Looking Back at 2022 – Thank you for the Love

First of all we want to say a warm-hearted thank you to all of you who visited, commented, inspired and prompted us with photo, word and poetry challenges.

During a year when we lost both our beloved adopted dogs within one week and three dear friends within a fortnight, friendship, community, kindness and the healing powers of nature wrapped us in a much-needed blanket of comfort.

longest night –
the moon shines on a raven
polishing its beak

© Xenia Tran

Autumn Moon Haiku Journal 6:1, Autumn-Winter 2022-2023

The sadness connected us with an even deeper level of gratitude for all the special souls who walk beside us on our journey in this life. With our heart broken open, we were more ready than ever to receive all the beauty life and nature have to offer.

We are grateful to share a collection of those posts, which resonated with you the most. As in previous years, they are organised season by season, each offering their own gifts and magic.

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


The most popular posts this season were Beach ArtPeace Candle (first published in Haiku Dialogue), First SnowdropsLight FrostCrystal Leaves and Berries and Scintillating Sunrise.

Some of you may remember our Restoring Nature post on our sister blog where I introduced Cairngorms Connect, a bold conservation project with a 200-year vision.

In February 2022 I was offered the opportunity to take part in a series of writing workshops organised by Cairngorms Connect, which focused on our relationship with place. What I learned there has become an integral part of my writing throughout the rest of the year and I am very grateful to Elizabeth Reeder and Cairngorms Connect for their inspiration and guidance.


In March 2022 I took part in the Sit-Spot Challenge organised by An Darach Forest Croft, which involved sitting somewhere quiet in nature for at least twenty minutes each day. I sat in the sun, snow and rain and filled waterproof notebooks with haiku seeds, thoughts and reflections.

It is amazing what you notice when you stop walking and sit for a while in a landscape, especially during a colder time of year.

Warm thanks to Hugh Asher of An Darach Forest Croft for all the inspiration.

three forest bathing booklets on a table

I was deeply honoured and delighted to see ten haiku featured in the World Haiku Series with beautiful translations into Japanese by Mr Hidenori Hiruta.

The most popular posts in Spring were Morning CruiseFor Ancestors and Progeny, Here the Silenced (all three first published in The Asahi Shimbun), The Field of Everything, Colour Crochet and Urquhart Castle


The six cygnets that hatched in the middle of May on our river were thriving, as well as many ducklings and other young birds. The noisiest were the herring gull family on our roof. One of the chicks hurt her wings and was taken to the vets by an SSPCA inspector. The other one grew fast and learned to fly a week later.

close up of a herring gull chick

The most popular posts in Summer were Eastern Light, Cherry Blossom Moon (both published in haikuKATHA Issue 10, August 2022), Salmon Sky, The Lunar Codex (featuring my poem Grandma Alice from the anthology Chiaroscuro that is going to the moon), Riding the Waves and Clan Stones (first published in Presence #73, July 2022).

red berry tea
the birds just starting
to sing

© Xenia Tran

Presence Issue #73, July 2022


Autumn started off warm and offered some glorious walking days where the colours were just beginning to change. We spent some time in Perthshire, exploring new walks and historic sites, before the weather turned.

The most popular post in Autum was Coming Home (featuring a monoku published in haikuKATHA Issue 14, December2022), which also became the most popular post for the year. The other most popular posts during this season were Meet and Part (published in haikuKATHA, Issue 11, September 2022), Silent Treasures, Corbenic Circles and Curves, View from the Hide and Milestone (published in haikuKATHA, Issue 13, November 2022).

pilgrim’s way
slowly, slowly,
the pain eases

© Xenia Tran

Under the Basho, 16 November 2022

a boreen rolling downhill into the glen

Thank you for walking along with us here. We will now take a short break and will be back here on Wednesday 11 January 2023.

We send you our warmest wishes for a healthy and happy 2023 – may your year be filled with joy, peace and wellbeing!

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Fantastic

Sunday Stills: What Did YOU Do in 2022?

Creative Collaborations

Tina is inviting us to share examples of how we channelled our creative energies these past few months as the pandemic restricted our movements.

The theme that pops up on both my blogs throughout this period is one of creative collaboration and community.

a calm blue sea under a blue sky with blue mountains

Sadly, within the first week of lockdown, fellow poet Stuart Quine lost his life to Covid-19. I love his poems, especially his monoku (a haiku written in one line) and even though I did not know him personally I felt compelled to create a tribute post, pairing three of his poems with images I had taken the previous day: A Tribute to Stuart Quine (1962-2020).

An estranged family member was alerted to my post by a friend and contacted me. She did not know Stuart had passed away and was not aware of his beautiful poetry either. I was able to provide her with links to poetry journals his work is featured in as well as the publisher of his full-length collections.

macro shot of a red tulip with green veins

The Haiku Foundation invited haiku poets from around the world to contribute to a collaborative poem to celebrate and honour The Year of the Nurse. It was a beautiful project to be part of and I created six new poems, later posting three of them on Tranature: EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2020 and three on Whippet Wisdom: EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2020.

The Tanka Society of America invited poets to create a taiga (a photograph, caligraphy or artwork paired with a tanka poem) in celebration of their 20th anniversary and Zen Meditation was one of twenty-one featured. All contributions were later combined with music into a short video:

We sadly lost Susan Hey (1979-2020), a much-loved local art teacher and member of our community when we were still in part-lockdown and funerals were private with restricted numbers. The small procession travelled through our town and gave the rest of us an opportunity to say goodbye. I wrote and posted Final Journey, a tribute poem to Susan. One of her art students later posted a video of herself singing a beautiful tribute song and others created pieces of rainbow art which they left by the family’s front door. Together we wanted to let the family know that they were not alone and the comments and private messages received in return were truly heart-warming.

picture of a mandala by Mike Booth

Julie Williams, a Highland art student, invited local people to send her photographs of the word hope created out of items found in their homes or on their daily walks for her HOPE Art Project. The idea was that every participant created, through their own artistic expression, a historical record of their hope during the current Covid-19 crisis. You can read more about this project and my contribution in Walking with Hope.

the word Hope written in pebbles on a larger stone

Inspired by a number of collaborative art projects and videos I became curious about producing videos too.

Starting with a story board I gathered images and poems before combining them into haiga (a haiku paired with an image) and taiga (a tanka paired with an image) in Photoshop.

Once the five-mile travel restrictions were lifted, I took the camera to record a number of short video clips that would fit within the story. Then came the search for background music that suited the rhythm of movement in the video clips before weaving everything together in iMovie. The project was completed by reviewing and fine-tuning it with the loving and patient assistance of my husband.

The two videos we made are in the sidebar of the blog and if you haven’t seen them yet, you can view them here too:

Most of our regular readers will be familiar with these projects and it was an interesting exercise to bring them all together and reflect on these special collaborations a little longer.

May you all stay safe and well,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs and videos by Xenia Tran, mandala art by Mike Booth.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #110: Creativity in the Time of Covid

Your Daily Word Prompt: Prevail