Cloudcatchers Summer Ginko #60

Pop Denison Park, Ballina, NSW  
Thursday 28 January 2021

Cloudcatchers gathered for Ginko No. 60 at a lovely little seaside inlet, Shaw’s Bay, in Ballina, just north of the mouth of the Richmond River. Previously the group has celebrated each ‘noughty’ ginko at the site of our first gathering in 2005, at Brunswick Heads, but we have all aged since then. As most of our more senior and stalwart members are now reluctant to make the half hour drive in highway traffic, we ‘stayed home’, and the younger ones came to us.

Still in the search for ‘What makes a good haiku?’ we enjoyed reading snippets to each other from the recent ‘Windfall’, Issue No.9 2021 (edited by Beverley George, published by Peter Macrow of Blue Giraffe Press). We appraised a number of haiku by members, and also those of some highly respected haijin, savouring the process.

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Cloudcatchers Spring Ginko #59

Victoria Park Reserve, Dalwood via Alstonville, NSW
Thursday 22 October 2020

Victoria Park Reserve is at Dalwood, eight kilometers out of Alstonville on the Far North Coast of NSW. This was the group’s eighth visit to the rainforest remnant, a favourite venue.

There were seven of us. Although we kept our prescribed distance from each other, with no shared nibbles and no hugs, it was a relief to experience the familiar fellowship within the group as a ‘back to normal’ ginko.  

The threatened rain held off, and a gentle drizzle on one occasion enhanced that fresh scent that arose from the forest floor.

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Cloudcatchers Ginko #58 (winter)

Bangalow Weir, Far North Coast NSW
Thursday 30 July 2020

There was some hesitation regarding whether we could assemble during these times of social restrictions, but we found a way. Our winter ginko was held at an inland waterway (to avoid the chilly winter winds by the beach) and we were blessed with gentle sunshine.

There were seven of us who practiced social distancing. Each brought a folding chair, and we sat in the sun around a picnic table. No hugs, no touching, no books exchanged, no nibbles passed around, plenty of hand-sanitizer, and each brought her own food and drink so we could lunch together. (Strict social distancing was only relaxed for the taking of the photo.) Apart from sliding onto her back-side in wet mud by one of our members and another who went to her aid (there was no harm done) it was a perfect day.
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Cloudcatchers Autumn Ginko # 57

Thursday April 30, 2020

In view of the social distancing imposed upon us, it had to be different this time. Fourteen Cloudcatchers participated in a virtual ginko, each in our own home and/or immediate environment. The period indicated was between 10 am and noon, with 10 am being the time at which each poet thought of all the other poets taking part, doing the same thing at the same time.

The nature of this ginko meant that we could invite past members, now living at a distance, to take part. We were delighted that our beloved patron, John Bird, joined us in thought, and that three past members participated from Burleigh Heads in Queensland, the Mornington Peninsular in Victoria, and the Blue Mountains in New South Wales.

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Cloudcatchers Summer Ginko #56

There were ten of us visited Torakina Park, at the mouth of the Brunswick River, to participate in the Cloudcatcher’s fifty-sixth ginko. It was very warm, but the sea breeze contributed to our comfort.

The site had been chosen in the hope that our beloved founder and patron, John Bird, who lives in this area, might have recovered sufficiently from his heart surgery last June to be able to join us. And he did! It was the first time for eighteen months, and our delight at having him with us once more was immense. Yes, he does carry some physical evidence of his long illness, but maintains that lovely smile, that wondrous voice, and a hug for each one as warm as ever! He involved himself in the readings, and from his lips we received some guiding words and concepts once again.

A request had been made that participants bring up to five haiku written since our last meeting, on the themes of bushfires, heat and the festive season. These were read in turn around the table, and readers and listeners noted any that warranted workshopping after the readings. Continue reading “Cloudcatchers Summer Ginko #56”

Cloudcatchers Spring Ginko # 55

Alstonville
Thursday 14th November 2019

As with so many fellow poets around Australia, Cloudcatchers, on the Far North Coast of NSW, have been experiencing the trauma and uncertainty of the drastic bushfire situation. Although we are thankful that none has been personally damaged, some have relatives fighting fires, or are housing valuables of friends in danger. Smoke haze has been intense, and the sun, in a uniformly grey sky, was witnessed as a vague fiery red ball (even safe for the eye to focus), as it slipped down at dusk.
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Cloudcatchers Autumn Ginko # 53

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. Continue reading “Cloudcatchers Autumn Ginko # 53”

Cloudcatcher Summer Ginko # 52

Pop Denison Park, Ballina
Thursday, 31 January 2019

When reading any haiku journal, either on-line or hard cover, you will probably find that over 50% use sight as the featured sense. And yet we have five senses: sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste. This phenomenon was explored at the summer ginko of the Cloudcatcher group on the Far North Coast of NSW, at Pop Denison Park on the banks of Shaw’s Bay at the estuary of the Richmond River, in Ballina. Continue reading “Cloudcatcher Summer Ginko # 52”