The Changing Seasons, December 2019


Mt Ruapehu from the Desert Road. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I’ve struggled to write this post.

As the year has worn on, I — like so many people — have become increasingly angry, sad, frustrated, disillusioned and, frankly, exhausted by the world around me.

Like many, I fluctuate between bouts of active optimism and periods of despair.

Despair’s had the upper hand this month, with the result that I’ve done very little and taken fewer photos than usual. Fewer still I’m happy with.

A pre-Christmas road-trip to see my dad and stepmother produced the best shots, and confirmed that I really like both Whanganui and the surrounding countryside — even (or especially) in stormy weather.

The approach of Christmas meant my son could be persuaded to pose for a photo — Grandma insisted and that’s pretty much the only reason he’ll agree. He’s successfully completed university for another year and is working long hours over the summer — looking forward to finishing his degree next year.

img_6190 The boy-child. Image: Su Leslie 2019

As always, some of my favourite images are of the small things — generally plants. We harvested the first of the plums just after Christmas; the tinsel bird-deterrent having done its job. The second plum tree is more fruit-laden, but they won’t be ripe for another week or two.

My principal gardening success at the moment seems to be with seedlings. The Kakabeak I’ve been nurturing for a few months is thriving, and it looks like almost all of the Kowhai seeds I harvested from our tree have germinated. Even the loquat seedlings are doing well. Gathered from a tree at my son’s flat, they took about three months to germinate but are now growing fast. The travelling hydrangeas are holding their own — but barely — and I may have to look beyond Google for advice.

I’m glad that 2019 is coming to an end.

I don’t normally buy in to the “New Year resolutions” thing, but this year I will be taking this socially-sanctioned opportunity to re-start and move into 2020 with the energy and enthusiasm I know I’m going to need.

img_6189 Image: Su Leslie 2019

Wishing you all good health, good friends, laughter, love, and the energy you will need in your own lives.

Ngā mihi o te tau hou

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.


Brian at Bushboys World

Sarah at Art Expedition

Marilyn at Serendipity seeking intelligent life on Earth

Little Pieces of Me

Darren at The Arty Plantsman

Jude from Life at the Edge

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Pauline at Living in Paradise

A wonderful Sheep

Gill at Talking Thailand

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful






97 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons, December 2019

  1. I am also ready for 2019 to end and 2020 to begin. I really enjoyed your beautiful photos. New Zealand has been on my mind lately and Whanganui is one of the places I want to visit. The last time we were there we spent our time in Auckland and drove to Rotorua (but didn’t get to spend enough time exploring.)
    You have quite the green thumb! You seedlings look so healthy!
    I hope this new year will bring you and your family, good health, joy, love, adventures, and many wonderful memories!

    ❤ Alana

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Su. I’m sure your son will be glad Grandma made him pose. I love the way you combined the beauty of the storm clouds with the section about your feelings and struggles as 2019 comes to a close. Your words will resonate with any feeling person. I hope 2020 will bring you health, energy and happiness too.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: The Changing Seasons – December 2019 – Little Pieces Of Me

  4. When the world disillusions there is always the garden. One of my Hydrangeas didn’t survive me having a short holiday, perhaps I over watered trying to breathe life back into it. So many wonderful shots Su 🙂 Happy New Year

    Liked by 4 people

  5. It’s just as well I wrote my piece before I read yours because it says much the same thing. If it weren’t for the bird feeders out back, I don’t think i’d have taken any pictures at all this month. Garry took some nice ones when it snows early in December, but since then it has been so demoralizing — politically and in terms of the climate change that our Great Leaders are denying, but which is burning down your continent AND mine — and the huge storms that have been hitting the west coast and are big enough to encompass the entire continent of North America.

    Weather forecasts are more like “best guesses” because the winds aren’t normal, temperatures are out of whack and really, no one knows what is coming or from where. I’d like to think that we are going to have a better year coming up, but optimism is damned hard to find these days.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I know how you feel Su. It has been a strange year from a personal and global perspective and I have definitely run out of energy. The weather has kept me indoors and out of my garden for so long that I’ve even lost my gardening mojo! Still I have faith that 2020 will be a good year. For me. For you too I hope, maybe you’ll discover that place you are seeking, and for the world. OK, maybe that’s stretching it a bit far… but hey, it sounds so fantastically futuristic that maybe pigs will fly!! 🛸🐷

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Jude. I normally manage to muster enough hope and energy to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and I suspect that after a few more quiet days, I’ll be ready to go again.

      I hope your spring is early and kind, and the mojo makes a return.

      I can’t help thinking that right now, if flying pigs were discovered, some greedy *#@& would bred them for sport for rich men with guns.

      Or am I being overly cynical?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What do you think we can do about this despair Su, and so many above who share this feeling, including me? I don’t know. Australia seems like such a shit of a place to live at the moment but I love it so. I wish I could show overseas visitors what I love about this place but they go to the tourist traps and who could blame them. Australia is a scarier place now than it’s ever been.
    I haven’t taken any photos in December really, but I’ll write something for the record. Your blog and photographs are an inspiration to us all. I know you will keep churning them out.
    Happy New Year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much Mick.
      I wish I had a formula for coping in these horrible times, but so far it’s eluding me.
      I can understand your love for your country. I struggle to reconcile the political Australia with the wonderful people I know on your side of the pond. My OH has practically lived impressed Melbourne at times over the last 15 years, and I’ve regarded it as something of a second home.
      Best wishes to you and your family for 2020.


