Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary

Create a sanctuary within yourself where you can go anytime you want to
(Shakti Gawain)

an ancient pine overhanging a mountain stream with a wooden bridge behind it

Your sanctuary is your ideal place of relaxation, tranquillity and safety and you can create it exactly as you want it (Shakti Gawain)

Welcome to the Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge, where Patti, Tina, Amy and Ann-Christine kindly invited me to guest-host this week.

Here in the Scottish Highlands we spent more than a hundred days in lockdown where both our home and our community became our sanctuary during the Covid-19 crisis.

We are blessed that we live in a loving home and in a caring community. We have been reaching out to those who are less fortunate, those for whom home is not the safest place to be.

a swan family on a tidal river with sparkling reflections of sunlight

These people have been offered sanctuary with another loving family, with extended family members, neighbours, teachers or in solitude.

thistles, wild wheat and grasses in the dunes

Sanctuary can be found and created in a garden, a park, a field of wild flowers and by the sea …

a house sparrow feeding on wild wheat

… watching wildlife, listening to birdsong …

Cairngorms National Park in Summer, a view across Glenmore

… along the forest trails and in the mountains.

This week we invite you to share what Sanctuary means to you, where you find it or how you create your place of calm and healing. In your post, please make sure you include a link to this challenge and use the Lens-Artists tag so we can find your post in the WP Reader.

Last week, you shared your wonderful images of Winter for Ann-Christine’s challenge. Many thanks Ann-Christine for hosting last week’s challenge and to all of you who contributed your amazing images of this beautiful season of snow and contemplation.

Have you seen these?

  • Abrie (Abrie Dink Hardop) takes us on a breath-taking Winter expedition in South Africa and shares a potential front cover for his memoir in Conquering Africa – A Winter Expedition
  • Yan Balczewski (From Hiding to Blogging) shares some beautiful frost flowers in Polar Vortex
  • Rupali (mazeepuran) shows us a magical Norwegian Winter and a poignant sculpture titled ‘Peace is a Promise of the Future’ in Fred er løfte om fremtid

What’s up next week? Stay tuned on 8 August when Amy will be hosting LAPC #109.

Wishing you all a wonderful and creative week ahead and I look forward to your submissions!

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary

Word of the Day Challenge: Introducing

Haiku: Butterbeans and Lovage

close up shot of chopped tomatoes on a yellow plate

meeting again
butterbeans and lovage
on solstice day

© Xenia Tran

side on view of a plant-based meal simmering in a frying pan

This has been a regular dish for us during the lockdown, once fresh tomatoes and spinach were available. We experimented with many different seasonings and lovage became our favourite.

This haiku was first published in Haiku Dialogue: The Way of the Chef, Troutswirl, The Haiku Foundation Blog, 24 June 2020. A very big thank you to guest editor Craig Kittner and post manager Lori Zajkowski for featuring my poem and putting this beautiful edition together.

Thank you again for all your good wishes before we went on our blogging break and we hope you had a lovely week and Solstice too!

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/2.8 – 1/25 s – ISO 100 and f/2.8 – 1/10 s – ISO 800.

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge #144: Summer Solstice

Jez Braithwaite’s Fan Of … #73: Taking a Break

Word of the Day Challenge: Celebration

A further selection of recent publications in online and print journals can be found here:

Tanka Prose: The Pier at Findochty

One of the pastimes my husband and I enjoy during this lockdown is going through old photographs of places we visited.

On a beautiful day in December 2019 we drove to the small fishing village of Findochty on the Moray Coast. We chatted with some friendly local people, walked around with our dogs and took a few photographs. It was the first time we had come here in Winter and we loved the beauty of the light in the cold air. I wrote a few poems while we were there, including this one.

white sculpture of a seated fisherman overlooking Findochty harbour

Most of the sailing boats are on the quayside, masts folded. Fresh paintwork glitters in the morning sun. There is still the odd ice patch, in the shadows of the harbour. A small dog slips as he scampers up the brae.

watching over us
a seated fisherman
full of stories
my eyes begin to wander
past the lighthouse, out to sea

© Xenia Tran

the piers at the harbour mouth of Findochty

The Pier at Findochty was first published in Ribbons, Winter 2020: Volume 16, Number 1. A very big thank you to Susan Weaver and the team at Ribbons for featuring my poem and putting this beautiful edition together.

