Haibun: Wild and Blue

a whippet in a winter jacket by a hut made from driftwood on the beach

The strong winds have carried more driftwood to the beach. Some branches are chopped up and taken away to dry out for wood burners and open fires. Other pieces have been used to build shelters and huts along the beach. It brings a bit of joy and surprise whilst we are in lockdown.

snow-capped hills
still the sea flows in and out
a glacier blue

© Xenia Tran

a funnel cloud spreading above a glacier-blue sea

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

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/4 -1/800 s – ISO 160, f/5 – 1/400 s – ISO 200 and f/8 – 1/2000 s – ISO 1000.

Sunday Stills: Glacier Blue

Word of the Day Challenge: Wildly

Tanka: Tenderness

a blue and white whippet sniffing frost-covered stones on the beach

hoarfrost
the light searches
for souvenirs
near seaweed and shaded sands
where thin ice lingers

© Xenia Tran

seaweed and leaves covered in hoarfrost

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

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Settings: f/5 – 1/100 s – ISO 200, f/4 – 1/250 s – ISO 200 and f/2.8 – 1/200 s – ISO 100.

Tanka Thursday: Search

PI Poetry Prompt: Thin Ice

Word of the Day Challenge: Tenderness

Haiku: Scent of a New Day

two whippets in winter jackets sniffing the frozen grass side by side

silver frost
dogs pick up the scent
of a new day

© Xenia Tran

a cairn and bench overlooking the Moray Firth with snow on the peaks across the water

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.

Settings: f/2.8 – 1/1000 s – ISO 160, f/2.8 – 1/800 s – ISO 160 and f/4 – 1/800 s – ISO 125.

Word of the Day Challenge: Picking

Tanka: Blanket of Snow

two whippets in winter jackets running on tidal sands

on the hills
a blanket of snow
with a pure heart
we look forward to tomorrow
and better days to come

© Xenia Tran

snow capped hills across the firth and Brent geese on an outcrop by the beach in the foreground

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.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/2.8 – 1/2000 s – ISO 160 and f/4 – 1/1000 s – ISO 160.

Nurturing Thursday

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Blanket

Haiku: Clams and Mussels

two whippets in jackets sniffing between the stones on the beach

clams and mussels
a beach abundant with gifts
for the new year

© Xenia Tran

close up of razor clams, autumn leaves and shells

We hope you all had a lovely Hogmanay, even though it would have been a bit different.

The traditional Hogmanay Ceilidh on BBC Alba was also different, with the singers and musicians linking up remotely rather than playing together in one venue.

Below is a video of one of those performances, which has a magic all of its own and unique for these times:

We wish you all a blessed and abundant New Year!

With love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/3.2 – 1/125 s – ISO 125, f/4 – 1/250 s – ISO 160 and f/3.2 – 1/80 s – ISO 125.

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge #171: New Year’ Day

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Galavant

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

Tanka: Winter Solstice

close up of a whippet's nose and paws around a lensball in the surf

distant bells
a welcome comfort
from the cosmos
inside out
on solstice day

© Xenia Tran

a lensball in the surf with the blur of a whippet's paw in the right hand foreground

Wishing you all a blessed Winter Solstice,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere #56

Ronovan’s Weekly Haiku Challenge #337: Open & Solace (Welcome & Comfort)

Word of the Day Challenge: Bells

Tanka: Messages

two whippets in jackets sniffing the sand side by side

driftwood
dogs read and sniff
each message
left by sun and cloud
in morning’s frost-laced blanket

© Xenia Tran

a blue and white whippet sniffing a large piece of driftwood covered in frost

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

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/3.2 – 1/1000 s – ISO 100, f/4 – 1/320 s – ISO 100 and f/3.2 – 1/800 s – ISO 100.

Nurturing Thursday

Tanka Thursday: Blanket

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Rustic Simplicity

Haibun: Precious Moments

two whippets in maroon jackets on the beach with driftwood

The sun is slow to rise above the trees, brightening a small strip of sand near the shoreline. The surf sings her song, a large piece of driftwood listens and greets the day with wing-like branches.

morning frost
a seagull tip-toes over
the pure notes

© Xenia Tran

a frosty beach with driftwood and shadows of people and dogs

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

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/4 – 1/500 s – ISO 100 and f/3.2 – 1/1250 s – ISO 100.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #127: Precious Moments

Your Daily Word Prompt: Faithful

Haiku: Autumn’s Tail

two whippets in jackets on a mountain trail

old route
the wind on autumn ‘s tail
in flowing water

© Xenia Tran

a small waterfall with autumn grass and heather

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

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/2.8 – 1/125 s – ISO 125, f/2.8 – 1/160 s – ISO 160 and f/2.8 – 1/80 s – ISO 125.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #125: Alphabet – Starting with A

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Swish

Word of the Day Challenge: Spontaneous