Looking Back at 2021 with Love and Gratitude

a black and white whippet in a winter jacket on a sun-lit forest trail

First of all we want to say a huge thank you to all our blogging friends, fellow poets, photographers and prompters who make this such a wonderful space to meet and share in these extraordinary times.

We are also grateful to the health service, rescue services and the large number of volunteers who continued to provide support for people and animals in need throughout the year – your work has been amazing.

We’ll reflect on the year season by season, listing the posts you liked the most.

two whippets in winter jackets on the beach in the snow

The year began with new travel and meeting restrictions in place and we enjoyed a rare covering of snow. With less traffic, the air quality improved and wildlife moved into town.

all is quiet
in winter’s lockdown
nature gives
and we gratefully receive
the deer near our windows

© Xenia Tran

Ribbons, Spring/Summer 2021, Volume 17, Number 2

The most popular posts in Winter were Shapes and Shadows (also featured in EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2021), Blanket of Snow, Light in the Glen (first published in Autumn Moon Haiku Journal), Festive Memories, Stepping Stones (later featured in Poetry Ireland’s Weekly Prompt Series), and Serendipity.

Travel restrictions were gradually lifted throughout Spring and we had more freedom of movement. The season of fresh growth and flowers also brought the unexpected loss of one of our much loved vets in a mountain accident and the sudden loss of a dear friend who died of a condition she did not know she had. Our thoughts and prayers are with their family and friends for whom this is the first Christmas and New Year without them and with all of you who have lost loved ones this year too.

shenandoah
a shaman plays
the piano
past the sorrows, new rivers
flow into this world

© Xenia Tran

Ribbons, Fall 2021, Volume 17, Number 3

The most popular posts in Spring were Faery Spotting, Ancient Harmonies (featuring the Baglama Saz), Earth Tones, Wild Voices, Sometimes the Wind and Flower Moon, a tribute to our vet Martina.

We were blessed with a long, warm Summer. People travelled from far and wide to spend time in the Highlands and most of us stayed close to home to avoid the crowds. In the season where it barely gets dark the days were long enough to make a few day-trips to quieter places.

waiting or leaving
the choices we make
when we’re free

© Xenia Tran

Asahi Shimbun, 31 December 2021

water flowing down through a rocky gorge

We were delighted to be able to continue to support three charities close to our heart with the proceeds of Sharing Our Horizon and Between Heather and Grass:

The most popular posts in Summer were Dreamtime, which was also the most popular post for the year, Waves of Grass, Walking Back in Time, Kinship, Waterfall (later featured by Catherine Ann Cullen in Poetry Ireland’s Poet in Residence Blog) and A Fair Wind.

The warm temperatures from Summer continued into the first half of Autumn before the weather turned. With fewer tourists, this was the perfect time to roam again.

cinnamon tea –
the warmth that fills
an autumn evening

© Xenia Tran

Autumn Moon Haiku Journal Volume 5:1, Autumn/Winter 2021-2022

two whippets climbing over rocks on a hilly forest trail

The most popular posts in Autumn were Autumn Sun, Soul to Soul, Moon Gazing, Autumn Turns, Trees for Life (about our new involvement with the Trees for Life Conservation Project) and One Breath.

We want to say a warm-hearted thank you to the international haiku and tanka journal editors who featured my poems throughout the year.

Special thanks to Mr Hidenori Hiruta of the Akita International Haiku Network, who translated ten haiku poems by me into Japanese for the World Haiku Series 2020.

We were honoured to contribute to three anthologies in 2021:

… and delighted to contribute to two calendars for 2022:

Thank you again for all the love and support throughout the year.

two whippets by a dog bed looking up at the camera

As we wrap up and prepare to sing Auld Lang Syne, we send you our warmest wishes for a healthy and happy 2022.

May you be blessed with joy, peace and wellbeing!

With love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Finale

Word of the Day Challenge: Auld Lang Syne

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #180: Favorite Images of 2021

Tanka: Halo Around the Sun

a black and white whippet in a winter jacket running through the dunes

happiness
the seamless flow
in letting go
when frost that starts at night
melts when the sun rises

© Xenia Tran

dunes and marram grass with the sea beyond under a blue sky

The halo around the sun in the header image was caused by ice crystals high in the atmosphere.

We will be back tomorrow with a special Review of the Year as we are preparing our countdown to 2022.

Wishing you all a happy Thursday,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Weekend Sky #51

PI Poetry Prompt: Start

Word of the Day Challenge: Countdown

Sestina: Soul Circle

For Catherine Ann Cullen

A generous poet brings us a gift
of prompts and words and musings.
Raven nest with eyes that see
a circle of souls who share their quest
to nurture the earth and keep her wild,
when Imbolc gives rise to new voices.

Ideas that float can find a voice,
the shrine is lined with gifts.
In Heritage Week thistles in the wild
breathe with butterflies, amused
by truths in prickly questions
fallen from a paradise Dante could see.

