Looking Back at 2020 with Love and Gratitude

two smiling whippets in jackets on a mountain trail between heather and pine

The mild Winter that began in 2019 continues into 2020 and we go hiking in other parts of the Highlands and Perthshire to make the most of the ice-free roads. Waves of Gratitude, Love at First Sight and Windows of the Soul become the most popular posts in this period and reflect some of these unexpected journeys.

News of the pandemic begins to filter through and on 23 March the country goes into lockdown. We can only go out once a day for exercise, all non-essential shops and services are closed. Many people begin to hoard and panic-buy, leaving the rest of us without essentials.

village store
the parrot tells us
there’s no bread

© Xenia Tran

(Bundled Wildflowers, Haiku Society of America 2020 Anthology)

Spring still has a few cold days before the temperatures rise. Our most popular posts of the season are Spirit Mountain, Pink Moon Rising and Circles and Spirals.

Without traffic and tourists, our air, our beaches, river and sea become cleaner than we’ve ever seen them before. The birds and wildlife are rejoicing. It is truly amazing to see nature bounce back as soon as humans retreat.

shaded meadow
a range of flowers
surrounds our nest
the lockdown gives us time
to see each other clearly

© Xenia Tran

(Ribbons, Spring/Summer , Volume 16 Number 2)

At the beginning of July our travel restrictions are lifted and we venture out for the first time in four months, avoiding all the tourist hot spots. Because it is crowded in the places we would love to visit we continue to spend most of our time close to home.

I learn how to make videos and include these with our new Look Inside and Shopping features for Sharing Our Horizon and Between Heather and Grass.

Trust, Buck Moon and Memories in Motion are the most popular posts in Summer.

We donated dog food, dog bowls and other items on the Wish-List to DOTS (Dogs on the Streets) with the proceeds from Sharing Our Horizon and made donations to Dogs Trust and Children with Cancer UK with proceeds from Between Heather and Grass. A huge thank you to all of you who buy and read our books!

Autumn begins with sunny, mild weather and glorious trails for walking. Aureate becomes our most popular Autumn post and the most popular post of the year, closely followed by Chosen Route and Daydream.

Through an unusual sequence of online encounters I meet someone who turns out to be a distant relative. He is able to fill me in about part of my ancestral history. Another contact provides me with old film footage that features them and the village they grew up in.

all souls’ night
my great-grandparents
play in the snow

© Xenia Tran

(Autumn-Moon Haiku Journal, Volume 4:1, Autumn-Winter 2020-2021)

two whippets in jackets looking at the beach and sea from the dunes

As Winter arrives we look back at an unusual year. We lost people from our haiku community and our local community, many local businesses struggled to survive. At the same time nature and wildlife were thriving.

the air so clean
in our lockdown days
a healing
pulsing through the stars at night
where earthlight weeps and breaks

© Xenia Tran

(Ribbons, Spring/Summer 2020, Volume 16, Number 2)

tidal outcrops in the firth with a cormorant drying its wings

We got used to new ways of working, walking, shopping and interacting with each other. We wear our masks and keep our distance.

two metres apart
no one walks between our words
on the pavement

© Xenia Tran

(Haiku Dialogue: Connection with Others, Troutswirl, 25 November 2020)

close up of two whippets on a sofa

With so many people now working from home, adoptions from animal shelters increased. It was lovely to see so many dogs and cats from shelters we support find their loving forever homes and we hope this is a trend that will continue.

If you are thinking about getting a dog or a cat, please consider adoption as your first option. Please consider adopting an older pet too if you can. We have done this several times and it is very rewarding.

his grey hair
full of sunlight
the sea retreats

© Xenia Tran

(The Bamboo Hut, Number 4, 2020)

two smiling whippets walking side by side on wet tidal sands

We want to thank all our readers and followers for your support and inspiration this year. We had more time to write and there was a lot to write about.

Feel free to browse the monthly archives for posts about the support within our community, a tribute to a poet lost early in the pandemic, the Hope project and many more moments that made this year so special.

Thank you to all the editors and publishers who featured my work in journals, anthologies and special features.

Huge thanks to Eve, Frank, Kristjaan, Misky, Ronovan and the team at dVerse Poets for a great variety of poetry prompts, to Becca, Sheryl, Kristian, Brian, Christine, Emily, Heather, Katherine, Ping, Punam and Tracy for your wonderful writing prompts and to Cee, Jez, Paula, Sue & Gerry, Cathy, Terri, Amy, Ann-Christine, Patti & Tina for your fabulous photographic prompts throughout the year.

A big thank you to all the healthcare workers and people who kept us fed and cared for during the pandemic.

We wish you all a blessed, happy, healthy and creative New Year!

