GOING HOME

Up to my eyeballs in a spring weekend haiku conference full of ideas, poetry, and art the spirit of Kerouac starts whispering, “It’s time to get back on the road.” That is on the road home. And so by noon Sunday I’m in my automobile tooling north on Highway 97 toward junction Highway 20, the Santiam Pass and the long descent on Highway 22 from Bend, Oregon’s dry high desert country to the lush Willamette Valley. I’ll miss the old friendships renewed and the new friendships made in the last few days and all this magnificent scenery, but it’ll be good to return to where the air is richer and easier for me to breathe. On my left between the towns of Tumalo and Sisters, Broken Top, the majestic Three Sisters Mountains, and Mt. Washington, ride along with me for awhile. To my right a sign I haven’t seen in twenty-five years - “Lazy H Ranch” - a place immortalized in a haiku  of the same first line I wrote and published in  Modern Haiku magazine in the autumn of 1986. What a kick, as if time stood still. After a burger and coffee for lunch I enter the mountain pass. A light mist dots my car’s wind screen and there’s an electronic warning sign at the side of the road flashing, “Carry Tire Chains.” But it’s too warm even at this elevation for any new snow. I take in the views all around me as best I can without being distracted from my driving. Who knows if I’ll ever get back here again.

                                        a vintage log truck
                                        rusting just off the highway
                                        logs still on its back
                                        who will outlive the other
                                        in a race against time

                                       

Johnny Baranski started writing haiku and its related forms under the tutelage of Lorraine Ellis Harr (Tombo) in 1975 and has been widely published since. He credits a Margaret Chula workshop for introducing him to the art of writing haibun in 2006. His latest chapbook, "just a stone's throw," was published by Vincent Tripi in his Pinch Book Series also in 2006. Mr. Baranski resides in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington metro area.