The Changing Seasons, May 2020


Grounded. Dinghies at Island Bay, Auckland. Image; Su Leslie 2020

I’ve taken fewer photos this month than in any other since my days of film-camera ownership.

Basically, I haven’t been out all that much, and there are only so many photos I can take of the few remaining flowers in my garden.

Covid 19 restrictions have largely been removed in New Zealand and we are being bombarded with media messages to travel; see the country, spend whatever income we’re still earning on hotel nights and boutique pinot noir; go bungy-jumping, horse-trekking, white water rafting — whatever’s on offer in a country that has steadily replaced productive industries with tourism. Now the overseas visitors are absent, we’re practically being told that it’s our patriotic duty to replace their greenbacks, sterling and yuan with our own dollars.

Not only that, if we don’t do it NOW — the visitors will soon come back and the country’s beauty spots will once again be overcrowded and over-priced.

So far, I’ve resisted.

It’s not that I don’t want to support small businesses and their minimum wage staff. I do.

But I also want the people of this tiny, achingly beautiful country at the arse-end of the world to pause, and ask ourselves if we really want to instantly undo the little bit of good that a human lock-down has done for our environment. Do we really want to throw ourselves into budget-price camper vans and burn as much fossil fuel as possible in the time we have? Do we want to trample barely-recovered walking tracks in fragile eco-systems? Pollute the waterways? Buy stuff we don’t need and generate rubbish we can’t actually get rid of?

New Zealand is a wonderful country. We do a lot of things well, but I fear that we’re squandering the opportunity to build on our success in fighting off (at least the first wave) of a pandemic. In our rush to “rebuild” our economy, we’re wrapping ourselves in all the old assumptions and ideologies that were steadily, gradually destroying not only the natural environment, but also our society.

This is not the post I set out to write. And I suppose it’s not even particularly appropriate under “The Changing Seasons” headline.

But it’s the post I need to write; because my fear is that we’re not changing. We’re allowing ourselves to be sucked back into old ways and old thinking. We’re grounded; upturned dinghies dragged out of the water and going nowhere.

I don’t exempt myself from this. And it’s evident in the (few) photos I have taken. The subject matter, the point of view — even the editing — all reflect a sensibility that I have been holding onto for perhaps too long.



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.


Pauline at Living in Paradise

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Sarah at Art Expedition

Little Pieces of Me


Darren at The Arty Plantsman

Marilyn at Serendipity Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Dawn at A Shared Space

Natalie the Explorer

Suzanne at Life at No. 22

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind










108 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons, May 2020

  1. I can see Thailand being in the same boat since we rely so heavily upon tourism, but interestingly enough, Thailand remains closed from the outside. Our borders have been closed (aka international travel) and this has been extended until the end of June. But if there is anything flag waving going on to travel and spend, it’s been lost on me. I think there are too many deep economic cuts happening for that. I know for me that we’re waiting on pins and needles for the next “which school is closing” announcement.

    Meanwhile, I think pink dolphins, baby turtles, and other wildlife that normally is suppressed is returning. I even read something about elephants that were used for riding have been released back into the wild. My friend in Hawaii posted a photo of a seahorse in the waters off of the very popular Waikiki beach. This news from home has astounded me the most.

    Liked by 5 people

    • The economic impact of this virus is terrible, and I understand how anxious you must be.

      Our international border is closed, and that’s why we are being “encouraged” to be domestic tourists. Kiwis traditionally travel a lot and spend a huge amount of money overseas. Our government is hoping that those people who have had overseas travel cancelled will spend their money here instead. I can see the logic of it, but do worry about the harm that will be done to the natural environment. Before the virus, we were starting to recognise how damaging unrestrained tourism is, and I feel that we’ve forgotten that in the rush to get business moving again. 😦


      • It is impossible to guess how the tourism industry will move forward. It was hard to watch bus loads of tourist hit Angkor Wat when we lived there. Lots of trash produced as well. I would imagine some will go back to the same ‘ol same ‘ol while others will try to become more sustainable – and then we can’t forget the sectors that will be somewhere in between.

        Right, local tourism can’t possibly counteract the loss. The encouragement is said out of desperation which is often not a good place to come from.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I can imagine. One of the sights guaranteed to make my heart sink is busloads of visitors arriving at places of great beauty.

