Looking Back at 2022 with Love and Gratitude

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.

This was a challenging year and we have never felt the love of this wonderful community more than during the times of loss of our beloved Eivor and Pearl.

Your prayers, healing, comments, messages and cards have wrapped us in a warm blanket of comfort, love and light.

ice on the sea
all winter long
spirit companions

© Xenia Tran

Haiku Dialogue, 9 February 2022

We are also eternally grateful for the love and support we received when Misty joined us as our forever foster. The way you have taken her into your hearts has been beyond amazing and I am sure that Misty can feel this love too.

a smiling whippet in a red jacket on the beach

As we have done in previous years, we will reflect on the year season by season, highlighting the posts that resonated the most.

To see the photo-galleries as they are intended, it is best to visit this post in website view.

Winter

A New Dawn, our first post of 2022, featured a haiku that received an Honourable Mention in the 22nd HIA Haiku Contest (2020) as well the surprise of being included in Krzysztof Kokot’s European Top 100 Most Creative Haiku Authors in 2021. This post was the most popular post in Winter and would become the most popular post of the year.

The other most popular posts in Winter were The Way Home, Walkway to the Light, Beat of the Drum, What Travels with Us and Forest Bathing.

Spring

Spring, normally a time for new life, rebirth and growth, became a season dominated by Eivor’s illness and palliative care. He walked through this season with so much grace, appreciating every fresh sprig of grass and wildflower. He still moved so well, wanted to run and do all the things he loved doing and was a true inspiration.

Some of the most popular posts in Spring were Blessed Rain, Brushed by Moonlight, Spring Breeze and Spring Grass.

Eivor passed away peacefully on 24 May 2022 and our post Run Free Sweet Eivor shows him exploring the woods with his usual energy only days before. We did not know then, that we would be writing Sweet Dreams Sweet Pearl only a week later.

We cannot thank you enough for all your kindness and love through your comments, messages and cards – they brought us much comfort. As did the thought that Eivor and Pearl, who had been inseparable for the eight years they knew each other in this life, would continue their next journey together too.

his ashes
next to hers
summer rain

© Xenia Tran

Under the Basho, 16 November 2022

Summer

We had no intention of adopting or fostering another dog so soon until angels both in heaven and on earth brought Misty into our lives.

After a three-week blogging break we returned with Meeting Misty, where we introduced our sweet twelve-year old forever foster whippet, whose owners had passed away. It became one of the most popular posts of the Summer, along with The Puppy Within, They Walk Beside Us, Treasures, One Step Ahead and Where Love Sails.

Misty is a very special lady and, in more than thirty-three years of adopting and fostering animals, this is the first time we have met and continue to meet our forever foster dog’s family and learn about her earlier life.

sea lace
the first step
so small
nobody knew
the size of the ocean

© Xenia Tran

Ribbons, Spring/Summer 2022: Volume 18, Number 2

As in previous years, we were delighted to be able to continue to support three charities close to our heart – Give a Greyhound a Home, Children with Cancer UK and Dogs Trust – with the proceeds of Sharing Our Horizon and Between Heather and Grass:

In memory of Eivor and Pearl, we also dedicated a 1/4 acre of woodland at Ledmore and Migdale Woods, a place we visited during five magical holidays together in beautiful Sutherland. Eivor and Pearl loved it here and this dedicated grove will be there forever, supporting a constantly changing cast of trees, plants, animals and fungi.

Woodland Trust Dedication Certificate
Autumn

Autumn gave us some beautiful weather for walking, especially in the early part. With Misty, our walks are shorter and together we discovered some lovely new places we look forward to seeing again in the new year.

The most popular posts in Autumn were Pulse of the Ancients, Autumn Glories, Sacred Waters, Sweet Music, Intricate Reflections and A Blessed Christmas.

Autumn was also a season to celebrate a milestone birthday and semi-retirement:

autumn moon
my first sixty years
of wandering

© Xenia Tran

haikuKATHA, Issue 13, November 2022

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 2021.

We were also honoured to contribute to three anthologies in 2022:

… and delighted to contribute to a haiku calendar for 2023:

Thank you once more for walking along with us here.

If you want to read more about our year, feel free to check out the 2022 highlights on our sister blog Tranature.

a smiling brindle whippet in a maroon winter jacket running across tidal sands

We send you our warmest wishes for a healthy and happy 2023 and look forward to seeing you here again on Thursday 5 January.

May you all be blessed with joy, peace and wellbeing!

With love from Misty and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr

CMMC: December Alphabet – Letter ‘W’ at the Beginning of a Word (Whippet)

Thursday’s Special: Pick a Word in December 2022 – Tribute

Sunday Stills: What Did You Do in 2022?

