Monday, May 19, 2014

Dallawang ridge photos

Thanks to Noel Rath for these photos of a walk I led on 17th May, on King's Tableland.

The trail

The crew from UBMBC - looking southwest

Southwest - what used to be the Cox's river

Warragamba dam /Lake Burragorang to the south of our rock lookout - Butcher's creek v. far right

Southeast - Nattai in v. v. far distance, middle

Acacia terminalis ( sunshine wattle) flowering 2 or 3 months early

ditto - Acacia suaveolens

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dharma Gaia - Dr. Leigh Davison

Ingar pool -why? - because it's beautiful
 Dharma Gaia – on the Teachings of Buddha and Mother Earth



Leigh was the principal founding member of Sydney Zen Centre (1975 -1978)  and has been a leading member of the Dharmananda rural community (near Lismore) for over 35 years. He is the husband of Diamond Sangha Teacher, Ellen Davison. 

WILL SPEAK ON: Reflections on 35 years of trying to live sustainably. In a resource depleted and carbon constrained world successful human settlements will probably be those that achieve a degree of social cohesion using low energy, biophillic infrastructures that recycle nutrients locally, visibly and elegantly. But what are the obstacles that need to be overcome? (You might like to look up 'biophilic' in Google. It's quite interesting.)


A BRIEF BIO: In 1972 Leigh Davison, as a maths Ph.D student at UNSW read the Club of Rome Report "The Limits To Growth"and realised the shocking truth of this report in regard to a future with fully depleted resources based on ever increasing human consumption.

                   By 1979 Leigh and his wife Ellen had joined a group of others to form Dharmananda, near Lismore, an intentional rural community with the aim of living as simply and sustainably as possible - serving as a model and a hope for survival in a possible societal collapse in a resource deprived world.

                    From then until now Leigh and his friends have lived out the challenges of sustainability. Here are some of the modalities they have used/experimented with :   
  Permaculture,  biodynamic farming, organic gardening ( including Fukuoka no - dig method) , alternative energy systems and battery storage ( including pelton wheels), composting toilets, natural soil enrichment /enhancement , weed control and bush regeneration  , alternative building materials and design , grey water systems design and use , ways to encourage social cohesion on an intentional community...

                     Leigh has recently retired as lecturer in Water Resources Management for many years at Southern Cross University, Lismore. All of this remarkable experience makes Leigh wonderfully equipped to talk about workable models for our future sustainable survival. -Leigh talking about weeds

 FRIDAY 30 MAY, 6PM - 9PM.  Talk starts at 7pm (6 - 7pm discussion time)


Convenor: Peter Thompson (02) 9525 1926, Mob: 0408 507 906

Yellow Rock, BM's, after the fires

Acacia terminalis on King's Tableland, BM's, 17th May, flowering 2months early


If you'd like to catch up on what has been happening so far at the Dharma Gaia, please try these links (I hope they're links).

Susan Murphy on the radio:

The Facebook page, Dharma Gaia has links and a great petition from dharma teachers world-wide. Just put 'Facebook dharma gaia' into Google and it will take you straight to the page. 

 DG is also on 'MeetUp'


Monday, May 5, 2014

Haiku ginko at Ben Roberts cafe

chipped toenail polish
the end of daylight saving -
autumn at last!

And what a perfect season to teach a group of storytellers about the art of writing haiku! The weather at Lawson in the Blue Mountains on Saturday the 26th of April was kind - not too cold, a fresh breeze, the odd bit of sunshine. We began our day by meditating at the Girl Guide Hall in Honour Ave. Then we walked through the autumn leaves in the middle of Honour Ave to Ben Roberts café, our home for the day.  Carolynne welcomed us with much-needed coffees and teas. After learning what makes a haiku, the group stepped out for a ginko - haiku walk. I am a believer in writing from life - writing while walking. In this way it can support a meditation practise, it makes you pay attention to what is unfolding around you. How can a haiku that one dreams up at one’s desk - some people call this a desk-ku - have makoto, sincere feeling? This was a quality that haiku poet Shiki (late 19th century) said should be found in good haiku.  He believed in the shasei (sketch from nature, and also in writing only one draft.

Here’s a haiku that works as a first draft, written by Gilion:

Sigh of wind
Car door slams

And here is one of mine, about a flower which I have tried again and again to capture.

sunshine wattle
wants to stage its show
too early

Acacia terminalis is hard to miss, and is one of the greatest pleasures of a late winter walk - or used to be.  I have noted the earlier and earlier flowering of this plant, in the 23 years I have been living in the Blue Mountains. The week before the haiku workshop I was in the Upper Mountains for a meditation retreat with Patrick Kearney, which involved lots of walking. Bizarre! I thought, when I saw the terminalis up there, replete with flower buds. It usually flowers up there in August,  the windy month. Plants always flower a bit earlier in the mid- or lower mountains, because the lower altitudes have a warmer climate. Near the bridge there was a terminalis with one flower open. Maybe terminalis is the ‘canary in the coalmine’ plant, as far as the changing climate is concerned. Suzy has been living on the land and she said, “Nature is going haywire”.
A. terminalis on King's Tableland
Another first draft:
a candelabra of banksias
resisting wind
              point to heaven 

We had a lovely walk down the creekline, and made it as far as the first bridge on the track to Adelina Falls.

Great master Basho (17th century) was at the opposite end of the spectrum as regards revising haiku. In his life as a professional haiku master, he wrote only 1,000 haiku, or should I say completed?

 Back at the café we were refreshed with home-made lemonade and lunch - yum, gluten-free orange cake with cream!  Then the ‘Basho’ work began over coffees, on haiku that didn’t seem to quite gel. We workshopped these as a whole group, just as a writers’ group would do, trying different words, a different word order, subtracting the unnecessary -  here are the results.

First Draft:
Final version:

Water lying in puddles
show movement
- waterfall.
Now whitely falling
brown puddles
barely moved.

Where is the River?
Up in the trees burbles
Cheeky wind.   Shh.
A River?
In the trees
Cheeky wind burbles.

Dark crimson centred
Heart shaped toadstool
Insect etched white spots

Dark crimson heart
Toadstool etching -
Insect craft

But this one showed the most change, and became a haiku which implies much in just a few words. As Master Basho said, “What is so great about saying everything?”

A broken tree
Reflected in the pool
it feels like home.
Whole tree
Broken in reflection -
Looking in the pool
Suzy Flowers

This haiku is full of feeling -  makoto. It took us quite a long time to wrangle this haiku into shape.

Here is one of mine, revised at home.

Faint frog
as the aeroplane’s drone
fades away
Faint frog ‘blurk’
as the aeroplane’s drone
fades away

My thanks to the Girl Guides, Lawson group for the use of their hall, and to Carolynne Skinner at Ben Roberts café for hosting our workshop with such warmth and generosity.

Saturday arvo
the sportsman’s roar
carries through the trees