Report by Quendryth Young
At last the drought has broken and we are overjoyed, but quietly disappointed that it rained on our ginko. Ten of us gathered at the site of the old Bangalow Weir, which was constructed across Byron Creek in 1924 to create a swimming pool for local residents. Carnivals were held over many years, and even attracted Olympic champions (such as Andrew [Boy] Charlton and Arne Borg, the Swedish swimmer).
Cloudcatchers first held a ginko here in summer 2007, again in spring 2008, spring in 2009, autumn in 2011 and winter in 2016. We watched the weir deteriorate, but restoration work in 2016 and local involvement in replanting has saved this iconic feature. A fishway was constructed to facilitate the movement of Australian bass swimming upstream, and includes habitat for platypus. A sign by the creek reads:
‘Jahna ngali garimaleh jogun’ or ‘Let’s stand together look after country’.
So much to observe through the drizzle – even the birds kept chirping, flitting, strutting. The ring of stones ‘talking circle’ and the playground swings were wet and empty, but after the silence the under-cover picnic tables allowed us to write, read our first drafts and workshop to our hearts’ content. Around us stood huge Maritime Pines with their patchwork bark, and tall white-trunked gums, along with the ancient Bangalow Palms, some with collars of golden fruit. All are held within the U-bend of the flowing creek, which ends up in a reservoir to become our drinking water anon. Nearby, workmen erected a butt bin.
There were among us three folk who had never before written a haiku. With this in mind the theme of the day was ‘simplicity’, and we shared haiku from experienced poets to illustrate the desirability of ‘focus’. Interestingly, most of these were about insects! We were so fortunate to have our patron with us. John Bird spoke of the simplicity of Issa’s work, recommending it for preliminary reading, and quoting examples. (Remember the dung beetle?) In this new and ancient place there was plenty of wabi-sabi to be explored, and images rich in wetness.
Close to this venue is ‘Heritage House’ – a delightful old timber cottage holding many museum items, where we enjoyed lunch together.
Thursday, 12 October 2017