Chesapeake SPRING


.. .. .. .. The Chesapeake Saijiki - SPRING

The Chesapeake Bay is on the East Coast of North America.

Please read the general introduction here.

Please add your kigo and information.

M. Kei, April 2006
Editor of the Chesapeake Bay Saijiki


The Collection of Seasonal Words


.. .. .. SPRING

.. .. Season

.. .. Heaven

spring weather
Spring on the Chesapeake Bay is subject to violent variations in temperature, reaching 90 F during the day, then plunging to 20 F after dark. The winds will blow violently, roaring through the skies with little or no clouds, reaching gusts of 50 mph or greater. And then, just as suddenly, the next day, all is calm for a normal crisp spring day. As a consequence, insects, animals, and plants may be fooled into coming out early, only to be blasted by the weather.

While all places have the saying, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes, it will change,” in the Chesapeake Bay, especially in the spring, it can change with a rapidity and extremity that is both awesome and dangerous

World Kigo Database : Spring (haru)

yesterday was warm
on the frosty windowsill
a frozen hornet

~ Denis M. Garrison, US
Previously published in Haiku Harvest and Eight Shades of Blue, Lulu Press, 2005.

Somewhere far off the thunder rumbles as the wind begins to rise.

distant thunder--
wisteria racemes

~ Tei Matsushita
Previously published in Matsushita: a fusion of painting and poetry , 2003.

.. .. Earth and Sea

"my sea" I think
and embrace the

~M. Kei, US

.. .. Humanity

boat shows (late winter, early spring)
Boat shows bring merchants together to sell boats and related equipment and services to people hungry for warm weather but while it's still too early to work on their houses and gardens.

good little skiff
Each spring the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels builds a new ‘good little skiff,’ a lapstrake, flat-bottomed, sprit-rigged wooden boat. These little boats are very handsome and prized for their historic good looks and fine sailing qualities.

lapstrake and spritsail --
history glides by
on the waters of the bay

~M. Kei, US

haul out
Workboats, such as skipjacks, are hauled out of the water after the winter season and are repaired and prepared for the summer season to come. Recreational boats, most of which have been kept in storage over winter, are hauled out of storage and prepared for the warm season.

World Kigo Database : Ground Hog Day

Ground Hog Day;
my knees ache as I think about
crawling under the boat.

~M. Kei, US

swinging off the stern
a pot of geraniums
--the smell of varnish

~maXine caRey harKer, US
Previously published in News and Observer, Raleigh, NC.

home and garden shows
Each spring brings home and garden shows with merchants gathering to show off anything and everything that might be wanted.

quilts hung out
Associated with spring cleaning, those lucky enough to own quilts wash them and hang them on the clothesline to dry and air out before putting them into storage for the summer. Where clotheslines are lacking they may be hung on porch rails and fences.

tattered green and white
hanging on the line

~M. Kei, US

spring cleaning
The traditional spring cleaning in the Chesapeake Bay region will include horse barns and boats, as well as the house.

.. .. Observances

Cherry Blossom Festival
(April) Washington, DC, is home to thousands of cherry trees which bloom in the spring. Public events of all sorts are held in DC during that period and many visitors come to view the blossoms, enjoy music, food, culture, history, and shopping in the nation’s capital. The Jefferson Memorial presides over the tidal basin, which is ringed with trees that were a gift from the Japanese people.

Washington Monument with Cherry Blossoms.

.. .. Animals

Canada geese (Branta Canadensis) fly north
Canada geese, like many other birds, winter in the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding areas. We are the southern end of the migratory route for these birds, so we have them in reverse. This is one of the things that makes the Chesapeake different from much of the Northern Hemisphere: They arrive in fall and go home in spring! Unfortunately, many like it here so well they never leave, and the area now has a goose problem.

