Looking Back at 2020 with Love and Gratitude

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

Haiku: Signposts

a blue and white whippet in a black jacket on the beach

a driftwood tree
springs from the sands
grateful of water

© Xenia Tran

two whippets in black jackets on the beach near the shoreline

This is the final day of a month-long series of writing prompts created by Discover. A very big thank you to Ben Huberman and the team for their inspiration and stepping in during these extraordinary times. It’s been a real pleasure to participate with so many creative bloggers.

Wishing you a wonderful Thursday and may you all stay safe and well,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/3.2 – 1/2000 s – ISO 100.

Becca’s Nurturing Thursday

Discover Prompt #30: Grateful

Wordless Wednesday: Grateful

Glen Affric

two whippets in black jackets walking on a forest trail with spring greens
a black whippet turning on a forest trail and a blue and white whippet walking towards the camera, both wearing black jackets
a cascading stream beside a forest trail with young green leaves on the birch trees

We are eternally grateful for all the beauty and bliss that nature brings us.

With love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/2.8 – 1/400 s – ISO 100 and f/2.8 – 1/250 s – ISO 100.

Wordless Wednesday

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Grateful

Blogoversary

a blue whippet in a purple harness running on tidal sands

This morning we received this lovely message from WordPress:

wordpress anniversary logo

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 3 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

… and we want to say a heart-felt thank you for walking along with us these last three years. It’s been a true joy to meet so many of you here while we leap across the sands …

a black whippet leaping acrosss the tidal sands

… show you how wonderful it is to get a second chance in life in a new home with a new family …

a black whippet and a blue and white whippet walking side by side on tidal sands

… and share the amazing beauty we find in nature.

seagulls preening and wading along the shore at low tide

Thank you for all the love, your support and your comments, your inspiration.

We wish you all a very happy Monday and a wonderful new week!

With love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ 200, Settings: f/3.2 – 1/1000 s – ISO 100, f/3.2 – 1/800 s – ISO 100 and f/3.2 – 1/2000 s – ISO 100.

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Walk

Tanka: Pilgrims

a black whippet leaping through a tidal pool towards the camera

new steps
every pilgrimage
a season
grateful that our souls should meet
the radiance of love

© Xenia Tran

a blue and white whippet and a black whippet running across the tidal sands
view across the Moray Firth at low tide with remnants of WWII defences in the foreground

We are celebrating Eivor’s Gotcha Day today and are so grateful we found each other in this life. Thank you for all the love and for helping us see the world through your eyes.

With love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/3.2 – 1/2000 s – ISO 100, f/3.2 – 1/2000 s – ISO 160 and f/4 – 1/1250 s – ISO 160.

Carpe Diem #1621: Kumano Kodo … Nakahechi Route

Tanka: Gratitude

two whippets dancing on the tidal sands

dancing
in a beam of sunlight
our gratitude
for love, home and family
forever in our hearts

© Xenia Tran

two whippets in black winter jackets playing on the tidal sands
a blue whippet in a black winter jacket leaping across the tidal sands

Today is Thanksgiving’s Day in the US and we want to take this opportunity to say a very big thank you to all our blogging friends for their love and support, our friends who work as volunteers in the shelters and everyone who helps to make this world a better place.

If any of you want to join Eivor and Pearl in their dance, here are Mumford & Sons performing their song ‘Guiding Light’:

With love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/2.8, 1/1250 s, ISO 100 and f/2.8, 1/2000 s, ISO 100.

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge #61: Thanksgiving

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Grateful

Paula’s Thursday’s Special: Pick A Word In November Y3 – Radiating

This poem features in Between Heather and Grass. If you haven’t read the book yet, feel free to take a peek inside:

look inside feature for Between Heather and Grass
Look inside …

Tanka: Counting Blessings

 

two whippets in winter jumpers running through deep sand

 

seagulls look bemused
when we fly through deep sand
inspired by stars
we rise in the mornings
count our blessings while we sleep

© Xenia Tran

 

two whippets in winter jumpers asleep in their dog bed

With love and Happy Thanksgiving to all our American friends who are celebrating today from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

 

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, settings: Action, 1/800 s, ISO – 100 and Portrait, 1/15 s, ISO – 400.

 

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Transformation

Frank J Tassone’s Haikai Challenge #8 – Thanksgiving

Forgiving Fridays: Letting Go of Right and Wrong

 

Haiku: Gratitude

 

two whippets in jumpers on forest trail in autumn

 

autumn leaves
an empty path is filled
with golden joy

© Xenia Tran

 

blue whippet in yellow brindle jumper running on forest trail in autumn

We wish you all a very happy Monday and a wonderful new week!

With love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

 

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, setting: Action, 1/800 s, ISO – Auto.

 

Daily Prompt: Gratitude

Carpe Diem #1290 – Spiritual Way – Haikus State of Mind – Zen

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Rounded

 

Quadrille: Dream Waves

 

black whippet with an orange ball chasing waves on seashore

 

words can barely capture dreams
whose wings caress the dawn

the world has so much beauty still
it wants to show us more

we are here to chase the waves
in shades of turquoise blue

our gratitude spills over
when blessings feel this true

© Xenia Tran

 

blue whippet with a pink ball leaping over tidal sands

We wish you all a very happy Monday and a wonderful new week!

With love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

 

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, setting: Outdoor Action, 1/800 s.

 

dVerse Poets Quadrille #38: Dreams

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Elemental

 

Tanka: Gratitude

 

lr-1000299ww

 

we watch
in awe and gratitude
nature’s gifts
unfurl above the clouds
from our beloved mountain

© Xenia Tran

lr-1000361-2ww

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, setting: iA.

This is our last post before we take a short break from blogging to celebrate Christmas with our loved ones. We will continue to share adoption appeals from shelters via twitter throughout the festive season and hope that all those souls currently in shelters will find the loving homes they deserve.

We want to say a huge thank you for all the love and support from the wordpress team, our followers and our fellow bloggers and we wish you a blessed Holiday Season and a very happy New Year.

With love from us all,
Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Carpe Diem #1102 Symphony No 4 Op 50 by Johanna Senfter

Daily Prompt: Calm

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Path