The first gorse is in bloom and its warm scent of coconut and vanilla greets us as we follow the path across the moor. The rookery at Leanach Cottage is full of rooks and hooded crows. I wonder about the music the men who rest here would have danced to and all their loved ones, who wanted to keep them safe.
ancient battleground – the place where men fell brimming with life pilgrims and progeny hear a skylark sing
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.
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.
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.
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.
Summer also saw me guest-host the Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge on the theme of Sanctuary.
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.
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.
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.
We are honoured and delighted that two new haiku in Dutch as well as a Dutch interpretation of Little Blue Flower have been included in the anthology Aan het Woord 2020 – de geur van geluid, edited by Ferre Denis, Maria de Bie and Nol Hovens, published by Haiku Kring Nederland and Haiku-centrum Vlaanderen. A big thank you to the editors for including my poems and creating this beautiful anthology.
Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday and Happy Thanksgiving to our friends across the water,
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, f/5.6 – 1/125 s – ISO 800 and f/4 – 1/160 s – ISO 200.