Cloudcatchers: Ginko No.49 (autumn) Meldrum Park, Ballina

10 May, 2018

It is not easy to organise a ‘tidal flat’ ginko, as we have to find a low tide at mid-morning, on a Thursday (our chosen day) in the middle month of the season, not in school holidays. We have been waiting eighteen months for these conditions to coincide, but after two wet ginko, this date, for a number of months, had also been predicted as ‘raining’.

But, lo and behold, it turned out to be a gloriously bright and sunny day after all. Nine Cloudcatchers met at Meldrum Park, on the estuary of the Richmond River in Ballina. The topic chosen for the ginko was ‘kigo’, and a short paper on the subject, written some time ago by John Bird for Haiku Dreaming Australia, had been previously sent out for preliminary reading. ‘Anzac Day’ was the seasonal word chosen for focus, prior to this national day, and poets brought haiku on the subject to be shared.

John presented for us an over-view of kigo in Australia, indicating that many seasonal words do not translate well between regions, so it is unlikely that an Australian saijiki (list if kigo) will ever be established. However, the concept of ‘objective correlation’ was expounded, and some of us introduced this phenomenon into our writing.

A clear sky was reflected in the blue tidal pools, some of which were pierced by mangrove aerials. A group of rocks on the sandbar slowly arose as pelicans. Blue soldier crabs of varying sizes were out in abundance and featured plentifully in our notes, and any murmur from distance traffic was overshadowed by the whispering scuttle of a million tiny claws. As the incoming tide lapped at the shore, tiny crabs surfed the wavelets.

After the silence we gathered to share our first drafts. How bonding this activity is! How diverse the collection of images, though we had each observed the same location! We lunched together at a local café where we indulged in excellent food and even more enchanting camaraderie.

Cloudcatchers A May 2018
Helen Davison, Nathalie Buckland, John Bird, Quendryth Young, Vivien Royston


Cloudcatcher B May 2018
Low tide, Richmond River, Ballina – note the tiny soldier crabs
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