Silent Sunday: Until We Meet Again

yellow leopard plant with the lower flowers fading
faded fireweed with seeds in the forest

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

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Silent Sunday

Cee’s Flower of the Day

Word of the Day Challenge: Goodbye

Haiku: Wonderful World

grandpa’s lazybed
his potatoes still grow
in the corner

© Xenia Tran

(Autumn Moon Haiku Journal 4:2, Spring/Summer 2021)

settling down
three generations
of oxen

© Xenia Tran

(Asahi Haikuist Network, The Asahi Shimbun, 5 February 2021)

ascending moon
we graft the roots
of our evergreen

© Xenia Tran

(Asahi Haikuist Network, The Asahi Shimbun, 19 March 2021)

such beauty
following a butterfly
who knows the way

© Xenia Tran

(Sharing Our Horizon, A Journey Through the Scottish Highlands
with Two Adopted Whippets by Xenia Tran)

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

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

A warm-hearted thank you to the editors of the Autumn Moon Haiku Journal and The Asahi Shimbun for featuring my haiku and putting these beautiful publications together.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #153: It’s a Wonderful World

Word of the Day Challenge: Treasure

Silent Sunday: Peaceful Pasture

a horse leaning over a fence to eat dandelions
three horses grazing in the glen

We are taking a short blogging break for some walking and hiking adventures and will be back on Sunday 13th June.

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Settings: f/3.5 – 1/1250 s – ISO 180 and f/3.5 – 1/1250 s – ISO 125.

Silent Sunday

Word of the Day Challenge: Adventure

Wordless Wednesday: Spring Rain

close up of a red tulip with raindrops
a red tulip with raindrops surrounded by lily of the valley

Wishing you all a refreshing Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Settings: f/5 – 1/1600 s – ISO 3600, f/5 – 1/1600 s – ISO 2500 and f/5 – 1/1600 s – ISO 4000.

Wordless Wednesday

Word of the Day Challenge: Fresh

Cee’s Flower of the Day: Tulips

Puente Poetry: Presence

gravestone in Frank Bruce sculpture park

(Frank Bruce 1931 – 2009)

a wooden post with the inscription 'I was privileged to be'

your words fade from
the headstone, the way you
returned to nature in this life
and after you join the stars

~ we sit with your presence ~

still lingering between
the Lesser Celandine
that point towards the light
you always followed

© Xenia Tran

close up of Lesser Celandine in the forest

This is my first attempt at writing a puente poem.

Wishing you all a peaceful Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Settings: f/1.8 – 1/2000 s – ISO 640, f/1.8 – 1/4000 s – ISO 640 and f/1.8 – 1/4000 s – ISO 100.

Puente is a modern poetry form created by James Rasmusson. The first stanza develops one aspect of a topic where you, line by line, work towards another aspect. The centre line is delineated by a tilde (~) and functions as a bridge that forms a couplet with both the last line of the first stanza and the first line of the second stanza. You can choose any number of lines, as long as the first stanza has the same number of lines as the second stanza. You can find more information about the form here.

dVerse Poetics: Build a Bridge

Word of the Day Challenge: Enable

Placing Poems

Placing Poems is an online, interactive map that shares poems about new and imagined journeys away from the stifling reality of the pandemic. We are delighted that this poem now appears on this map. If you visit the Placing Poems website and select The Map, you can scroll up to the Scottish Highlands and find it under Cairngorms, Feshie Bridge, alongside many other poignant poems.

Tanka: The Light Always Returns

snow-covered trees next to lit victorian street lights and parked cars

deep at night
the moon on snowy windows
sparkles, sparkles
the light always returns
your smile behind the lens

© Xenia Tran

dawn breaking in a snow-covered street with the street lights still lit

Wishing you all a wonderful new day,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/3.5 – 1/15 s – ISO 1600, f/5.6 – 1/20 s – ISO 1250 and f/5 – 1/25 s – ISO 800.

The Light Always Returns was first published in Ribbons, Winter 2020: Volume 16, Number 1. A very big thank you to Christine L Villa and the team at Ribbons for featuring my poem and putting this beautiful edition together.

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Tomorrow

Thursday’s Special: Pick a Word – Quintessential

Word of the Day Challenge: Generous

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

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

Silent Sunday: Alba

close up of autumn heather and lichen
view across the glen towards the Cairngorms in autumn

We wish you all a blessed Sunday and a peaceful week ahead,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/4 – 1/200 s – ISO 160 and f/2.8 – 1/160 s – ISO 100.

Silent Sunday

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #126: Alphabet Challenge – Letter A

Word of the Day Challenge: Legendary

Wordless Wednesday: As Nature Unravels

brown heather and grass in autumn with a dead tree
north shore of Lochan Deo with leafless shrubs and golden grass

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 – 1/60 s – ISO 160, f/2.8 – 1/80 s – ISO 320 and f/2.8 – 1/60 s – ISO 320.

Wordless Wednesday

Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere #53

Word of the Day Challenge: Natural