Friday, February 12, 2016

Carpe Diem #917 direction

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Last Sunday my wife and I were on an adventure. We took the bike to explore a view new districts in our hometown. Nice new buildings, awesome mansions and a lot of "new" nature, like parks and ponds. After a while we entered a district with all expensive villas and than we were lost ... We had to ask the way out of this district.


Today's post is about "direction" and Hamish has written a nice essay about it. As I told above my sense of direction is not great. Of course I can find my way out in the districts I know, but as in the above example new districts is something else. After visiting these new districts a few times I will for sure find my way out, but it takes some time to adjust to those new districts.

lost in time
overwhelmed by the beauty
of the sunset

© Chèvrefeuille

Sunset with Reeds

Hamish on Direction

Some of us have it, some of us don't. Magnetoception (or magnetoreception) is the ability to detect the direction one is facing based on the Earth's magnetic field. Directional awareness is most commonly observed in birds. It has also been observed in insects such as bees. Although there is no dispute that this sense exists in many avians (it is essential to the navigational abilities of migratory birds), it is not a well-understood phenomenon. One study has found that cattle make use of magnetoception, as they tend to align themselves in a north-south direction. Magnetotactic bacteria build miniature magnets inside themselves and use them to determine their orientation relative to the Earth's magnetic field. The question of how useful magnetoception may be to human beings is subject of ongoing research.
Scientists have made sense of why some of us have no sense of direction, and have pinpointed signals in the human brain that determine how good we are at navigating. This inbuilt compass tells us which way we are facing and works out which way to turn to go where we want. And in those with a poor sense of direction, the signals are fuzzier.
London cab drivers who have memorized London's 25,000 streets and landmarks have a very well-developed sense of direction. Only around half of trainees finally make the grade as London taxi drivers by passing a London map Knowledge test. Study of these cab drivers showed they seem to have a type of “homing signal” has been thought to exist for many years, but until then remained purely speculation. The results of the research provided evidence to support the idea that our internal “compass” readjusts as we move through an environment. If you get lost after taking too many turns, this may be because your brain could not keep up and failed to adjust your facing and goal directions.
How can you show sense of direction in a haiku? How about walking towards the sunset, or sunrise, or facing northwards for a reason. Explore your sense of direction through your haiku today!

My response

Direction ... is it possible to catch that in a haiku or a tanka? As I think of "undou" (movement), one of the Haiku Writing Techniques, than I think direction can be caught in a haiku or tanka too. So I have given it a try ... and came up with these tanka:

a whispered prayer -
pilgrims on their way to Santiago
walking the Path of God
reaching out to their deepest thoughts
seeking the Light

seeking the Light
while chanting psalms or mantras
pilgrims on their way
enjoying Mother Earth's beauty -
a whispered prayer

© Chèvrefeuille
Camino Sign Pointing the Way to Santiogo Di Compostela

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until February 15th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, Pain, later on. For now ... have fun!


  1. Really wonderful first haiku there, absolutely - and very spiritual tanka roll there - nice to see you really on form Chev..

  2. Wonderful tanka, Chevrefeuille :)