Read more about the Migrating Birds (wataridori)

ducks mating

egrets return
Chesapeake egrets are actually ospreys, see osprey.

great blue heron (Ardea herodias)
Widespread in North America, great blue herons stand up to four feet tall with wingspans up to seven feet. They nest in trees and bushes that stand near water and are especially fond of rivers, lakes, swamps, estuaries, and other protected waters. Herons principally eat fish, but they supplement their diet with snakes, birds, crabs, dragonflies, frogs, grasshoppers, and similiar creatures.

In flight they can be distinguished from cranes and other birds by the way they hold their neck in an S-shape.They typically breed from March to May and the female lays two to seven pale blue eggs. The parents take turns sitting on the eggs. They hatch in about thirty days, and the chicks fledge at about two months of age. Although they are solitary when hunting, they nest together in colonies, which in the Chesapeake are called ‘rookeries.’ Their eggs and young are preyed on by raccoons and other birds. They will abandon a rookery if a member of the community was killed there. The Chesapeake Bay is an extremely important habitat, about half of all Atlantic herons overwinter here.

herons soar
past the gunwale
hunting in pairs

~M. Kei, US

herring run
The herring run up the creeks and rivers during the spring, and herring fishermen can net as many as four thousand in a night’s work. Herring poaching is carried out by poor folks who sell the herring for ten cents each to bait shops.

European Hornet, Giant Hornet (Vespa crabro Linnaeus) --
European hornets are up to 1-1/4 inches long with the head and thorax red-brown and the abdomen black with yellow markings. They are a woodland species; they nest in hollow trees, attics, hollow walls, bird houses, barns, etc.. Nests are covered with a thick, brown papery envelope composed of decayed wood fibers which are quite fragile. Overwintering queens prepare nest sites in spring (usually, May), make the nest, and lay some eggs.

After larvae become adults, they begin housekeeping, nest expansion, hunting, and caring for new larvae. The nest grows in size and number of workers through summer and early autumn. Inseminated queens overwinter in protected places but, after the first heavy freeze, the other nesting hornets die out.

World Kigo Database : Bee, Wasp, Hornet (mitsubachi)

hummingbirds arrive (Trochilidae spp.)
Hummingbirds are found only in the Americas. They can hover in the air by flapping their wings rapidly. They drink the nectar of various flowers, which are often the same kind that attract butterflies. The plumage of the male is brilliant and glitters while that of the female is duller. They are only hours away from starvation at any given time, and must consume more than their own weight in food each day.

Rubythroat Hummingbird

Marsh wrens sing (Cistothorus palustris)
Male marsh wrens arrive before the female and build dummy nests. When the females arrive, the males court them, and the female builds the true nest. The eggs hatch in 13 - 16 days, and the young begin to fly at 11 - 16 days. Marsh wrens often group in colonies and sing in chorus.

the Long-billed Marsh Wren's
name was longer than the bird.
he's now just "Marsh Wren".

~Harry Armistead, US
Previously published in ‘Chesapeake Bay Haiku,’ Audubon Naturalist News, Feb, 2002.

Marsh Wren

mockingbird (Mimus Polyglottus)
A beloved bird, as it takes on the songs of the other songbirds. It is slim and gray with a long tail. Its tail and wings have broad white stripes, which are most conspicuous in flight. It is a fierce defender of its nest and can often be seen scolding and chasing cats, dogs and squirrels that it deems too close to its nest.

spring dawn
the mockingbird
sings the robin’s song

~ Susan Delphine Delaney, US

ospreys return (Pandion haliaetus carolinensis) --
Large birds with wingspans up to 5.5 feet with dark brown backs and wings, white bellies, and dark brown and white heads. The M-shape crook of its wings can help it be identified in flight. They often choose to nest on top of channel markers and train trestles and any other locations with good access to the water for fishing and a good line of sight for defense. During the spring they build their nests and lay their eggs. While most ospreys mate and begin producing offspring at age three, Chesapeake ospreys wait until they are five to seven years old.