Tanka: Gulls and Geese

a smiling brindle whippet in a red jacket walking across tidal sands

gulls chatter
on the other side of the rocks
looking round
the sky suddenly fills
with a thousand voices

© Xenia Tran

tidal pools, rock pools, rocks and the sea under a blue sky

In other news, we are delighted that my poems First LightEarthlightAccepting the Sun and Shenandoah have been included in The Haiku Way to Healing Anthology edited by Robert Epstein (2022) …

Robert Epstein The Haik Way to Healing Anthology

… and for our Dutch readers:

OchtendschemerRozen Snoeien and Nachtvissen have been included in Aan Het Woord 2022 – Lange Verhalen, edited by Riet de Bakker, Jan Guichelaar, Henk van der Werff and Jean-Marie Werrebrouck, published by Haiku Kring Nederland and Haiku-centrum Vlaanderen (2022).

Lange Verhalen, Aan het Woord 2022 Anthology

Dorpswinkel appears in the Haiku-kantelkalender 2023. The calendar features fifty-two haiku by poets from Belgium and The Netherlands and is available from Haiku-centrum Vlaanderen. A very big thank you to Régine Dendooven and the team for including my poem and putting this beautiful calendar together.

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

with love from Misty and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Tanka Thursday: Round

CMMC: November Pick a Topic from my Photo (Water, Reflections)

Haibun: Northern Breeze

a brindle whippet in a red jacket turning away from marram grass

Most of the forecast rain blows over and we take a chance to head for the coast. Misty sniffs the marram grass, already turning gold in places. We navigate our way through the dunes, following a trail of boot and paw prints. Side by side we pause where the light bursts through the clouds, showing us a glimpse of blue.

fresh northerlies –
a pied wagtail chirrups
near the stones

© Xenia Tran

haikuKATHA Issue 14, December 2022

light breaking through low hanging clouds over the sea

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

with love from Misty and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #224: Exposure

Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere #151

Haiku: Rising Sounds

Black Linn Falls

close up of a brindle whippet in a purple harness in the forest

rising skywards
what we sense and follow
the sound of water

© Xenia Tran

silky waterfalls in the river Braan

We are delighted that our haiku Eyes so Blue, first published in Presence #72, March 2022, has been included in the Dawn Returns, Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology 2022. Warm thanks to John J Han for including my poem in this beautiful collection.

Dawn Returns Haiku Anthology

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

with love from Misty and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere #148

Haibun: Pulse of the Ancients

a brindle whippet sniffing the moss on the trunk of an ancient oak tree

September’s sun dapples through green and ochre leaves as the path meanders past a three-hundred-year-old sycamore, still standing strong. A few dog-less people make a fuss of Misty as she skips past them to the sunny side of the wood. A robin sings his heart out on a garden fence, where the path passes a few houses. We cross a small wooden bridge over the burn, one side of the water green with algae. Once we turn left, we see her.

Birnam Oak
six hundred years old and more
this autumn

close up of the bark and lichen of an ancient oak tree

One of the last living relics from a medieval forest that once grew here, her girth is around seven metres. The oak’s lower branches are so heavy they are supported by stilts and part of the trunk is hollow.

Shakespeare is said to have visited this area in 1589 when he was an actor and later immortalised the wood in his play Macbeth. This tree would have been mature when Shakespeare walked here. Touching the bark with my left hand, I feel a pulse that gets stronger and stronger the longer I leave it there, filling my palm with heat that travels down my arms and my spine, as if they are branches.

then and now
a mild south-easterly
tingles the leaves

© Xenia Tran

haikuKATHA, Issue 13, November 2022

Birnam Oak, lower section in the warm September sun

I am guest-hosting Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets tonight and the bar opens at 8pm GMT.

Wishing you all a happy Monday,

with love from Misty and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Frame

dVerse Poets: Haibun Monday – September Song

Supporting Children with Cancer UK and Dogs Trust

We are delighted to make another donation of £150 to Children with Cancer UK with proceeds and royalties raised through Between Heather and Grass during the 2021-2022 tax year.

Between Heather and Grass is our second book of poems and images inspired by our beloved whippets Eivor (2010-2022) and Pearl (2011-2022), and was especially created in memory of our nephew Jamie.

Children with Cancer UK is the leading national children’s charity whose vision is a world where every child survives cancer. They work to develop safer, kinder and more effective childhood cancer therapies, with fewer toxic side effects.

They are there when families need help most. By funding welfare projects, delivering unforgettable events and fostering a loving environment, they strive to make the world a happier place for the children who are diagnosed with cancer.

It is with a warm heart and gratitude we are able to continue to make a donation to this amazing charity.