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia.

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Your Daily Word Prompt: Tidings

Word of the Day Challenge: Wishes

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #129: Favorite Images of 2020

Author: whippetwisdom

The stories, poems and photographs on this blog are the original creative work of Xenia Tran. Inspired by life in the Scottish Highlands and in awe of nature she gives voice to the wisdom of her two adopted whippets Eivor and Pearl.

67 thoughts on “Looking Back at 2020 with Love and Gratitude”

  1. Thank you for sharing this interesting walk through the difficult year. Your Beauties are a true bright spot of love and calm in these unsettling times. Your photos, thoughts and poetry are wonderful. I look forward to the year ahead, blogging along side you and your Beauties. Hugs to you all. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and your support throughout the year dear E.C. We look forward to your posts and blogging alongside you too! Blessings to you and yours for a happy and healthy 2021 and big hugs back from all of us here 💖💫 xxx

      Liked by 2 people

  2. A beautiful overview, selection of poems, and photo collages of your unusual, yet productive year, Xenia. With the bad came some good in 2021. Like you, I hope nature recovered a bit and adoptions remain steady.

    As for myself, my biggest accomplishment in 2020 was publishing my travel memoir, Plunge. Not sure whether you saw the cover yet. I hope so, because I think you will like it. 🙂

    A fabulous 2021 to the entire family!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and good wishes dear Liesbet and congratulations with the publication of Plunge! I’ve just checked the cover and it looks beautiful! 💙 A fabulous 2021 to you, Mark and sweet Maya too from all of us here 🤗💖🐕 xxx

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and your support dear Cathy 💜 It’s been lovely to read your reviews and see more of your beautiful photography too 🌺 We wish you and your family a blessed, happy and healthy 2021 and please give sweet Finn a big pat from us all 🤗💖🐕 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My Ponies and your beautiful Eivor and Pearl sure helped us get through this year. Thank you for taking us along on your journey and I always love reading your beautiful poetry! Stay safe, stay strong and may 2021 be a better year! Happy New Year! 💖🥂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and your support dear Diana, having animals in our lives is always a source of joy and this year more so than ever before 💛 May you, your family and sweet Zack and Chloe stay safe too and a very Happy New year to you from all of us here 🤗💖🐎 xxx

      Liked by 2 people

  4. You share it all Xenia, the positives, negatives and above all your optimism as it shines through the stirring haiku and glorious photos. So much of what you describe also connects with our Australian experiences. Stay safe Xenia as your country battles the new wave of this virus and as your mild Winter becomes colder enjoy snuggles with Pearl and Eivor.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and your support dear Denis, what a year it’s been. We are fortunate with so much nature on our doorstep and the positive spirits of Eivor and Pearl, who greet every day as if it’s a new adventure. We wish you, Jill and Maggie a wonderful Summer and a blessed, happy and healthy New Year 🤗💖🐕

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A thoroughly satisfying read, Xenia; all your beautiful images and poems.

    So much to be thankful for in spite of global challenges. All the unexpected positives that have occured: more doggies & kitties being adopted, slowing down given the new work situation, people around us stepping us in ways like never before.

    Appreciate so much the loveliness you bring to our space.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and your support dear Ju-Lyn. Despite this being such a challenging year there’s so much to be grateful for. All good wishes, love and blessings for 2021 to you and your family from all of us here 🤗💖💫 xxx

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Extraordinary work encapsulated in your beautiful post Xenia. The lens-artists team is proud to be a part of your community, and to have you with us as part of ours. Wishing you continued success, good health, and many moments of joy in 2021.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Xenia, I’m sorry I missed this post. Happy New Year to you and yours!

    The 2020 photos are gorgeous! You live in a beautiful part of the world and I’m glad you are able yo enjoy it with the pups. I hope you have a wonderful year ahead. Love and hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I found your blog via a comment you left on another blog, and now I am grateful to read your beautiful summary of a challenging year. My first encounter with whippets was in elementary school, when a friend’s parents brought their pack of whippets to run around our playing field. Wow!!! It is a gentle delight to look at all of your photos of Eivor and Pearl (wearing sweaters and jackets as the weather dictates) frolicking and exploring and resting. And I am happily surprised to find someone else named Xenia because one of my oldest friend’s children is named Xenia… May 2021 be kinder and gentler to one and all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words dear Will and for walking along with us here. It must have been a wonderful sight to see your friend’s whippets run around the playing field and I can imagine it would have been great fun for the whippets to be taken to such an open space for their zoomies. A wonderful synchronicity that one of your oldest friend’s children is called Xenia too. It’s lovely to meet you here and may 2021 be kinder and gentler to you and yours too 🤗💫

      Like

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