

Mother earth is self correcting. We all know it at some level of awareness. We are very aware of the climate changes; of the geographic disturbances around the world (taking lives as it happens). It is what this planet does best after all.

These are good and important things to be aware of and changes to be made, as we can, each in our own way. We can make a difference, positive change adds up, always! Don’t you feel the planet’s pain? I do and if you don’t already, try and you will too! We are the guardians. Our responsibility! Ours!

~ Penny