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From the time I was a baby I’ve loved the moon. My parents told stories of me standing in my crib, slapping the wall in the middle of the night and calling out, “Where’d the moon go? Where’d the pretty moon go?”

They finally moved my crib beside the window so I could lift the curtains and see for myself, and so they could get a decent night’s sleep. My father calls me his Moonchild, and I’m still fascinated to the point that my vacations are usually planned around the full moon.

I awoke this morning thinking of a haiku by Mizuta Masahide, a 17th century samurai and poet. I contemplated it daily when I first became ill. It spoke to my inherent optimism, reminding me not to focus on my losses.

Barn’s burnt down
now I can see
the Moon.

The moon and her phases are nature’s way of showing us how life waxes and wanes. Masahide’s simple haiku is a profound metaphor for dealing with loss or change of any kind:

  • loss of your good health
  • becoming an empty-nester
  • divorce
  • moving from a home you’ve loved
  • change in jobs
  • death of a loved one

We will all have barns burn down, but remembering they’re part of the cycle of life, and realizing we have a choice how we view it will make all the difference in the quality of our lives.

“And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plow, lose my land… yes if I ever lose my hands, I won’t have to work no more.” Moonshadow by Cat Stevens. It certainly seems more graphic than I remember when singing along with it’s catchy melody back in the 70’s, but it speaks to our ability to see the Moon.

We all know women who have risen from the ashes, and we admire them. Rightfully so. They found inner-strengths and gifts they didn’t know they had, illuminated in the moonlight. Masahide’s haiku is about optimism, but it’s also about choice – where we focus our attention – on the Moon, or on the barn. My suggestion… Look up at the Moon.



  • Claudia Schmidt January 2, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    What a beautiful thing to be called Moonchild by your father. And, I love that Cat Stevens song. Happy New Year!

    • Donna O'Klock January 5, 2017 at 9:55 am

      Thank you, Claudia, and Happy New Year to you, too! Wishing you a wonderful one!

  • 1010ParkPlace January 3, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Lovely post, Donna! I was going to post something this week a friend wrote to me after I was diagnosed with breast cancer 12 years ago. We do rise again and again. XOXOX, Brenda

    • Donna O'Klock January 5, 2017 at 9:59 am

      Thank you, Brenda. We will crash and stumble, but rise we must!
      In a nod to Zappa: we must be the Mothers of REinvention!

  • Susan January 4, 2017 at 9:06 am

    Love this, Donna! And love the haiku–such deep meaning in few words. As I have crossed the 60-year mark, I think I’ll look at this as a “new moon” with optimism and wonder about what lies ahead. XOXO

    • Donna O'Klock January 5, 2017 at 10:02 am

      Thank you, Susan! New moons and optimism go together like peanut butter and jelly! Enjoy!

  • Nancy Kern January 5, 2017 at 11:13 am

    What a beautiful article, Donna. I love hearing your thoughts about the haiku. Now I have to go and listen to Moonshadow.

  • Leisa Hammett January 7, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    Oh, how I love this. Your IG about girlfriends brought me to your site, where I’ve spent the last 30 minutes. This one I tweeted, pinned and shared on Facebook. Beautiful. Thanks for publishing it. It’s been not too long since I’ve visited your site, Brenda. But longer since I hung out and nosed around this much. The images and the intentions are absolutely lovely. And the writing is good, too. Happy New Year. Your beautiful being inspires. May this year be one of smooth sailing. xo

    • Brenda Coffee January 8, 2017 at 6:43 pm

      I’m happy you returned and spent some time reading, Leisa. This particular “Moonchild” piece if by Donna O’Klock. Her writing is always thoughtful and inspiring. xoxox, Brenda

  • Jen January 13, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    I love that poem. The moon has always been special to me too. Xo

  • Nasrin January 23, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Dear Donna,
    Simply, what a Lovely post. Much love.

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