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?

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