          Whatever happens it is always the most vulnerable; the lowest paid and those doing casual work, who suffer the most.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Changing Seasons – May 2020 Autumn in lockdown | RuthsArc

  3. Pingback: Changing Seasons – May 2020 – Life, the Universe, and Lani

  4. It is a real dilemma, isn’t it? Tasmania is in a similar situation, keen to keep “our moat” in place but also encouraged to support the economy, to see our beautiful state while there are no mainland Aussie here, nor international tourists. I certainly hope we can all find a new balance, that we can change for the benefit of the environment as well. Thanks for your post Su.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Ruth. NZ and Tasmania are alike in so many ways. I hope we can find balance too, but when I look around me, I feel as though people are throwing themselves into activity as though the lock-down had never happened.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A timely and thoughtful post. Yes, the old ways seem to be re-surfacing quite quickly. But it’s also a dilemma. I had always used public transport where possible, rather than jump unnecessarily into the car. But now? No, I’ve been taking the car, not to be breathed over by (probably) perfectly healthy people. Clearly everyone else is too. That aside, change needs to happen, but it seems not to be on the mainstream political agenda, at least here.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Such a difficult conundrum Su. I think we have to go so carefully to try and achieve some sort of balance. How can our countries survive without tourism, but if only, somehow, the general public could slow right down, not buy and travel needlessly. But that is easy for me to say, I have travelled a lot. I no longer need to buy very much I pretty well have all I need. I feel for the younger generations who still have their lives ahead of them. I think they are going to have to make the biggest sacrifices.
    A great post Su and very relevant for changing seasons as everything is changing at the moment. And that header photo is superb, the light is amazing.
    Thank you for the link, I was a couple of days early this month.
    Stay safe and take care.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Heartfelt and very beautiful, Su! I paused in my headlong rush for the door just long enough to read this, and agree with much of what you’re saying. The world is changing and unfortunately the men at the helm don’t think like this. It’s up to us as individuals to do what we feel best. Sending hugs, sweetheart! However miserable you don’t know how to take a photo that isn’t beautiful. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

  8. Sending a big hug to you, Su. That has been your month and your feelings so it is exactly the post you should write. I think that pre-pandemic and the need to stay at home, we could kind of kid ourselves that our natural world was hurting but still holding up, but now we can now see how much human activity is harming, has harmed, these precious spaces, and that brings a lot of grief because we can’t keep doing “more” of the same. The sharing economy as it currently is, is a bit of furthy. I dunno how to change it.

    Liked by 7 people

  9. Wholly agree with your sentiments, Su. So much sorting will need to be done – and not only with the outer world, but also with people’s inner worlds. I think a lot of counselling will be required in the UK. Lockdown has triggered hyper-anxiety in many people especially those told to shelter for 2 months due to medical vulnerability. One chum doesn’t know if they will feel safe going out ever again.
    Here’s my May – also grumpy –

    Liked by 6 people

    • Thank you Tish.
      I agree with you. We have seen a rise in demand for counseling here (and luckily a little extra funding, though probably not enough), and I can only imagine how much greater the problem will be for the UK where lock-down has been much longer.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: The Changing Seasons – May 2020 | Art Expedition

  11. You might think your post doesn’t belong to The Changing Seasons, Su, but actually it’s perfect! Much better than my usual collection of things done and seen – feels completely silly now, especially when I feel just the same what you have voiced here so eloquently.
    It’s really frightening how much ‘they’ want us to get back to our before-lifestyle, even omitting the fact that a second wave is a real possibility and danger just so that we can spend what little money we have to push the economy. A friend of mine, who’s always been traveling a lot and not caring about her carbon footprint whatsoever, already booked 4 (!) trips as soon as it was possible – the first starting this weekend. I think she feels like she’s supporting the economy etc but actually she just wants to get back to her former lifestyle. And yesterday night was the first neighbourhood party here – just after announcing that it is now possible to meet as many people as you like and get together. Too bad that one of those parties already resulted in a new outbreak with 200 people now being in quarantine and 34 infected – but who cares as long as they bought enough booze and stuff, right?
    Sorry for the rant! 😂
    Your photos are very beautiful and somehow fragile and delicate – a reflection of your thoughts perhaps? Kia kaha, dear friend! 💕💕

    Liked by 4 people

    • My dear friend; I have just read your post and was so happy to see your creativity at work. It is not silly at all; I am glad you are doing things. I feel such a sloth at the moment.

      I think you are right; many people are just using “helping the economy and local businesses” as excuses to engage in the same thoughtless behaviour as before. It is frightening and depressing, and what gives me comfort is knowing that there are also so many good people in the world too.

      Your Changing Seasons post has brought me joy (and a craving for semolina and rhubarb). Kia Kaha; Nga Mihi Nui. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re not a sloth, Su, and even if you were I must tell you that I absolutely love sloths – just incredibly adorable – so there. 😉
        I think I feel somehow compelled to only share the happy moments blogwise, at least most of the time but it’s a challenge to always present that chirpy self to the world…
        Hope you’ll soon get some rhubarb and semolina – it’s always worth the wait I feel. 😀

        Liked by 2 people

        • Thank you my friend. I understand how difficult it can be to present the happy face in public when what we feel is far from that. I have no idea how much sharing is too much (until I do it, and cringe), but I take enormous comfort in how much love and support I find in blogging.

