Silent Sunday: Winter Wetlands

partially frozen wetlands in winter
close up of frozen reeds and ice and flowing water

Wishing you all a beautiful Sunday and a peaceful week ahead,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX 60 HS, Settings: f/4.5 – 1/640 s – ISO 200, f/4.5 – 1/500 s – ISO 100 and f/5.6 – 1/125 s – ISO 200.

Silent Sunday

Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere #60

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Appealing

Wordless Wednesday: Then there were Two

swans and ducks feeding on the river
a seven month old cygnet preening on the riverbank
a female swan swimming in the shallows of a tidal river

One of the cygnets, the male, has fledged and there are now two cygnets remaining on the river. They look as if they’re ready to spread their wings soon too.

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

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5.6 – 1/2000 s – ISO 1000, f/6.5 – 1/640 s – ISO 1000 and f/6.3 – 1/160 s – ISO 160.

Wordless Wednesday

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Patterns in Nature

Haiku: Sunlight on her Wings

an oystercatcher in flight above the water

filled with love
her lasting footprint
in this world

© Xenia Tran

an oystercatcher rising through the sky next to a rainbow

This post is dedicated to our dear haiku friend Kristjaan from Carpe Diem Haiku Kai who lost his mother to Covid-19.

Our thoughts are with him and his family at this difficult time and with all of you who recently lost a loved one.

Wishing you a peaceful Sunday and a blessed week ahead,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/6.5 – 1/1600 s – ISO 1000, f/5.6 – 1/125 s – ISO 100 and f/5 – 1/800 s – ISO 400.

Carpe Diem Haiku Kai: Memories of a Loved One

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #131: Emotions

Wordless Wednesday: A Dash of Dazzle

a goldfinch munching on lavender seed heads in Winter
a goldfinch eating lavender seed heads in Winter

Lavender has a lovely scent and it provides food for bees and other insects from Spring to late Summer. We leave the lavender stems after flowering so that Goldfinches can feed on the seed heads in Winter. It’s a delight to see these lovely birds in the garden at this time of year.

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/6.3 – 1/60 s – ISO 800, f/6.5 – 1/80 s – ISO 1000 and f/6.5 – 1/50 s – ISO 800.

Wordless Wednesday

Word of the Day Challenge: Dazzling

Silent Sunday: A Safe Landing

a small flock of brent geese approaching to land on the shore
brent geese landing on the water near rocky outcrops
brent geese that have just landed make their way onto the rocky outcrops

It was lovely to see more Brent geese coming in to land and join the rest of the flock that were featured in last week’s post Graceful Geese.

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

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5.6 – 1/400 s – ISO 100, f/5.6 – 1/400 s – ISO 200 and f/5.6 – 1/250 s – ISO 100.

Silent Sunday

Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere #58

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Trail

Wordless Wednesday: Graceful Geese

Brent Geese

close up of a brent goose between tidal rocks
close up of three brent geese between tidal rocks

You can see more Brent geese arriving on our shores in Sunday’s post A Safe Landing.

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5.6 – 1/160 s – ISO 800 and f/6.5 – 1/160 s – ISO 800.

Wordless Wednesday

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Lineament

Tanka: New Year’s Day

part of a large driftwood tree on the beach covered in frost

winter moon
her frost flowers
crystallise
ancestral blessings
from this year to the next

© Xenia Tran

close up of part of a large driftwood tree covered in frost

Wishing you all a blessed, happy and healthy New Year!

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5.6 – 1/200 s – ISO 100, f/5.6 – 1/80 s – ISO 160 and f/5.6 – 1/125 s – ISO 320.

Carpe Diem #1842: End of Year

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

Tanka Thursday: Year

Looking Back at 2020: Thank you for the Love

The year began full of promise and we had a new pair of swans moving into the river before any of us had heard of Covid-19. Two days into Spring we went into lockdown and travel restrictions weren’t lifted until early July.

Many of us had to find new ways of working and being and I want to thank all of you who shine a light and are an inspiration to others.

The emphasis this year was on collaboration and I contributed forty-eight poems to a variety of journals, videos, anthologies and works of art.

My heartfelt gratitude for all our readers who read, comment and share our posts on social media. Below are the ones you liked best, together with some other highlights from each season.

redshank snoozing and sunning on tidal sands

We went into full lockdown on 23 March 2020 and focused on the beauty found in our local environment. In late Spring we revisited, virtually, a lovely fishing village we had travelled to the previous December in The Pier at Findochty. This was the most popular post in Spring and would become the most popular post of the year.

