September 20th, 2012


HPR - Day One

A fishy smell hangs in the air. White caps crash against cliffs. Monterey Cypress grows spectacularly out of rocks. A family of deer grazes for dinner. Pelicans fly in a line, low over the water. A great egret stands on a kelp bed. Cormorants dry out their wings. A harbor seal lies on a rock offshore. Sea lions yelp on the other side of a rock island.

This is Point Lobos.

the places
we return to...
branching beach aster

It is September 5th and haiku poets are gathering in the Piney Woods Picnic Area. I step out of Naia's car to see two of my favorite tanka poets, Amelia Fielden from Australia and Marilyn Hazelton of Allentown, Pennsylvania. Then, I hear a Russian accent, turning around to find Zinovy Vayman, who I met a year ago in Boston at a meeting of the Boston Haiku Society. A mini-van arrives with the coolest license plate ever.

It is Charlie Trumbull's plate.

The Nomas are here from Matsuyama, Japan and Katherine Munro is here from Whitehorse in the Yukon Territories. Alan Pizzarelli and Donna Beaver are here from New Jersey. Everywhere I turn there is another familiar face or a familiar name on a nametag. It is the perfect way to start Haiku Pacific Rim.

We divide into small groups and California State Park Rangers lead us on natural science walks around the reserve. Here is our group:

photo by our park ranger guide

of an underwater landslide
sea lions

Afterwards, we drive to Asilomar, just in time for dinner.

Jerry Ball welcomes everyone to the 5th Haiku Pacific Rim Conference, then we read our poems from Caught in the Breeze, the conference anthology. The name is from one of Jerry's haiku:

caught in the breeze
the fallen leaves
chase each other

- Jerry Ball

We break into small conversational groups until everyone drifts away into the night. Wind softly blows through the dunes and we dream poetry.

(unless noted otherwise, all poems and photos (c)2012 Deborah P Kolodji)