          I have the semolina; and some plums I preserved in the summer. I may have to do a test run in preparation for finding some rhubarb.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Beautiful post, Su. And I agree with all you say. We are being told to get out, get back to normal, spend money, restore the economy…. Why? Why not sit back and rethink things. Yes, the past few months have been challenging, but why go back to how things were? Has no one noticed nature and the lovely shades of green that we have not seen in so long? People have gotten creative with both businesses and their personal lives. Some of it has been both refreshing and eye-opening. I’m not going back…not right now, not right away. Not in the same way.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Lois.
      It is really comforting to know that so many people feel as I do and are living lives more mindfully. It gives me some faith in the future.

      Are you ok? I have been seeing horrific images coming out of the US and I am worried about all my American friends.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is awful over here, Su. When you have a power-hungry maniac who knows nothing else but name-calling and belittling anyone he wants to, you can only pray. One state official said the best thing for him to do would be to stop talking, or be put in front of a teleprompter and pray he reads exactly what it says. Either way, all we can do is hope for a change in November. It is hateful and sad over her. Thank you so much for asking; I wish I had good news.


  13. I am nodding my head whilst reading this post Su. We have proved that Capitalism wasn’t working – all we are doing is destroying this beautiful (and only) planet we live on. Carry on, or return to ‘normal’ and the human race is committing global suicide. People are in such a rush to go back to the old ways, but why? Now we have a chance to pause, stop, think. Close off cities to traffic. Build safe cycle and walking tracks. Invest in electric public buses and more bus routes to serve rural communities that rely on cars. Ban households from having umpteen cars – share for goodness sake. Work more from home, allow flexible working, have video conferences and less unnecessary flights, and yes put up airfares, make travel a luxury, not an essential – allow our beautiful places to breathe again. And stop buying goods that make us happy for a brief time and then end up in landfill.

    Surely this time has taught everyone what is truly necessary in life? But I fear that returning to a simpler, slower way of life is just a pipe dream…

    Liked by 5 people

    • And I am nodding my head at your words. The future you describe is as I would like too. I did feel a little hope for a while there, and I guess there are people who are trying to make change in their own lives and advocating for social change. Then I go to the beach and every cafe is chock-full of people jammed in together and the roads are jammed with cars going nowhere in a hurry. Sigh.


      • At least your country staved off mass infection. We’re heading for 40000 deaths. And a lot of people are not acting responsibly. I’m dreading it if people are allowed to travel to holiday homes again, which I suspect will happen in July. I don’t think the govt are bothered any more about the public health issues they just want us to spend money!

        Liked by 1 person

        • We did very well in that regard; for which I am incredibly grateful. Our current government seems to be great in an obvious crisis, but quite timid otherwise.

          I can understand people being a bit reckless here, because Covid hasn’t really been personal for most of us, but I can’t understand it in the UK. 😦


          • Well it has affected mostly elderly people and they don’t count. The lockdown here was just a way of getting the resources to the NHS that have been eroded through the last 10 years of a Tory government. Now they feel that they have addressed that issue it’s back to herd immunity.

            Liked by 1 person

  14. First of all, that photo is luminous with that bit of gorgeous light. Second of all, your thoughts go perfectly well with the changing seasons of our lives and bring up questions to which there aren’t any hard and fast answers. How can we open a viable economy and yet take nature into consideration? How can we travel responsibly and what does that even mean? Where we live, you have to drive to do almost anything, although bundling trips together is always a responsible way to go about it. I get groceries for my parents, so they can stay at home and away from C-19, but I also do my shopping at the same time. I’m not going to natter on about this, but there’s so much to consider and we have to make our own decisions with the best information we can.


    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Janet. We’re in a similar situation vis a vis driving, and I do the same thing — bundling all my chores into a single trip when I can. You are right that there’s a lot we can do individually. It would just be nice if more people tried to do that.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: The Changing Season – May 2020 – Little Pieces Of Me

  16. This is the perfect post for a changing season post…it is the “season” that you were in this month, and isn’t that what this is all about.

    And as I read your post and write mine, I realize I myself have slipped back into some of those old pre-quarantine patterns. Striking the balance of good for health (physical & mental), good for economy, good for environment seems an increasing difficult thing and when you add people’s extreme difficulties with change it almost seems insurmountable. Still…oddly…I believe this is still hope.

    At any rate, here is my submission this month:

    Thank you for sharing your truth and getting me thinking.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you. I know what you mean; it is difficult to weight up all the issues and somehow make good decisions. Especially as mostly we’re making them with so many other constraints upon us also.


