Our scheduled meeting day, Tuesday 17th March, dawned under a cloud filled sky with rain forecast. The decision was made to stay with Plan A as the Oatley Park venue provided shelter if the weather went south.
Illawong Haiku Group held its inaugural meeting in June 2017 outside The Castle at Oatley Park so it was decided almost three years on to make a return visit. Little did we know that during that time the park had been given a major upgrade and there were numerous undercover tables and chairs to choose from in a more open area.
The sun came out, no rain came and with Corona Virus restrictions in their infancy we virtually had the park to ourselves so all in all perfect conditions to begin our meeting. Unfortunately Margaret Mahony was unable to attend but we welcomed two visitors, Margaret Ruckert and Alison Miller, who we hope will become regulars.
Carol brought along the picnic basket so everyone enjoyed a morning ‘cuppa’ and some homemade muffins before getting down to business.
In light of the dramatic weather conditions this summer, the set exercise was for everyone to write at least one haiku using Drought, Bushfire and Flood as kigo to use in a group sequence, similar to the one compiled by the Cloudcatcher group after Cyclone Debbie. We went around the table three times reading our offerings on each kigo with comments and suggestions for possible improvement. The best haiku by each member was chosen and will be put together as a group sequence and circulated. A selection from each kigo:
cattle scrounge in the dust
the best of human nature
as Australia burns
to drought stricken land
During our meeting we were entertained by a variety of bird life going about their daily routines. A pair of Rainbow Lorikeets were sighted visiting their nesting hole in one of the many majestic eucalypts which grow throughout the park. It was good to see the old steamroller, which has been climbed upon by many generations of children, had also received a makeover.
Over lunch we passed around our special haiku jug and enjoyed some of the best haiku written by others as well as some from our members. Many were taken from Echidna Tracks which provides free daily postings to subscribers.
In the time that has passed since our meeting and the writing of this report our lives have dramatically changed. In our new restricted environments we are in the best position to do more of the things we have not previously had time for – to write more and read more haiku.
A haiku a day is good for the soul
Report by Carol Reynolds