The stepping stones we climb to see
eavesdrop on oceans’ voices.
They encourage a parallel quest
to both receive and share each gift
pulled from a hat by the muses
and marbled deep waters of the wild.

Autumn glitters in the wild.
The scattered leaves we see
by the gate are gathered by a muse.
The wind whistles through her voice.
There appears to be no limit of gifts
carving the path of this quest.

A blinding light eggs on our quest
and barbed beginnings in rewilding.
The saplings of poems are also a gift
that follows the moon and sees
a healthy world laced with voices
as ageless as that of our muse.

Thin ice and forbidding shallows spark the muse.
Our pockets are lined with questions
on love and nature’s survival. The voice
of the wind is a friend in the wild,
old pains are soothed by the sea,
each cushion of moss is a gift.

On an epitaph for the wild we can see we tried
guided by spirit and muses. Their voices remain
a sacred gift that shapes our soul circle’s quest.

© Xenia Tran

Catherine Ann Cullen, Poet in Residence at Poetry Ireland, has been hosting a weekly Poetry Prompt on twitter throughout the pandemic and inspired forty three new poems I would otherwise never have written.

As her residency is drawing to a close I have attempted to incorporate all the prompt words I responded to with individual poems in the above Sestina.

Wishing you all a happy Monday and a wonderful new week,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

PI Poetry Prompt: Gift

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #179: Serene




Haiku: Light in the Glen

a black whippet in a winter jacket looking past the wide trunk of an ancient pine

autumn gold –
the glen lit up
with double rainbows

© Xenia Tran

late autumn sunshine on golden grass, heather and pine

The double rainbows were a wonderful sight and I captured them in the haiku as I couldn’t fit them in the frame with the lens I had with me.

Wishing you all a happy Thursday and a peaceful rest of the week,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Light in the Glen was first published in Autumn Moon Haiku Journal, Volume 5:1, Autumn/Winter 2021. A very big thank you to Bruce Ross for selecting my poem and to the team at Autumn Moon Haiku Journal for putting this beautiful edition together.

CMMC: December Color – Your Favorite Color

Wordless Wednesday: Run with the Wind

a black whippet chasing a ball on the beach, watched by a blue and white whippet
a cloudy sky over a windy sea with rolling waves

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Wordless Wednesday

Weekend Sky #50

Tanka: White Horses

a blue and white whippet in a winter jacket on the seashore

white horses
their waves can be felt
forever
with light so bright
that spirits can see

© Xenia Tran

light reflecting on wet tidal sands with seafoam and stones between the rocks

In other news, we are delighted that my haiku Earth Day has been included in Visiting the Wind, the Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology 2021. A warm-hearted thank you to Erin C. Castaldi for selecting my poem and putting this beautiful anthology together.

Front Cover of Visiting the Wind, Haiku Society of America Anthology 2021

Wishing you all a blessed Thursday and a peaceful rest of the week,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Tanka Thursday: Forever

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Ubiquitous

Haiku: Moon Gazing

two whippets in the dunes with a driftwood tree planted in the sand

moon gazing
even a driftwood tree
stands tall

© Xenia Tran

silvery light reflected on the sea behind the dunes

Wishing you all a blessed Monday and a peaceful week ahead,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #175: Follow Your Bliss

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge: Experiment

Wordless Wednesday: Eternal Inspiration

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Wordless Wednesday

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #160: Your Inspiration

Tanka: Transformation

 

blue whippet in winter coat leaping from beach to dunes

 

after the storm
the beach transforms herself
a big leap
will take us to the forest
the sound of temple bells

© Xenia Tran

 

lr-1230789 ww

 

two whippets in winter coats climbing the dunes towards the forest

With love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

 

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, settings: f/2.8, 1/500 s, ISO 200 and ISO 320.

 

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Ascend

Carpe Diem #1326 – Transformation

dVerse Poets Open Link Night #210 – Breaking for Holidays

dVerse Poets Pub Logo

 

Haibun: A Season’s Blessing

 

Picadilly Circus, London, at night with a personalised Christmas Message on the main advertising screen

 

Next to the red scented candle stands a photograph in a small frame, propped up by a stone from the river. It was a Christmas greeting from our friends that came as such a wonderful surprise. It was 1991 and after two years in Edinburgh we returned to London for our first Christmas as a married couple.

The photograph is a shot of Picadilly Circus at night. On the main advertising screen a simple message reads ‘Merry Christmas Xenia & Paul’. It made us feel at home.

each photograph
brings stories back to life
snow flurries

© Xenia Tran

 

blue whippet in winter coat running on in snow flurry on forest trail

With love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

 

Photograph of Picadilly Circus taken by Ann Garner in 1991. Photograph of Pearl by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera (second image): Panasonic Lumix FZ200, setting: f/2.8, 1/500 s, ISO 150.

 

dVerse Poets Haibun Monday: Pleasantly Surprised

dVerse Poets Pub Logo

Dutch Goes The Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Season

Carpe Diem #1322 – Follow The Dream