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27 October 2009 @ 08:29 pm
Seabeck (Friday - Oct 16th)  

Having used up all my vacation days this year for the Ottawa/Montreal trip, I worked a half day before driving to LAX to start my haiku weekend adventure. It was a low-budget weekend getaway, which meant I was flying out of LAX via Southwest, but returning to Ontario via Alaska Airlines.

itinerary complications...
I watch pelicans fly
in a line

Genie Nakano was leaving LAX at the same time but arriving in Seattle an hour and a half earlier, due to my plane change in Sacramento. But, the plane had a flat tire! So, I quickly switched to an earlier flight but didn't know there was only one plane to Seattle from Sacramento.

the wait
for connection passengers
feathered clouds

Genie was waiting at the gate, we picked up her rental car and began the rainy drive to Seabeck. It takes an hour and fifteen minutes to drive there from SeaTac. Genie's GPS directed us through a back entrance which made it ridiculously difficult to find the conference center. Once on the grounds, we were christened with Pacific Northwest rain as we tried to find the right retreat group.

It was like coming home. So many of my favorite haiku poets were there - Naia and Billie Dee from Southern California, Penny Harter from New Jersey, Susan Constable and Vicki McCullough from Canada, and all the wonderful Washington Haiku poets...Michael Dylan Welch, Christopher Herold, Karma Tenzing Wangchuk, Tanya McDonald, Alice Frampton, Carole MacRury, and many, many more. Even more poets were due to arrive the next day.

We arrived in time for the "favorite haiku" session. Each participant was to bring a favorite haiku and be preparied to explain why we selected it. I sat next to Christopher Herold and coincidentally planned to talk about his "foghorn" haiku, which can be found online in Christopher's Three Questions interview on Blogging Along Tobacco Road.

This made for an interesting discussion. I talked about what I was doing when I read the haiku for the first time (I was on the Bremerton/Seattle ferry), my experiences with kayaking, and how I think a foghorn sounds ancient and lonely and scary. How I see a foghorn as a metaphor for fear. How lowering a kayak into the sound of that fear evokes a sense of embracing my fears, of gathering the courage to face them. Christopher spoke after me and thought it was interesting that I got the "embracing your fears" angle from the haiku, because it was actually there in its genesis. He talked about a particular kayak trip he took with his wife, who was afraid at the time of being on the water in a kayak. How she came to love it and afterwards they bought a kayak and continued to take kayak trips together. How he came to write that haiku.

Next, Carole MacRury gave a slide show of her photographs and then Michael Dylan Welch and Tanya McDonald conducted an anonymous haiku workshop that went into the wee hours of the morning. It was a wonderful way to start a great haiku getaway weekend.
Kathabela Wilsonkathleenwilson on October 28th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
loving the details
I love that you place your memories here, sharing, and it feels like we are there... I love the foghorn feelings, the haunting~ness was felt by me from early days on the NY bay in ferryboats and hearing them, even from homes where I lived, close to the bay... it was almost consoling for me though... the deep sound, unknown but constant, as if life was going on for sure on a deeper, unknown level and it called to us just lying in our beds at night, or doing the normal things of life... through the fog...
Sue Burkemount_oregano on October 28th, 2009 10:20 pm (UTC)
My family lived for several generations close to the harbor in Milwaukee and we considered the foghorn a morning announcement of the weather . . . even before we opened our eyes. For me the foghorn was sort of a greeting, a new day, and maybe you might need an umbrella. . . .

humid, humider,
humidest -- the lake condenses
and falls from the sky
Deborah P Kolodji: TreeSunsetdkolodji on October 29th, 2009 06:06 am (UTC)
I've been reflecting on this and I think it's not so much that foghorns are always ominous, but the fact that there was a foghorn and a kayak in Christopher's haiku. A kayak seems like such a fragile boat to be paddling in the fog.
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