The Changing Seasons, February 2020


Detail, ‘Contained and Protected’, sculpture in bronze, Marte Szirmay. Sculpture in the Gardens, 2019-2020; winner McConnell Family Supreme Award. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Humans are incredibly skilled at both making, and understanding symbols. Indeed, our cultures rely on it.

The symbols I respond to most are generally visual; paintings, sculptures, photographs — but especially sculptures.


‘Contained and Protected’, sculpture in bronze, Marte Szirmay. Sculpture in the Gardens, 2019-2020; winner McConnell Family Supreme Award. Image: Su Leslie 2020

I saw this piece a couple of weeks ago in an exhibition at the Auckland Botanic Gardens. I find its simplicity both beautiful and powerful. The judges who awarded it the exhibition’s supreme prize had this to say:

“This beautiful disk, fastened to its base by a bronze cord, acts as a talisman of guardianship in the garden bed of critically endangered native plants. It is a superb and accomplished linking of form to site, evoking both the preciousness of our botanical heritage and the idea of keeping it safe forever. The work is placed near the entrance to the Threatened Native Plants garden … ” News, Auckland Botanic Gardens.

I won’t pretend my response to the work was analytical or erudite. I just felt — and continue to feel — uplifted by it.

I had a similar experience with a painting I saw on Instagram. So much so, I bought it.


‘Little Cottage in a Summer Field’, Natalie Towler. Image; Su Leslie 2020

The artist is local (New Zealand) and also makes wonderful small sculptures of houses (you can see them here).

I didn’t fully realise it until I was sorting photos for The Changing Seasons, but the colour palate of the landscape around me right now, is the same as in Natalie’s painting.

I’ve mentioned a few times this month that parts of New Zealand, including Auckland, are in drought at the moment. It’s particularly noticeable where land has been cleared for animal grazing. On a recent trip to Raglan, we drove through mile after mile of fragile, brown grass; broken only by occasional stands of trees and irrigated fields of maize — presumably being grown as animal feed.

At home, I’ve been incredibly grateful for our rainwater tank which has allowed me to keep my plants alive without resorting to “city water.”

I’ve managed to sustain “proactive hopefulness” largely by not engaging with mainstream news media and spending as much time as possible in my little garden.

As always, I end the month with a list of projects that excite me, but in which I’ve barely made a dent. I can partly blame a cold which hit me harder than expected and has clung on far too long. But I suspect that I perhaps need to take stock of my life and prioritize my time better.

And of course, in that spirit (NOT), I bought some lovely writing paper and envelopes so that I can send real, actual letters to people.

I could explain why, but I think it deserves a separate post … to come.


Got the pen, got the stationery, found my glasses and made a cuppa. Dear …. Image: Su Leslie 2020

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.


Darren at  The Arty Plantsman

Little Pieces of Me

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Marilyn at Serendipity Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Tracy at Reflections of An Untidy Mind

Sarah at Art Expedition

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

A Shared Space

Pauline at Living in Paradise

A Wonderful Sheep

Brian at Bushboys World

Gill at Talking Thailand


95 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons, February 2020

  1. Beautiful post, pictures 🤍 I have written my grandma a letter every month forever and a about 2 months ago she requested I start emailing her so I can enlarge the font! LOL
    I love writing and buying different paper and pens. I have an addiction!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have the same addiction!!
      I love that you write to your grandmother. I wrote to mine (though not as regularly), and to a beloved great uncle up until their deaths.
      I was going to write to my mother, but your comment about font size has me thinking that she probably won’t be able to read my writing. I already use a large font when I email her.


  2. Odd to see the green land looking so brown, a bit of rain and it will soon be green again. In 2018 the hills here went yellow in the heatwave, though it wasn’t that hot unlike other parts of the country, but they quickly recovered. Now we’re just sodden earth, the rains and wind have been relentless. And I have never felt so dispirited. The sculpture is lovely and I like where and why it is located. Happy writing Su, hope you soon get your mojo back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure the land will be green again soon enough.
      I’m not sure about total recovery; I’ve noticed that the cracks appearing in our lawn each summer are getting larger and don’t totally disappear in winter any more.
      I can totally understand how dispirited you must feel with all the rain. Even my ever-cheerful mum is fed up! Hopefully the weather will improve soon.


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    • Thank you. It is a challenge, especially when mainstream news would like us to believe that everything is doom and gloom. I know there are lots of problems, but also know that I feel more able to make positive steps towards dealing with them when I appreciate the world’s beauty.

      Liked by 1 person

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  10. I’m rather drawn to the NZ version of the wide brown land, Su. Really lovely photos. I also love the painting. Your water tank is doing a good job of keeping your garden alive. You have presented the flowers so creatively for us.

    My post is coming later today. It is similar to yours, only gloomier. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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  12. Wow, I don’t know where to start. I love the sculpture too although for me it embraces us and our world protected by something although I’m not sure what specifically.
    I’ve also been trying to stay away from main stream media but admittedly I don’t have a lovely garden like yours to retreat to. I’m working on where my retreats could be.
    Also, funnily enough I just bought a fountain pen. The first I’ve had since my school days and I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Amanda.
      Amazing how many people I know who have recently bought fountain pens. I wonder if it is part of a wider sense that we need to connect more with physical acts of creation as a reaction to how virtual our lives have become.
      I hope you find your retreats; a comfy chair and good book has always been one of mine, as has the beach. The beach less so now as I’m conscious of having to drive to one and that kind of takes the gloss off a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. What a wonderful painting! I can understand why you had to purchase it. 😄
    It’s so weird to see your normally green fields and pastures all brown and yellow, and I hope the drought will soon end. The photos are very beautiful though.😊
    And yay to that letter project – I know I’m awful but I can’t help hoping that I’ll receive one! 😂💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

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  17. A lovely post Su and filled with beautiful images. I especially love the painting, the colours are peaceful, yet inspiring and sad to see the brown hills I feel sorry for the farmers, another short milking season…I’m also addicted to writing paper and all things connected. I sent some of my special friends a calendar, and letter for Christmas in decorated envelopes, go to pinterest to see what they are here’s one example…
    Here’s my changing season post
    Hope you are feeling much better by now

    Liked by 1 person

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  20. The sculpture IS uplifting. It makes me feel too. Even before I read the description I thought it looked like a seed, and I guess seeds represent hope and new life? The painting is also really lovely. Seeing it against the gallery of your photos it also makes me think of hope: much needed rain clouds coming in to quench the drought.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Su, I was really drawn into your month of February. What a contrast between our worlds!! … and yet the photo “Into the Rain” on the back road spoke to me of driving the back roads around the hometown of my youth. I love this photo and could imagine standing on the side of the road with you taking in this beautifully framed scene.

    Liked by 1 person

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