During the winter they fly south, sometimes as far as South America. While ospreys are common the world over, nowhere are they as abundant as they are in the Chesapeake Bay. The Bay is home to nearly 2,000 pairs -- the largest concentration of ospreys anywhere in the world. This gives the Chesapeake one of its nicknames ‘osprey garden.’ Once endangered, the osprey is a symbol for the health and vulnerability of the Bay.

“Once my brother was down on the bay (he was the EPA photographer for 25 years). He had just come back from an egret's nest he was following. He saw the governor of Maryland walking alone on the shore. He got him to follow him back to the nest and took a picture of one of the babies in the governor's hands. Then on Monday, he sent the governor a copy of the photo, framed. Stealth environmental lobbying....” ~ Susan Delphine Delaney

http://www.discoveryvillage.net/osprey/ Osprey Cam

red-tailed hawks in pairs (Buteo jamaicensis)
A brown-headed hawk with a white throat and legs. The tail is rufous (red). The birds frequent both open and wooded areas and are often seen perched conspicuously on a treetop at the edge of the woods. The females weigh about three pounds and are larger than the males. The hawks prey mostly on rodents. Solitary most of the year, they fly together in mating season.

spring thermals
red-tailed hawks
mousing in pairs

~ Susan Delphine Delaney, US

.. .. Plants

azaleas bloom (Rhododendron spp.)
A popular landscape plant, related to heaths and a category of rhododendrons. Most cultivars are derived from Asian and other sources; however, a number of species are indigenous to North America. Those that grow wild in the Chesapeake region include R. periclymenoides, R. atlanticum, and R. calendulaceum. Thickets of wild rhododendrons and azaleas are quite spectacular.

World Kigo Database: Azalea (tsutsuji, satsuki)

Bee on Azalea

blue flag iris (Iris versicolor)
An iris native to eastern North America, ranging from Florida to Quebec. It is common in sedge meadows, marshes, and along streambanks and shores. A perennial, it grows 10 - 80 cm high and bears purple or sometimes yellow flowers. It has six petals, three upright and three falls. They are not bearded like garden irises. In some places they are mistakenly called 'Japanese iris.' In the Chesapeake rgion they bloom in May, but they may rebloom lightly later in the season in favorable conditions.

World Kigo Database: Iris (ayame)

bravely in the breeze
wave these soft blue flags in shreds
irises full-blown

~Denis Garrison, US
Previously published in Haiku Harvest and Eight Shades of Blue, Lulu Press, 2005.

Blue Flag Iris

cherries bloom (Prunus spp.)
The most famous cherry trees are those of Washington, DC, but ornamental cherries are widespread in the region.

World Kigo Database: Cherry Blossoms (sakura)

My dad was a photographer and a hobby fisherman. He was an historian of light and given to early awakenings. One Saturday each cherry blossom season, he would arise before dawn and hand squeeze the juice of oranges into a large thermos. Then he would awaken the five of us kids and bundle us, still in our pajamas and blankets into the car. He would drive us to the tidal basin and park in a spot where we could watch the sun rise through the cherry blossoms. We would sip the orange juice as we waited."
~Susan Delphine Delaney, US

cherry petals
on windswells

~Susan Delphine Delaney, US.
Previously published, Basho Festival, 2005.

chokecherry tree (Prunus virginiana) (April, Easter)
A common wild cherry tree of the eastern United States. It grows to medium size with a spreading crown and provides excellent shade. In spring it bears numerous white spikes of flowers which resemble candles. The tree bears small, astringent, black fruit in late summer, giving it the name of ‘choke’ cherry. It is an important food source for birds and was used as a food by Native Americans.

so beautiful the flowers,
and yet, chokecherry tree,
you are aptly named!