The other most popular posts in Spring were Lily of the Valley, Pink Flow, Lunaria Annua, Little Blue Flower and Yellow Curve.

Spring also saw haiku poets from around the world contribute to EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2020 in honour of the Year of the Nurse. I contributed six haiku to this collaboration, two of which were later anthologised.

macro shot of a bumble bee feeding on lavender, seen from behind

Travel restrictions were lifted at the beginning of July and the Highlands were crowded with tourists from other parts of the country. We waited for everything to settle and did more virtual travelling, this time to Belfast, in order to pay homage to one of the teachers who inspired me in A Moment of Inspiration.

The other five most popular posts in the Summer were Angel’s Share, Morning Glory, Earthlight, Sweet Inspiration and Summer Meadow.

Summer also saw me guest-host the Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge on the theme of Sanctuary.

two swans with three young cygnets on the river

In Autumn we entered a Tier system according to the number of Covid-19 infections and people from higher tiers were prevented from travelling to lower tiers. This resulted in a huge reduction of tourists and we could walk more safely throughout the Highlands, which was in Tier 1, without running into visitors from high Covid areas.

The most popular posts in Autumn were Truly Tranquil, Walking Wonderland, Starlings on the Roof, Highland Heather, Along the Loch Shore and Harvest Moon.

Autumn also saw the publication of The Helping Hand Haiku Anthology, edited by Robert Epstein, which includes three of my poems, Bundled Wildflowers, edited by Bryan Rickert, which includes one of my poems and the Dutch anthology Aan het Woord 2020, edited by Ferre Denis, Maria de Bie and Nol Hovens, which includes three of my poems. In addition, one new poem was featured in the Haiku-kantelkalender (Haiku Calendar) 2021, edited by Ferre Denis. Falling Petals received an honourable mention in the International Section of the 2020 Haiku Invitational at the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival and ten haiku were featured in the World Haiku Series with Japanese Translations by Mr Hidenori Hiruta.

a red squirrel on a wooden squirrel feeder in a pine tree

After a busy Autumn we stayed closer to home as Winter rolled in and the temperatures dropped. It became a time for Christmas socials via Zoom and catching up with friends at a safe social distance.

The most popular posts in Winter were Treasures, The Name of the Flower, Making Lemonade, All Souls’ Night, Lines at Dusk and When Winter Melts Away.

Winter also saw forty of my images published in Frameless Sky Issue 13 where I was the Featured Artist and the release of the beautiful anthology Dance Into the Light, edited by Michael Dylan Welch, featuring one of my poems.

A very big thank you to the editors and publishers who featured my work throughout the year.

seagulls feeding in the surf

This has been a year like no other and we sadly lost a number of friends and members of our writing community to Covid-19 and to cancer without being able to say goodbye in the way we normally would.

It has also been a year of growing and connecting in new ways and of communities coming together.

A huge thank you to Frank, Kristjaan, Misky, Ronovan and the team at dVerse Poets for your inspiring poetry prompts, to Brian, Christine, Emily, Heather, Katherine, Ping, Punam, Kristian and Sheryl for your wonderful word prompts and to Becca, Cee, Jez, Lisa, Paula, Sue & Gerry, Terri and Amy, Ann-Christine, Patti & Tina for your fabulous photographic prompts.

We leave with you a song by Show of Hands that seems fitting for our times:

Thank you again for the love and we wish you all a blessed, healthy and happy 2021.

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Your Daily Word Prompt: Tidings

Word of the Day Challenge: Wishes

Sunday Stills: Your 2020 Retrospective

Wordless Wednesday: Celtic Sea

a lensball in the surf, mirroring the sea and sky in reverse
a lensball in the surf, mirroring the sea and sky in reverse

We are taking a short blogging break for the holidays and will be back on Wednesday 30 December.

Wishing you a peaceful week ahead and Happy Holidays to those of you who celebrate,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Wordless Wednesday

Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere #56

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Glitter

Silent Sunday: Six Months Old

a pen with one of her cygnets and some ducks on the river
a cob followed by two of his cygnets on the river

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

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5.6 – 1/80 s – ISO 100 and f/5 – 1/100 s – ISO 100.

Silent Sunday

Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere #55

Bird Weekly: Birds in or near the Water or Snow