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.
This wondrous haiku struck me right away as a moment of deep seeing. The poet has taken us on a journey into the flower’s body and the feeling of exposing our petals, or skin, to the elements. After the chill of winter passes, we all can unfurl into the warmth of spring and the blossoming of life. So much is portrayed in a few carefully crafted words, which are the mark of a very fine haiku. I am very pleased to award this haiku by Nathan a very worthy first place in the Spring Seasonal kukai.
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.