~M. Kei, US

dogwood blooms Cornus spp.
(April, Easter) Dogwoods are extremely common wild wood plants in the Chesapeake region. With its thorny center and red-tipped petals, many Christians regard the dogwood blossom as an allegory of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

World Kigo Database: Dogwood

after Easter,
the blossoms of dogwood
tinged with red

~M. Kei, US

Dogwood Blossoms

forsythia blooms (Oleaceae spp.)
Also known as 'golden bells,' are a bright yellow or occassionally white blooming hardy shrub grown throughout North America, but are native to Asia. Depending on the variety, they grow from 1 - 10 feet tall. They are rugged and tolerate pollution and other poor conditions well, so are often used as a landscape plant, especially in cities. They are also a food plant for the larva of some butterflies and moths. Their bright color is an early sign of spring.

piercing the snowbank
last year's forsythia
has begun to swell

~Denis Garrison, US

Previously published in Haiku Harvest and Eight Shades of Blue, Lulu Press, 2005.

Winter lingers still,
or are those bright mounds of snow
white forsythia?

~M. Kei, US

Previously published in ‘Wandering the County,’ Runner-Up, Lighthouse Poetry Contest, 2006.

peaches bloom (Prunus persicus)
A tree native to China that was introduced to the Mediterranean world aroud 2000 BC. It is a deciduous tree with blossoms appearing before the leaves in spring. It grows well in a limited range because it requires cold weather, but too much cold kills off the flowers, preventing the setting of fruit.

The Chesapeake is an ideal region for it. Five-petaled pink flowers are produced in early spring before the leaves; they are solitary or paired. Maryland peaches flower beginning near mid-May and the fruit is in season from the Early Red Havens in the last two weeks of July, to the Encore in the first two weeks of September. The peach is the state flower of Delaware, which occupies part of the Delmarva Peninsula, the eastern land boundary of the Chesapeake Bay.

my pregnant daughter
walking in her peach orchard
beautiful in bloom

~Denis Garrison, US

Previously published in Haiku Harvest and Eight Shades of Blue, Lulu Press, 2005.

Peaches in bloom

pears blossom (Pyrus spp.)
Pears are indigenous to the temperate climates of the Old World, including Asia, Africa, and Europe. They are medium-sized trees, often with a narrow crown that helps differentiate them from other flowering trees. They grow 10 - 17 meters in height. They bloom with white blossoms, occassionally with a pale tinge of yellow. A few species are grown only for decoration. The wood is used in making musical instruments, but the most common use is fruit for market.

Pear Tree Flowers

rhododendrons bloom (Rhododendron spp.)
A widespread plant, species are native to Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia. Of the more than 900 species, 26 are native to North America. Species indigenous to the Chesapeake region include R. arborescens, R. catawbiense, and R. maximum. It blooms in late spring and early summer. The most common kind are large shrubs with large purple flowers above leathery dark green leaves.

rhododendron thickets
purple patchwork on the
mountain side

~M. Kei, US

A common garden variety of rhododendron (Rhododendron adenogynum)

Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica)
Stalks of blue, trumpet-shaped flowers bloom March through June. They reach 8-24 inches in height above low green leaves. Bluebells can be found throughout the eastern half of the United States, and should not be confused with English bluebells, Scottish bluebells, or Spanish bluebells.

Virginia Bluebells

wisteria blooms Wisteria spp.
Native wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) grows wild in the margins of woods and can be seen blooming in profusion along highways and roads during the spring. The wild wisteria blossoms are a pale lavender on long ropy vines or they may occur as free standing trees. Cultivated wisteria, including Chinese wisteria Wisteria sinensis and Japanese wisteria Wisteria floribunda are no longer popular for gardens, as they can be invasive, eventually pulling down the trees on which they climb.

Purple haze on
the Susquehanna River--
wisteria in fog.

~M. Kei, US

Previously published in ‘Wandering the County,’ Runner-Up, Lighthouse Poetry Contest 2006.



All poems copyright by the authors and used with permission. All images, unless specified otherwise, are courtesy of the WikiCommons projectand are posted in accordance with the licensing agreement(s) accompanying each image on that site.


Chesapeake Bay Saijiki: Spring

Chesapeake Bay Saijiki: Summer

Chesapeake Bay Saijiki: Autumn

Chesapeake Bay Saijiki: Winter

Chesapeake Bay Saijiki: Non-seasonal topics, miscellaneous

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