haibun : black hair


Looking through old photographs. Half a century ago, before color photographs became ubiquitous, my mom took me to a studio. It was Shichi-go-san day meaning 7-5-3 day (November 15th). Japanese and Okinawans traditionally at those ages dressed in kimonos to have our photo taken and visit the shrine to be blessed. When I was 5, our family was stationed in Okinawa so I think we went to the shrine but I don’t remember. In two years, my sister would wear this when she was five too but in Duluth, Minnesota where the civilian American moms would ooh and aaah over how cute we were in our kimonos. Mom gave away this outfit to the Japanese lady  next door who like her had married an American GI. Soon afterwards the lady’s daughter was five in her turn. This month was mom’s birthday and the anniversary of her death two years ago, gone too, just photographs, memories and her children left behind. I look so solemn staring at the camera, my black hair piled high, carrying on my mom’s traditions. Nowadays my soft strands falls into a different pile, thinning to a memory, disappearing like so much does as you get older. Your hair, body, memories, photographs and even people all fade away with time. Letting go is not a philosophy; it’s a fact of life.

my black hair piled high
five years old, long time ago
solemn little girl

haibun by M. LaFreniere, all rights reserved

Writing Prompt

Haibun Road : a haibun weekly challenge (wk 6)
inspiration : black hair. Sogoro gave his up by shaving it off; I am giving mine up reluctantly to aging. Not all letting go is voluntary although we do learn to accept it … with semigrace.

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