The wind has changed direction and it’s best to stay at home. It’s blowing straight from the Arctic and, just for a short while, we get a sense of life in another place, far away from here. A place where the sun rarely sets in Summer and barely rises in Winter. A place with polar bears, reindeer and huskies. A place similar to what it was like here, thousands and thousands of years ago.
The temperature has dipped and yesterday’s snow lingers on the higher ground. The light bounces through scattered clouds as we walk along the soft sand. The tide is rolling in. Even with restrictions in place there’s freedom in each movement.
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
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
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.
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
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
(Haiku Dialogue: Connection with Others, Troutswirl, 25 November 2020)
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.
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.
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!