To find out more about their work or if you want to support the charity directly please visit their website here.

2022 Donation Certificate from Dogs Trust

We are equally delighted to donate the same amount once more to Dogs Trust this year.

Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and has been caring for dogs in need for over 130 years. They take in dogs that have been abandoned or handed in by owners who could no longer care for them and find them new, loving forever homes.

They have twenty-one rehoming centres across the UK and provide Home from Home foster care for dogs who are not comfortable in kennels or when the kennels are full, and Freedom Project foster care, special foster homes for dogs from families fleeing domestic violence. In addition to these services they run educational programmes in schools, training programmes for owners and actively campaign on dog welfare-related issues.

To find out more about their work, adopting a dog, fostering, volunteering or to support Dogs Trust directly, please visit their website here.

haiku Divine Love by Xenia Tran from Between Heather and Grass

This book is now also a tribute to Eivor and Pearl and the wonderful journey through life that we were blessed enough to share.

A very big thank you to all you fabulous people who have bought a copy of Between Heather and Grass, left a review and helped to spread the word.

If the book is new to you feel free to click on the icon below for a peek inside …

Book to Look look inside cover for Between Heather and Grass

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

with love from Misty and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge: Journey

CMMC: August Alphabet – Letter ‘N’ in the Middle of a Word (Donation)

Tanka: Sea Lace

an elderly brindle whippet in a red jacket climbing lichen-covered rocks

sea lace
the first step
so small
nobody knew
the size of the ocean

© Xenia Tran

Ribbons, Spring/Summer 2022: Volume 18, Number 2

lichen-covered rocks on the beach with the sea behind them

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

with love from Misty and Xenia xxx

Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere #131

CFFC: Landscapes or Seascapes

Thursday’s Specials: Pick a Word in June 2022 (Bouldery, Perched, Surging)

Tanka: Mist of Seasons

a blue and white whippet in a winter jacket sniffing the grass beneath a wire fence

morning mist –
the slower I go
the more I see
kind souls who went before me
fly with me in the wind

© Xenia Tran

Ribbons, Winter 2022: Volume 18, Number 1

a senior black whippet in a winter jacket walking across a hill beside a fire fence

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

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge: Season

Tanka: Snow Melt

For Seamus

a blue and white whippet in a winter jacket walking towards a forest stream

snow melt
how soon our seasons feed
the bubbling stream
I still see you bending down
to drink its water

© Xenia Tran

Ribbons, Winter 2020: Volume 16, Number 1

Member’s Choice Tanka, Honourable Mention, Ribbons, Spring/Summer 2021: Volume 16, Number 2

a stream filled with snow-melt in an ancient pine forest

Seamus, a sweet lurcher whom we adopted many years ago who lived to the ripe age of thirteen, would always stop here for a drink from the stream. Ever since his passing, we find ourselves pausing at the very same spot on our walks, as if we are still waiting for him to have a drink. One of those moments inspired the above poem, which was first published in the Winter 2020 edition of Ribbons.

The poem was subsequently selected by Susan Constable as a Member’s Choice Tanka with an Honourable Mention and published in the Spring/Summer 2020 edition of Ribbons. This was her commentary and interpretation of the poem:

Xenia’s tanka adheres to a more traditional tanka form, with its s/l/s/l/l lines (both visual and aural), and its use of vivid images. I appreciate the assonance (the rhyme of vowel sounds, not necessarily the repetition of a particular letter) which appears in the words seasons/feed/stream, the alliteration of B’s in bubbling/bending, and the numerous T’s throughout the tanka. There’s also a lovely rhythm to the lines which are written with an almost-perfect iambic metre. All these pleasing sounds echo and enrich the arresting imagery.

This tanka provides some comfortable dreaming room, so my interpretations may not match those of other readers or, in fact, those of the poet. However, I sense the all-too-fast passing of time as winter melts into spring, and the poet and/or narrator grows older. I also feel the loss of a loved one who once bent to drink from this stream and, metaphorically, from Life itself.

Thank you Susan for selecting this poem as one of your honourable mention poems and for your thoughtful interpretation.

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.

CFFC: Earth

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Guide

Word of the Day Challenge: Lyrical

Haiku: Eyes so Blue

two whippets in black jackets walking onto the beach from the dunes

eyes so blue
the child’s first glimpse
of the sea

© Xenia Tran

Presence #72, March 2022

shingle and dunes in the foreground above the beach and water

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

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

We are delighted that the above haiku has subsequently been included in Dawn Returns, Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology 2022.

Dawn Returns Haiku Anthology

Word of the Day Challenge: Jubilant

Thursday’s Special: Pick a Word – March 2022 (asperous, effusive)