Deborah P Kolodji (dkolodji) wrote,
Deborah P Kolodji

Winter in California

Some say that Southern California doesn't have a winter. Local poet Sharon Hawley recently spent two months in International Falls, Minnesota because she felt she had never experienced it. Her adventures are detailed on her blog:

When San Jose haiku poet Patricia Machmiller issued an invitation for a haiku workshop at her Monterey Dunes Colony beach house on the topic of "Deeper into the Seasons II: Winter," fellow Southern California Haiku Study Group member Wendy Wright and I were intrigued. As Wendy put it, "I don't have a lot of winter haiku. Do you? Winter lasts, what, three weeks in Southern California?"

And it's true I have notebooks and notebooks of spring/summer/autumn haiku but very few winter haiku. So on Saturday, Wendy and I set off to discover winter in California. We didn't have far to go. As we left Los Angeles behind us, there was snow on both sides of the I-5 in Gorman.

As we approached the Frazier Park exit, there was a long line of cars on the offramp. Families were taking their children to "see the snow." In Southern California, snow can become a sudden weekend tourist destination.

mountain traffic jam...
a line of pickup trucks
bringing home the snow

As Wendy and I continued North, we crossed over to the 101 via Highway 46. The almond orchards were still bare, but the hills were green from recent rains.

The sky remained blue until we started to approach the James Dean Memorial Junction. A black cloud appeared, the first we'd seen all day. Rain began to fall as we passed near the site where Dean died in a car crash on September 30th, 1955.

rain again
not even a skid mark
at the crash site

The sky cleared up again and the rest of our drive to Pacific Grove was filled with images. I took photos out the car window and Wendy and I composed a lot of haiku. There's something about two haiku poets in a car...the ideas just bounce off each other.

On Sunday, we got lost in artichoke fields in Castroville...

...but eventually made it to Patricia's beach house. Her home felt like a mini-Asilomar with the dunes and ocean.

There were horses on the beach and they made it into many of our poems.

winter beach
my feet
and horse hooves

Another sign of recent storms was the color of the waves. Usually the waves in the Monterey Bay are a gorgeous aquamarine. On Sunday, they were olive green and brown. Jean Hale's comment upon seeing them was "When did the ocean decide to go army?"

one set of footprints...
the brown waves
of winter

I now have a notebook of winter haiku.
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