Deborah P Kolodji (dkolodji) wrote,
Deborah P Kolodji

Ginko Walk at Bolsa Chica

Yesterday the Southern California Haiku Study Group went on a ginko walk (a haiku walk) to the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Ten poets accepted the challenge for a morning of wildlife adventure - Peggy Castro, Margaret Hehman-Smith, G. Murray Thomas, Kathabela Wilson, Rick Wilson, Sharon Hawley, Genie Nakano, Christine Moore, Wendy Wright, and myself.

Upon our arrival at Bolsa Chica, there was immediate pelican action.

by low flying pelicans
I shrink

The los Amigos de Bolsa Chica volunteer organization hosts a free first Saturday "tour." This consists of five stations on or near the bridge covering birds of Bolsa Chica, endangered species of Bolsa Chica, ecology of Bolsa Chica, history of Bolsa Chica, and restoration efforts of Bolsa Chica. There was a ten minute talk at each station. We decided to listen to the first three volunteers and then proceed on our walk. We became immediately famous because when Phil Smith, the first volunteer, asked us why we were at Bolsa Chica, I told him we were there to write haiku. This was a first for them. He quickly notified the other stations so that when we arrived, they would ask "Are you the poets?"

Phil had a scope set up on the bend of the bridge, and we all took turns admiring the marbled gotwits and willets in the pickleweed.

Rick Wilson, Genie Nakano, G. Murray Thomas

Marbled godwits and willets

It was a big day for great blue herons and egrets. We probably saw 60-70 egrets and 4 different great blue herons.

At the end of our walk, we watched a territory dispute between a great blue heron and a great egret. The heron won but we all viewed him a bit differently after the incident.

an egret's squawk
in the pickleweed
big bully blue heron

Afterwards, we returned to Wendy's house for lunch and a haiku workshop. We drew from Christopher Herold's Seabeck workshop, "Feathering the Moment," adapting it a bit to the number of people and space we had. We generated a list of phrases and fragments we had collectively observed:

no clapper rails in the cord grass
sandy marsh waters
a snowy egret's yellow feet
the cracks of the footbridge
egret ousted by heron
big bully blue heron
the drone of the road
the squawk of an egret
the plover's head tucked under its wing
an island of egrets
underwater grebe
early fog
the pelican lands awkwardly
ebb tide

We then had a five minute exercise where we attempted to write haiku using combinations of two of these elements. Some of the haiku we generated were naturally very similar - Wendy and I both independently combined the island of egrets with the plover:

an island of egrets
the plover's head tucked
under its wing

This also happened in Seabeck - where several poets came up with the same juxtapositions from the given list. Christopher explains this as trying to find the lightning between the two parts of the haiku. It is a wonderful haiku-writing exercise.

Wendy Wright, Deborah P Kolodji

After the writing exercise, we had a haiku reading of the haiku we had written that day. Rick Wilson played flute interludes before and after we read the haiku, which added a wonderful new dimension to our day.

Rick Wilson

More photos are posted at Flickr:

I'm looking forward to our next ginko walk.
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