A dawn harbor, safe haven for sailors. The smell of salty rope, of tar, the sulfur of piled kelp, but also the bracing smell of the sea itself, a breeze coming in and sun now on the waves, liquid sparks, one might think, coming from the meeting of sky and sea. The horizon is close. There are a few boats on the water made of wood harvested from trees that once stood rooted in the earth. The breeze is a wind now. Sails are hoisted and unfurl like enormous leaves growing impossibly fast, mostly white or gray and few red. They belly out, taut as the necks of horses straining for freedom and the sailors fill with excitement, and maybe some hesitation. “Where are we going?” someone calls out, not really expecting an answer, but an answer comes: “Far away and maybe back again.” Laughter.
Where are we going with this section of troutswirl? I say we because, more than other sections which may stand alone without comment or participation and still provide sustenance to visitors, Sails cannot. It requires participation. You and I are literally the wind which will help carry this boat out on a voyage of exploration. And what will guide us? Our keen interest and involvement with haiku, as readers, writers, and scholars. It is this interest which naturally leads us to ask questions, to want to know more, or to challenge all-to-comfortable ideas and beliefs. Where, apart from its origins in Japan, does haiku come from? Is it poetry, and in what ways? As it has been compared so often to photography, is it a snapshot taken by a tourist in an exotic locale, or a carefully thought out and painstakingly printed photograph by someone like Ansel Adams? Can it be both, and variations in between? So many questions.
And so many ways of considering them, like yours and yours and yours. And so, metaphors aside, Sails is a forum where these and other questions central to haiku will be presented, and where you and I will have the opportunity to speak, briefly, at length, loudly, in a whisper, errantly, mysteriously, provocatively, gladly, tremblingly, excitedly, agreeing, disagreeing, but mostly I hope, respectfully, knowing that each voice is important. To respect, after all, is to look again, to be worthy of being seen as having value. In Sails we will be looking at many things, and maybe seeing a few of them from new perspectives, as if for the first time. Friends, shake out your sea legs!