The path unfolds

 “leaf light” is based on a 19×12 original, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on rice paper. It is available as a signed 11×14 digital print or a card. © 2013 Annette Makino

“leaf light” is based on a 19×12 original, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on rice paper. It is available as a signed 11×14 digital print or a card. © 2013 Annette Makino

Our daughter started college this fall. Before it happened, I couldn’t fully understand how much lies behind that simple statement—hope and excitement for your child’s future mixed with worry and sadness at their leaving.

For weeks after we dropped Maya off, the smallest thing could bring me to tears, like measuring oatmeal for three instead of four. My husband, son and I all miss her effervescent spirit, affectionate nature and hilarious observations. She has left our home quieter, tidier, and less exciting. It seems unfair that after eighteen years of the hard work of parenting, now that she’s pretty much perfect, she’s gone!

But happily, I got to visit Maya at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington earlier this month. (In a sweet bit of synchronicity, my freshman roommate at Stanford lives ten blocks from campus, so I also got to visit this dear friend.) To my delight, Maya decided to accompany me to the Seabeck Haiku Getaway.

geese arrowing south
part of my heart
in the passenger seat

For four days along beautiful Hood Canal, fifty poets talked, wrote and shared haiku, and I enjoyed giving a presentation on the process of creating my haiga (haiku art). As ever, it was a fun and inspiring retreat, and there was even time to hike through the woods and soak up sunlight by the lagoon.

awakened
by the breakfast bell—
sun through cedars

 Haiku ahead! Annette Makino and daughter Maya at the Seabeck Haiku Getaway, October 2015.

Haiku ahead! Annette Makino and daughter Maya at the Seabeck Haiku Getaway, October 2015.

Between studying and writing essays for school, Maya penned some fine haiku of her own, like this one:

autumn clouds
all the people
I could be

And at the end of the long weekend, two of my poems, less than an hour old, won prizes in the “kukai” haiku contest. This one, written while lying under a big maple tree with Maya, is a gentle message to myself in this time of transition:

a gust of wind
swirls through the maple—
the art of letting go

Back in 2013, when I returned from Seabeck, I created the “leaf light” piece above based on a forest trail there. Thinking about Maya’s leaving, it is a reminder to have faith in times of loss, change and uncertainty—and to keep walking.

leaf light
tree by tree
the path unfolds

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Makino Studios News

2016 calendar: A wall calendar of art and haiku, featuring twelve of my paintings of landscapes, animals and flowers, is now on sale in stores and online. From ocean waves to oak-covered hills, this mini-calendar provides a monthly dose of Zen wisdom.

New cards: I’ve posted eleven new and updated card designs to the MakinoStudios Etsy shop and they are also available in stores.

Made in Humboldt: More than 50 card designs, plus prints and calendars will be offered at this holiday sale at the Garden Shop of Pierson Building Center in Eureka, CA Nov. 17-Dec. 24.

Holiday Craft Market: Makino Studios will have a booth at this fair in the Arcata Community Center in Arcata, CA on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12-13.

Connecting: I appreciate the kind responses to my last post, “One brushstroke at a time.” You can also get news, art and haiku on my Makino Studios Facebook page and my Twitter feed.

"leaf light" has been published in The Sacred in Contemporary Haiku, edited by Robert Epstein, 2014; and in the 2013 Seabeck anthology, A Warm Welcome (it is also used for the cover art).