On the shores of Lake Ainsworth, Lennox Head, Northern NSW
Thursday, 2 May 2019
Lake Ainsworth at Lennox Head is a freshwater lake just across the road from the Pacific Ocean. It is surrounded by tea trees that stain its depths with tannin. The Jali people of the Bundjalung Nation, the original owners if this land, recognised the healing benefits of the lake’s natural oils.
The Sports and Recreation Centre, at the opposite end from the picnic area, sourced the lake with a scattering of colourful sails. The laughter of school children came from boats, paddle boards, canoes and swimmers. Voices approached us through the even greater clamour of abundant lorikeets overhead. Seagulls came from the ocean to cavort in dark waters.
Ten Cloudcatchers gathered, regretting the absence of our beloved founder and patron, John Bird, whom we toasted in sparkling apple. Each poet brought contributions to two allotted assignments. One was a record of any published haiku written at, or arising from, a ginko. “This feature is designed to stimulate fellow writers to believe it can be done, so please don’t hesitate to contribute on account of modesty. The sharing of various aspects of common experience is a valuable gift.” Diverse haiku were thus honoured.
We repeated a previous exercise of bringing haiku written with the seasonal theme (kigo), specifically autumn/Anzac Day, presented anonymously on small pieces of paper. These were jumbled up and placed in five containers, to be distributed one to each pair. Haiku particularly ‘liked’ were recorded, before the container was passed to the next pair. The reading of the ‘likes’ followed, with an acknowledgement of the writer, and minimum discussion.
Janice Bostok was a huge supporter of Cloudcatchers from the beginning. Pam Smith, a worthy member for over ten years, offered the group a sumi drawing created by Janice and this stunning artwork was delivered to the ginko and has found its current home with one of our members. On the back is the notation: ‘Water Flows But What It Surrounds Remains’.
Nathalie Buckland led us into The Silence with these words:
I acknowledge the original custodians of the land we stand on today. This was an important place for the Bundjalung people. Not only was it a rich source of food, the lake was also a significant sacred place specifically for women. Today let us remember all those elders, of whatever culture, who have cared for this beautiful stretch of coastline. Let us tread softly.
The email Round Robin followed. One of our newer poets felt she is not yet ready to contribute. However, as she had offered some perceptive images during our round-the-table sharing, her permission was sought to distribute these, suggesting her words might stimulate the creation of haiku by other members. Many excellent haiku rolled in. Oh, the joy of shared creativity!