Watersmeet Virtual Ginko

Since last year’s “Haiku Windows” event at Fullers Bookshop where Watersmeet members celebrated International Haiku Poetry Day with customers and passers-by, we have continued to meet, interspersing monthly meetings with seasonal ginkos in various places – Cornelian Bay, The Botanical Gardens and Kingston Beach, followed by sharing our haiku over lunch.

photo: Mount Nelson by Ross Coward

The first ginko for this year was planned for 27th March at Mount Nelson. Ross Sampson Coward, our designated leader for the walk, came up with the idea of a virtual ginko. He visited the location, created a mud map and took photographs of the points along the way. He then emailed us:

Dear haiku poets

Watersmeet Ginko Friday 27 March now cancelled due to Covid-19 physical distancing restrictions.

Here are 15 images taken yesterday when I walked from the Truganini Memorial down to the frog pond. A warm afternoon, mostly sunny, light breeze. Disturbed two Bennett’s wallabies near the memorial. The cafe is open – only for take-away coffee and cake. From the top of the hill it’s an easy 15 minute stroll downhill to the flatter country around the frog pond. A mud map is appended. This was the walk I had in mind for our proposed ginko. Enjoy your haiku walks wherever, whenever they happen … yesterday, today, tomorrow.

The images and mud map are to give you a feel for the original planned ginko. No instructions, just suggestions. You may find one of the images below suggests a haiku … then write it. You may like to walk through each image and write a haiku from it. Or write to your own muse, your own haiku-gathering along the way of your ginko. 

My only request is that you share what you have written and/or photographs you have taken from the bare bones of your being in this moment.

Stay well. Stay safe. Be in nature. Cultivate easefulness in these strange times.

Cheers, Ross

Fortunately, the walking tracks, reserves and national parks had not yet been closed and we were each able to choose our path for our solitary ginko in our own neighbourhood, as well as taking inspiration from Ross’s prompts. The result was a feast of sharing haiku and photographs by email that in turn inspired more creativity and connectedness.

the frog pond at Mount Nelson by Ross Coward

Irene McGuire chose Risdon Brook Dam, just days before it closed to walkers:

“Ross, thank you for the brilliant idea, and then to each of you for making this such an important and enjoyable way to connect.
Kevin and I went to Risdon Brook Dam for our walk. But first we had a small picnic lunch. The parking lot was about two thirds full and people were scattered everywhere – observing all the social distancing, and some.

A concrete bridge that you must cross on the left-hand walk has a wire fence about four or five feet high. There is an additional barrier, six or seven foot high, to prevent someone from either jumping into the dam or onto the rocky abyss below. That has created a no-go zone, now colonised by lovely wind-seeded plants. Perhaps weeds. The yellow flowers were the brightest of the entire walk. So, this is my one haiku from the walk, though I have notes for another one or two.

            between the fences
            yellow flowers
            in full bloom

                                                Irene McGuire

Lorraine Haig chose to walk beside the Coal River in Richmond, as well as responding to Ross’s virtual walk, and delighted us with numerous haiku and photographs. Leanne Jaeger went to the Knocklofty Reserve close to her home where she gathered images to write from. Terry Whitebeach visited the Orielton Lagoon and also found haiku in her backyard, Jane Williams splashed in the waves at Cremorne Beach and I headed over the hill between Roches Beach and Seven Mile Beach. Ron Moss sent us a sequence written in response to Ross’s images.

photo of Ralph’s Bay by Lyn Reeves

We all felt blessed and enriched by sharing our poems and photographs inspired by our solitary silent walks. I share some of the photographs here with you – and hope that you enjoy them as much as we have.

Coal River, Richmond – Lorraine Haig

Leanne Jaeger, a talented poet who has recently discovered haiku, expressed the importance of haiku to her in these words:

For me haiku has ‘gratitude’ at its core – to observe/notice/become aware of things, even the minutest things – and then use creativity to express your observed experience/moment (whether good, bad, sad, amusing, whatever…) and try and turn it into a haiku – what better way of honouring this planet and expressing your appreciation of ‘what is’?

I think it’s so cool and I want to learn more as I go about my own journey…

So, we won’t let the enforced isolation stop us from holding regular ginko meetings. We can find new ways to connect and continue to encourage each other through sharing our haiku journeys.

Cremorne Beach – Jane Williams

Lyn Reeves – on behalf of the poets from Watersmeet.