The Changing Seasons, January 2020


Kowhai seedlings. Image: Su Leslie 2020

The month/year started well enough. Having got through Christmas without the usual stresses, I gave myself time to think about, and write down, some goals and plans. Against the backdrop of a troubled world, they are very modest and focused on how to live simply and gently. My strategy, I decided, would be summed up as proactive hopefulness.

With Auckland emptied out for the holidays, the Big T and I made an effort to enjoy the city’s parks and beaches.

We were doing so well …

Then on January 5th smoke from the Australian bush-fires combined with atmosphere conditions to turn Auckland’s mid-afternoon’s skies orange. By 5pm it was impossible to see without artificial lighting. It seemed the future had arrived and it was apocalyptic.


Lights on at 5pm. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Since then, the smoke has moved on — across the Pacific to Chile and beyond. Life has continued, and as holiday-makers have returned to fill the city with noise and traffic congestion, I’ve spent more time at home, much of it in my garden.

In the end, January has been a month of small things — both joys and disappointments.

I’ve managed to keep the gifted hydrangeas alive, and indeed they are thriving. Sadly, lack of water has killed some of my kowhai seedlings, and none of the latest batch of seeds has germinated yet. But the fruit trees and herb gardens are abundant, so my challenge is to put the harvest to good use.

An almost total absence of rain means we are being even more careful with water. Interestingly, it doesn’t feel like a hardship and I’m actually rather proud of my conservation efforts.

A chance meeting with an old friend who is developing an off-grid organic farm proved inspiring; giving us a chance to see what can be done — and how much work is involved. Our search for rural land has intensified.

As I write this, The Big T is texting me from Adelaide (South Australia) where the plane he arrived on has been sitting on the tarmac for almost an hour while heavily masked and suited medical personnel attend to several apparently unwell passengers who may be suffering from the coronavirus. He assures me that the authorities are just being “super vigilant” but it is hard not to worry.


Waikato River at Mercer, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away. — Marcus Aurelius

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.


Please visit these bloggers to see what January 2020 was like for them.

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Marilyn at Serendipity seeking intelligent life on Earth

A Wonderful Sheep

Darren, The Arty Plantsman

Sarah at Art Expedition

Little Pieces of Me

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind, who also posted this which fits well with the Changing Seasons

Brian at Bushboys World

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Joining us for the first time, Wanderlust and Wonderment

Gill at Talking Thailand




Finding red


Lang Ea, Pop! Boom! Bang! Sculpture in the Gardens, 2018. Image: Su Leslie

Red is a benevolent dictatorship.
— James Jannard, founder Oakley Inc.

Patti’s challenge was to ‘find something red.’ My personal challenge is not to go overboard with this. I love red; red clothes, red lipstick, red food, red cars and (I’m not sure I realised this, red art).

su at london road

Long ago (and far away). Red as armor in the days of office politics and shoulder pads. Image: The Big T, 1991.


Seeing double. Image: Su Leslie 2019


Work in progress: The Big T’s cafe racer. Image: Su Leslie 2018


Chen Wenling, Harbour. Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, 2015. Image: Su Leslie

And I know I’ve posted the Anish Kapoor sculpture before, but surely this fits Patti’s brief very well. Red art on a monumental scale: it is 85 metres long, and each end is 25m x 8m.

Red, of course, is the colour of the interior of our bodies. In a way it’s inside out, red.
— Anish Kapoor

Anish Kapoor, Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009. Gibbs Farm Sculpture Park, NZ. Image: Su Leslie


Anish Kapoor, Dismemberment, Site 1, 2009. Gibbs Farm Sculpture Park, NZ. Image: Su Leslie

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge | find something red

A short wander

It’s too hot to move much at the moment, but I was happy to take a short wander up the stairs to this Japanese tea house.

Shame there wasn’t a cup of tea waiting for me.

The tea house is a new addition to the Sculpture Park at Waitakaruru Arboretum, near Morrinsville, NZ. The park is privately owned, but open to the public to enjoy art in the beautiful setting of an old quarry that has been transformed into an arboretum.

Ragtag Daily Prompt | wander