  17. Change that lasts takes time. People are trying to get back to the old normal because it is what they understand. A new normal may arrive, but the pandemic isn’t over and there are a lot of other storms brewing. We humans don’t do well with the idea that we just don’t know what is ahead and we have to live into it. Some, like it sounds from your post you are, have seen the upside of the reduction in travel and dependence on it others can’t understand why their whole way of life was knocked out from under them.
    We were in New Zealand in January, the tremendous beauty and amazing wildlife inspire…but it seemed like the people to wildlife ratio was higher than sustainable. I hope that there is a bit of a reset so that so much beauty is not lost.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Pingback: Raindrops on everything | XingfuMama

  19. It is very difficult right now to even talk about what’s going on here. I feel like my head is going to explode. Moreover, like you and so many others, I feel helpless. I can speak as loud as my written words will travel, but there”s little else I can do. Instead of being “lured” into vacations and “fun” things, I feel like I should be carrying a sign and standing up to the police. We are living in a country run by a man who (I think) hates America. Hates everything we ever stood for, even if we never quite achieved it. He has stolen the goodness of our world and made everything ugly. It’s painful to even discuss.

    Until — IF — there’s ever a vaccine, I really can’t go out. It’s good that we’ve become pretty unsocial anyway because there’s a strong possibility that I will be in this house more or less forever. I think i can cope with that — as long as Orangehead is no longer president.

    I don’t know what reality this is.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Every time I think things can’t get any worse, I’m wrong. I try to take comfort from all the good people I know who are working so hard to effect change, but for every victory I feel like there’s at least one defeat.

      The whole “getting back to normal” thing really drives me mad. I want to scream “this is the new normal.” If not this virus then the next; until we radically clean up the way we live, we are all living on borrowed time.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Pingback: MAY 2020 – THE CHANGING SEASONS, A DIFFERENT WORLD – MARILYN ARMSTRONG | Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

  21. Pingback: The Changing Seasons – May 2020 – The Arty Plantsman

  22. Well said Su. It’s unfortunate that this is an election year and we as a nation have a habit of voting with our pockets. With all the money the government is throwing around, it’s a golden opportunity for change but the aggressive Right don’t want to give up any of their wealth. So like you, I don’t hold out much hope.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Couldn’t agree more with you Su regarding the issue of us all to visit the tourist towns. We have also resisted, having visited many places more than twice we have no need to see them. Many forget especially those 20-30’s that our country will be heading into a recession. Spare cash will be hard to find for quite a few households. Be cautious is what I want to say to those people who are out using their credit cards with no forward-thinking.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Pingback: The Changing Seasons – May 2020 – Life at No. 22

  25. Pingback: May Smiles – Natalie the Explorer

  26. Thank you, Su, for this thought-provoking post and beautiful photos. We’re still under emergency orders where I live so I’m reading how things are unfolding in places that have lifted restrictions. It’s a tough situation we’re in with no easy solution. I support environmentally-friendly actions. At the same time, I think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and 7 or 8 billion people on this earth. How to meet everyone’s basic food and shelter needs so we can focus on the next levels in the hierarchy.
    I’m joining in your Changing Seasons for the first time. Thank you for hosting. Here’s my contribution:

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Natalie; great to have you join us.

      I understand that it’s vital to meet the most basic needs first. The problem I see is that as long as we continue to treat addressing environmental catastrophe as a nice thing to have, but not essential — or worse, counter to economic development — then ultimately no-one’s needs will be met.


  27. Pingback: A month of rainbows – May 2020 – A Shared Space

  28. A bit late Su … I’m still getting my head around the new WP format.
    Unfortunately in Australia with significant distances between communities, some services have to be outreach. It certainly has been heartening watching families go for walks and stay closer to home. Also hearing people wanting to continue with the lifestyle imposed on them has certainly been a surprise and a nice one at that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Dawn. I’m hearing people say they want to retain some of the lifestyle changes, but am not seeing much evidence of it. So much of people’s behaviour is determined by their need to work, so it’s partly understandable, but I don’t get the queuing for junk food and “name brand” sales.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s been a mixed bag here. In my cul de sac the tradition of a beer enjoyed on the lawn with neighbours continues! Still see families going for walks which is lovely. Shops are slowly returning to trade.


  29. Pingback: The Changing Seasons: May 2020 – All things bright and beautiful

  30. Pingback: The Changing Seasons – May 2020 – Reflections of An Untidy Mind

  31. A heart-breaking post, Su. I feel for and with you. It is difficult not to. It seems like the madness continues, like we’ve learnt nothing at all.

    Maybe it is good that there are some some of us are bothered. Maybe it is not entirely for naught. We can hope and pray.

    Keep the faith Su. Sending you a BIG HUG!

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Pingback: The Changing Seasons – June 2020 – Life at No. 22

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