A haibun is a combination of prose and haiku, with the haiku usually reflecting the writing, but not necessarily directly referencing it. It provides a personal perspective while still being detached; humorous and light, regardless of topic.
I learned about this style of writing from Loren Webster, who provided a particularly deft haibun today, about sexual desire and enlightenment, writing:
I’ve often felt in the past that that I would be a better person if I could free myself from my desires. After all, most great religions I’ve studied seem to imply that one of the first steps in attaining enlightenment is to free oneself from desire, particularly sexual desire.
As I’ve aged, in fact, I’ve comforted myself with the idea that as my sex appeal declined my desires also declined. Ideally, it seemed to me that the two would meet at the very point where pure enlightenment compensated for the fact that no woman in her right mind would even consider sleeping with me.
I chuckled when reading the last, a smile that froze on my face, as Loren acquainted his readers with the fact that he’s recently been diagnosed with another form of cancer. Operable, but not without side effects, such as medication that takes sexual desire but doesn’t leave enlightenment in its stead.
If I fuss and worry, I’m sure I will annoy Loren to no end, so what I’ll do instead is talk about hiking. It is, after all, a shared form of linguistics.
Perhaps these things work differently for women than for men, because I’m not sure that as I’ve gotten older my sexual desires have decreased. When I was younger, the drive for a ‘man’ dominated much more than today, but much of that was mixed with other complicated needs, such as reassurance that I was attractive, interesting, and above all sexy–that primitive little monkey in my head again, waiting to be mated.
What I’m finding is that I’m as sexual as I was in my younger days, but my sexuality isn’t necessarily tied up in ‘having sex’; I can also experience sexuality in my code, my writing and photography, and especially when I’m hiking.
I could even say that hiking is an erotic experience, but then I would have to bring in trite comparisons such as “when I touch the rocks of Castor Shut-Ins, I’m really touching myself”; or “the Slot was a crack in the earth — like a vagina waiting to be entered”. Then there would be the rocks thrusting skyward, like giant penises (or is that giant breasts?) and boulders and balls, or some such thing.
Oh, please. Why must all discussions of sensuality be reduced to a catalog of body parts? And why must all that is erotic be reduced to sex?
What is sex other than an intimacy and a passion, a fulfillment, and above all, a celebration of life? And isn’t this what I experience every time I complete a challenging hike, surrounded by the incredible beauty of the Ozarks, isolated from other people, and dependent only on myself?
It seems to me that rather than suppress one’s sexual desire to achieve enlightenment, one should give into it–to experience it in the wind, and touch it in the plants, and taste it in our drink, and above all hear it in our words.
Of course, I wouldn’t be adverse to the ‘real thing’, either. I am not celibate, only single. But I’m not dependent only on sex to find sexual completion.
Be well, Loren.
(Okay, okay, I’ll stop fussing.)