Editor’s Note: This occasional column by Bronwyn Fryer highlights the special people who are helping others during the coronavirus crisis. To nominate someone whom you think should be profiled, send an email to email@example.com
If you have walked Hebert Road in Montpelier lately, you might have seen a posted photo of a forest, accompanied by the following haiku:
“White winter stillness
Waiting, waiting, until — pop!
May doing May green” — Sarah Hooker
or this one, accompanied by a photo of tiny pink flowers at North Branch Nature Center:
“Hawks guard chartreuse trees
Ephemerals paint woods floor
Streams sing water notes” — Rachel Senechal
or this one, with a picture of Marilyn Monroe, on Winter Street,
“Sing happy birthday
two times while washing hands, or
as Marilyn Monroe” — Karen Schultz
or this one, also at the Nature Center:
How many times
will a walk in the woods save me?
The tally goes up.” — Michelle Singer
Tucked around the city’s neighborhoods and the Nature Center paths, the delightful haikus are like Easter eggs that invite passersby to stop, read, and ponder. (I admit that I had to do a double take on the Marilyn Monroe one, until I remembered her slow, sensuous song to President Kennedy).
The haiku postings are the brain children of Anne Ferguson, a “joyfully retired” citizen who believes that the arts are particularly helpful in hard times. Knowing that people are spending more time getting their exercise by walking, she asked the Montpelier Senior Center and the library to solicit residents for haikus, which easily fit on a poster because they are short.
To date, 32 such tiny poems, mostly created by Montpelier residents, have been posted around town, each accompanied by a photo. Each of the poems’ creators also chipped in a $5 donation toward the Just Basics food pantry or the library.
Capitol Copy gave a Ferguson a generous discount toward the photocopies and lamination. The posters will stay up until the first day of summer, June 20.
“This project has been fun for me and for the participants,” Ferguson says. “I tried to put the posters on quiet streets where people might come upon them. Sometimes they’re on the front lawns of the writers’ houses. I put some of the nature-based ones at the Nature Center.
“I feel the arts can express things in different ways, and this project gives people a focus that is fun, interesting and different. And this is a good way to support the food bank and the library.”
Consider signing up to volunteer to support the state’s response to COVID-19 at vermont.gov/volunteer.
Bronwyn Fryer is a writer who lives in Montpelier.