Once again health problems of some of our older poets limited travelling further afield, and once again the Cloudcatcher winter ginko for 2022 was held at the Alstonville home of Quendryth Young. There were five poets in attendance, with three others joining us in virtual participation from their own homes.
Alstonville (northern NSW) on Thursday 2 June 2022
Because of constant rain, with no hope of a fine day on the horizon of the weather forecast, the autumn ginko was pushed into the first week of winter. As all of our favourite local sites for a gathering were water-logged, knee-high in grass and debris, or otherwise not suitable (pot holes, or water over the access road) we met at the home of Quendy Young in Cedar Court, Alstonville.
Thursday 24 February (summer) 2022 Home of Quendryth Young, Alstonville NSW
Present: Laurel Astle Coffs Harbour NSW Robbie Braithwaite Tregeagle NSW Nathalie Buckland Lismore NSW Helen Davison Lismore NSW Quendryth Young Alstonville NSW Norma Watts Ballina NSW (part-time) Angela Smith Byron Bay (virtual ginko)
Somehow it had been difficult for the Cloudcatchers to settle on a suitable date for our summer ginko this year, but eventually six of us were able to gather on the last Thursday of the season, with another joining in by participating in a ‘virtual ginko’ at that time.
Here on the Far North Coast of NSW the weather has generally been kind this year, with no long stretch of heat, and no bushfire warnings. However the dreaded summer rains descended this week, with rising waterways and flooding, but fortunately none of our members was water-bound.
Virtual Ginko (in our own homes/environs) Thursday 28 October 2021
Once again illness and the family situations of some members prevented the group from conducting the preferred outdoor seasonal gathering. And once again Robbie Braithwaite stepped forward to organise and conduct the proceedings of a virtual spring ginko, held on the Far North Coast of NSW, on Thursday 28 October 2021.
Eight of us, from seven different locations, thought of everybody else taking part at 9.30 am, and proceeded to maintain silence, to observe and write for at least an hour. A Round Robin followed, with writers submitting haiku for comment. Responses were redistributed by Robbie, with feedback being both positive and constructive.
The photograph below was taken by Robbie, who lives in the Tregeagle area of the Northern Rivers of NSW. Perhaps it is the same all over Australia, but this year, in this area, the display of jacarandas in bloom has been stunning.
Virtual Ginko (in our own homes/environs) Thursday 12th August 2021
As we were in lockdown on the Northern Rivers of NSW, the majority of members, loathe to cancel the ginko altogether, chose to participate in another virtual gathering. As Quendryth had some personal family issues at this time, Robbie Braithwaite stepped forward to organise and conduct the proceedings.
Nine of us, from seven different locations, thought of everybody else taking part at 9.30 am, and proceeded to maintain silence, to observe and write for at least an hour. Once again we experienced the camaraderie of another virtual ginko.
Thursday 29 April 2021 Virtual ginko 10 am onwards
As a number of our members were experiencing tricky personal situations, our autumn ginko became a ‘virtual’ one. There were ten of us, each maintaining silence in her own home and/or environment on the Far North Coast of NSW, ranging from Murwillumbah in the north to Coffs Harbour in the south, with one member joining us from Avalon in Sydney. Commencing at 10 am, each poet thought of every other participant, and then proceeded to observe and write for at least an hour.
What an incredible bonding the stimulation of haiku images has delivered to us once again, as we savoured the camaraderie of another ginko.
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.
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.