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.

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2019: Favourite Moments Through the Seasons

As the year is winding down we look back at 2019 with a lot of gratitude. Nature, her rhythms and her beauty have been the star in our photographs and poems and we treasure every moment we can spend exploring the great outdoors.

We are grateful to all of you who come here to visit and walk along with us, for your lovely comments and all your support.

Here is one more celebration of the joy and peace that nature has brought this year, throughout the seasons.

WINTER

This has been the mildest Winter since we moved to the Highlands, with a few days in February reaching temperatures of 17C. Although we saw plenty of snow on the higher ground, we only had a light covering here on the coast.

Some of our most popular Winter posts were Two Ravens, Winter Mist, Bathing in Light, Colours of Joy and A Walk in Rosehall Forest.

Two Ravens, Winter Mist and Bathing in Light also feature in Between Heather and Grass, our second collection of photographs and poems published in aid of good causes.

SPRING

Spring was glorious this year. The snows from the higher ground had melted early and we had plenty of rain to nurture the soil. After the heatwave and forest fires of 2018 we were especially grateful to see so many buds and green leaves. We enjoyed forest walks, strolls and zoomies on the beaches and explored a few glens further North.

Our most popular Spring posts were My Friend, My Rock, Nature’s Spirit, Song of Sika, Passing Spring and This World we Sail in.

The haiku from My Friend, My Rock (The First Swallow) and edited versions of the other four poems mentioned above all feature in Between Heather and Grass.

SUMMER

Summer was as pleasant as Spring with plenty of rain to keep it lush and green. The temperatures never exceeded 24C, which made it perfect for walking and exploring and gave us some wonderful days in the West.

Our most popular Summer posts were Quiet Beauty, In Praise of Trees, Songs in the Grass, A Special Encounter and Radiance.

Edited versions of Quiet Beauty, A Special Encounter and Radiance feature in Between Heather and Grass.

AUTUMN

Our Autumn was relatively dry and mild, perfect for more walks and exploring a few new places. Between Heather and Grass was published, which has been a true labour of love. After the whirlwind that followed our walks in nature offered an important breathing space.

Our most popular Autumn posts were Morning Glow, Beaver Moon, Heron in the Wood, Cover Reveal and Across a Carpet of Leaves.

We want to say a very big thank you to all of you who take the time to visit and comment on our blog and to those of you who share your experiences through your own posts, photographs and poems. You are all an enormous inspiration and help make this world a better place.

Thank you to those of you who have bought our books and shared your reviews. It is much appreciated and we look forward to continuing our support for good causes.

A very big thank you too to all the lovely bloggers who host regular prompts and challenges. With so many photographs and impressions to chose from it’s a great help in finding a focus or different angle from which to approach a subject.

We look forward to what 2020 holds in store and wish you all a great start to the New Year. May this new decade bring new understanding and greater care for animals and our natural world, with increased compassion and peace among human beings.

a black whippet and a blue and white whippet in black jackets on an autumnal forest trail

You can see the 2019 highlights from our sister blog Tranature in Looking Back at 2019 – Thank you for the Magic.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

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