Inside Out

dverselogo.jpgLillian at dVerse Poets Pub has poured a stiff challenge for Haibun Monday this week, stipulating the prose paragraphs be a true accounting, not fiction, and that the prose take us on “a journey into an interior”, that we “go back in time to one of the very first houses you remember living in. Try to recall a room or place in that house. The accompanying haiku should be traditional.” This is my attempt at meeting the challenge. 

What does it matter what the inside of this log house is like? Inside you will see that the inhabitants are ready to go back outside. There are boots just inside the door, some arranged around the woodstove, felts pulled out, wool socks and mittens draped over. The dining room chairs each shoulder a wool jacket or sweater, sometimes even pants, as it gets hot inside with long-johns on and the woodstove going. Just outside the door are everyone’s snowshoes and my skis; the wax on the skis will do for another outing, the temperatures are constant just now. They’ll be brought inside to warm when they need to be waxed again. There’s also a trapper basket on the porch, with an ice chisel leaned against it. The auger for ice-fishing got left here too; it gets used too often lately to bother carrying it back through the bulkhead to the cellar. In the cellar ice skates are put on near the dwindling woodpiles then walked on through the bulkhead to the small pond behind the house where neighbors might join in too.

Back inside, the dining room table has topo maps on it, and magazines and butterflied books, unless the readers are flopped over the armchairs and couches in the living room, occasionally getting up to stir the stew that is simmering on the woodstove, (bear this time). The books take the inhabitants outside too; they’ve each read the entire Farley Mowat and Sally Carrighar collections at least twice. And Jack London can make them feel bone deep cold even in this snug little log house, which, oddly, makes them want to go outside again.


Deep snow cloud walkers

laughing under bare branches.

Sleeping seeds sigh and stir.

34 thoughts on “Inside Out

  1. A great story. Log houses have a special aura about them. I remember hanging mittons on the wall around the stove and smelling the rubber in the boots as they warm and dry. Your haiku is perfect. Love the shift to seeds sleeping in the ground.

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  2. This is wonderful! You paint a wonderful portrait of winter in a log cabin. Your details, especially readers flopping over armchairs and getting up to stir the stew. Lovely writing!

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  3. What wonderful detail to describe living in a log cabin. The clothes hanging on the chairs make it truly feel lived in. We are right there with you. I like the ice skates, the auger, the maps,….all the wonderful things that would be in a log cabin where one can truly be away from it all and commune with nature.
    And you truly do commune with nature in the haiku.
    So very well done! So glad you posted!

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    • Thanks! I tried to follow all the suggestions. That’s not a get away cabin, that’s the house where I grew up. It was definitely lived in, year round.
      I tried to get under the snow to dormant yet destined spring in the haiku while sharing the magic of walking on deep snow with snowshoes.
      Thanks for the prompt. The responses have been fun and interesting.

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      • Oh….wow! Well to me….that log house sounds like a wonderful place to grow up, year round…being with family and in the midst of nature too. I’ve never used showcase but have often imagined what it would be like. I love new fallen snow in the early morning when there are no footprints yet….and then I’d be able to walk atop it and leave my own solitary prints. 🙂 So glad you enjoyed the prompt!

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  4. Wow, D. What an amazing childhood. I can’t wait to read your memoir. Your experiences are vastly different from mine, vastly different from any I could imagine. It sounds idyllic. Was it idyllic to you?
    Your haiku is beautiful I love how you’ve painted the wintery waiting world with so few words.

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    • Oh good, I was hoping you’d see that house. Idyllic? Whose childhood is truly idyllic? There’s some editing by omission here, but nothing so bad. At the time it seemed just an ordinary childhood. Now I know how good I had it, timing, setting. I am grateful for my experiences and for having woods around me.

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      • A child of the woods. But not the last, I hope. Have you read that book? It’s on my list. I will get to it. One day. Yeah, I’m not sure that I’ve met anyone who had an idyllic childhood, not even my own children.

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  5. That was a childhood dream of mine, to live in a log cabin.Your childhood comes across as busy and full of life – mostly outside. I love how you convey that readiness to go back out in the ‘boots just inside the door, some arranged around the woodstove, felts pulled out, wool socks and mittens draped over’ and the jackets and sweaters on chairs. And the inside of the cabin is busy too, with maps and books, and the stew on the woodstove. The haiku is a lovely microcosm.

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  6. Hard to picture — I use to live in a thatched roof hut in the mountains of Japan, but it was not like that. We had cabin camping in boyscouts, maybe similar to that, but over all, different. And I really enjoyed the difference. I did not see it as idyllic, but as a life — yours. Thanx

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    • This was not a cabin but a log house, with modest but modern kitchen, bathrooms, etc. Shag carpet as it was the seventies! But it was a northern home, in the woods, and that’s how we all treated my mother’s dream house. Would have been the same story had it been vinyl sided. (But these facts undo some folk’s read.) Thanks for coming by.


  7. The call of the wild permeates your childhood home. I love the idea of discarded clothes and items ready to go back outside, further outing inspired by topo maps and books. Ah, Farley Mowat, Jack London — good influences!


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