  8. Boy child is the perfect description! Did we look that young when we were in college? OMG. Handsome fella I might add 🙂

    I’m always impressed by your photos, the mood you capture; in these photos, the clouds and the last photo in particular.

    Yes, it was a shit year all around for the climate and politics, sometimes I wonder why humanity has to make so many mistakes in order to move forward. I subscribed to the Good News Network newsletter in an attempt to get a regular dose of positive news because it is out there, we just never hear about it.

    Hope you have a stress-free and happy New Year. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you (head swells with mother pride) …

      He does look quite young for his age: he still gets asked for ID in bars, though the drinking age here is 18.

      Thanks for the heads-up about the Good New Network — I will subscribe.

      Hope 2020 is kind to you 🥂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Your words resonate with me – a general dis-ease with the world right now. I feel out of step.

    You are still ahead of me – you have lovely photos to show for your month. As others have said, your son is a handsome young man. I’m sure he makes your heart swell. It seems like only a few months ago you were talking about him leaving home, and now he is a year away from graduating!!

    The picture of Rangitikei River is striking. The dry riverbed looking alarming. Is this normal?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks so much Joanne. The boy-child brings us the usual blend of joy, frustration and silly laughter, and for that I’m (mainly) grateful.

      The river is fed by snow melt, so it does tend to be lower at this time of year. I’m not sure if it’s abnormally low, but it probably got a top-up a few hours after I took the photo when we had two days of torrential rain.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Bouts of optimism—that is at least something. I have only found hope with my family and friends—the rest of the world just creates despair and anger and sadness. Let’s all hope 2020 brings a better world, though I admit I am not optimistic about that.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: THE CHANGING SEASONS, DECEMBER 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong | Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

  12. I see many commenters have said what I too would have said about sharing your feelings of pessimism and despair. In all this we seem to hang on to something – family, the natural world, whatever – to keep us sane. Let’s keep hanging on!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. So many beautiful photos from Whanganui!! It looks like a wonderful place to live! And I really like the storm cloud photos – clouds are always so nice, I’m just looking out of my window and see pink tinted clouds, no sense in trying to get a pic though because somehow it never looks as good on camera as it does for real. 😂
    And what a lovely pic of the boy-child – he looks happy and relaxed, I hope he didn’t just act for the camera?? His grandma will be pleased. 😊
    Love your little native wood in the making – isn’t it just wonderful to watch plants grow like these? Gives me a feeling of hope. 😄
    And I know what you mean – we all seem to feel rather helpless at what is going on in the world, and despair is never far away. But I hope you’ll find new energy in the new year – there’s so much beauty in the world, and you always capture it so beautifully with photos. This alone gives me and others the much needed positive vibes! Sending huge hugs and love! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Su, I am in complete agreement; it’s a “harrowing” situation. But we must find ways to feel as though we are making a small difference. As you show images of nature’s majesty in your part of the world, you are honoring her and spreading her beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: The Changing Seasons – December 2019 | Art Expedition

  16. Oh your photos are wonderful and zoomed in a couple –
    The coming year will haVe awesome stuff in store – – I am
    Looking forward to it too! My year was fine – but a lot of detours –
    Wish I could sample a home grown plum!

    Liked by 1 person

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  20. A honest post with lovely photos. I hope you find the energy and enthusiasm that you are looking for. I too need to find my mojo, regarding blogging and social media in general. I am going to challenge myself to “52 things in 52 weeks” for 2020, something I did successfully a few years ago which certainly helped the enthusiasm. I look forward to continued Changing Seasons next year. Best wishes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Pingback: Changing Seasons – December 2019 – life at the edge

  22. It has been a depressing year world wide Su, but optimism reigns supreme as the new year dawns, 2020 vision may make the politicians change their tact for the future of our struggling world. To have a garden is always a joy for the soul and I am in awe of your achievement on the seedling front and those monumental skies are breath taking. I am working on my changing seasons post, hopefully it will be ready tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Pingback: The Changing Seasons – December 2019 – The Arty Plantsman

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  26. Always meant to come back to your post, Su, to see it on the big screen. And now I’ve done my bit too. 🙂

    I love the sense of isolation in your photos, Su. The skinny Rangipo Desert road is calling. It looks rather wild and inhospitable. So perfect. And how about your little native forest? That is fantastic. Where are you going to plant it? See, now I have something to look forward to – progress on the hydrangeas and the forest.

    I truly empathise with those bouts of optimism and gloom. My husband says he will have to unsubscribe from my blog because I am so dreary. However, what is less dreary than not telling the truth. We are here and have made it to the first day of the new year. Thank you for sharing the year with me. I look forward to sharing the next one with you too. All the very best.

    Liked by 1 person

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