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/4 – 1/640 s – ISO 160, f/4.5 – 1/1000 s – ISO 200 and f/5 – 1/1000 s – ISO 160.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #97: Pastimes

dVerse Poets MTN: 5-Line Japanese Poetic Forms

A further selection of recent publications in online and print journals can be found here:

Tanka Prose: Now I Can See

lensball among green leaves, reflecting a colourful mandala

I am writing while we’re in lockdown. Panic buyers empty the shops, leaving less for all of us. Still I feel calm. We’ve been able to eat the food nobody wanted. We’ve adapted recipes, combining flavours like never before. We’re making everything last, stretch our resources. And I feel calm. I have never been afraid of dying.

the crow so wise
sees the centre of the surf
in rainbows
I’ve never felt more at peace
preparing to go home

© Xenia Tran

a crow striding across wet tidal sands towards the surf

Please be assured that I am feeling well. I have always regarded this journey through life as exactly that, a journey. I also believe there will be other journeys after this. I am treasuring my experiences and sharing what I see.

Wishing you all a peaceful Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Settings: f/5.6 – 1/400 – ISO 100 and f/2.8 – 1/200 s – ISO 100.

dVerse Poetics: Now I Can See …

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Scry

Tracy’s Corvid 2020 Challenge #1

Jez Braithwaite’s Lensball Playtime #6

Haibun: Life’s New Garden

pair of swans with cygnets in tow and on the pen's back

The criss-cross waves of high water tell us the tide is turning. Returning to the mouth of the river, the cygnets carry a glimpse of the sea. The pen is doing what she has always done. Prepare her young for the wider world, showing them where and when to feed. Her cob swims quietly by her side, creating an easy slipstream for cygnets who swim behind them. When the current becomes too strong they climb on their mother’s back.

We stand and watch them glide by and thank them for our own glimpse into another world.  I am enchanted by their deep communication and understanding.  Everything is done in total silence. Neither the cygnets nor their parents make a single sound. All I can hear is our smile.

all by themselves
lilies of the valley bloom
in nature’s garden

© Xenia Tran

pair of swans with cygnets in tow and on the pen's back
a pair of swans in the river with five cygnets on the pen's back

We wish you all a very happy Monday and a wonderful new week!

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Daily Prompt: Ceremony

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: All-time Favorites

dVerse Haibun Monday: Silent Sounds

dVerse Poets logo

Wordless Wednesday: Rings of Love

 

a swan pair (cob and pen) and two cygnets eating seaweed

 

a swan pair (cob and pen) and seven cygnets eating seaweed

 

a swan pair (cob and pen) and six cygnets eating seaweed

With love from Xenia xxx

 

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

 

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Ring

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Twisted

Wordless Wednesday

 

Haibun: Pink Lilac

 

close up of pink lilac flowers, leaves and raindrops

 

Our garden changes colour after an early morning shower. Yellow poppies, primrose and pansies look vibrant and replenished. In years gone by, fishermen dried their nets here. Different guardians blessed with different times.

scent of lilac
ready to weave our home
in a raindrop

© Xenia Tran

 

close up of miniature pink lilac buds with raindrops

We wish you all a very happy Monday and a wonderful new week!

With love from Xenia xxx

 

Cee’s Photography: Flower of the Day

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Liquid

dVerse Poets Quadrille #57: Don’t Rain on my Parade

dVerse Poets logo

 

Haiku: Season’s Wings

 

a swan (cob) stretching his wings in the morning sun

 

saluting the sun
our days grow ever longer
wings and waves

© Xenia Tran

 

a swan (cob) stretching his wings in the morning sun

With love from Xenia xxx

 

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

 

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Liquid

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge #34: Passing Spring

 

Haiku: New Life

 

pen on her nest with three cygnets

 

their stars sparkle
by night above the river
new life

© Xenia Tran

 

pen on her nest with three cygnets

 

pen on her nest with five cygnets

We are delighted to let you know that today, a total of seven cygnets have hatched. A very big thank you to all of you who have been keeping your fingers crossed in your kind comments on The Love between Birds.

With love from Xenia xxx

 

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

 

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Place in the World

 

Haiku: Shine

 

small waterfall with blue sky and trees reflected in the water

 

 

shining
everywhere we look
this light

© Xenia Tran

 

two male mallards swimming in a woodland pond

 

With love from Xenia xxx

 

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

 

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Shine

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Liquid