The Changing Seasons, December 2020

Metaphorical, as well as literal sunset. Napier, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Well, 2020 eh! What can I say?

In my January Changing Seasons post I wrote:

… 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.

I’m thinking again about goals for the year ahead, and realise that they are much the same. But the world has become more troubled, and I’ll have to work harder at proactive hopefulness.

To help me (and because it seems I’ve taken very few good photos this month), I’m going to revisit the changing seasons of 2020 through some of the images that gave me hope, or pleasure, or pause to think.


An invitation to tea. Image Su Leslie 2019

The first virtual afternoon tea. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Not so much the image as the monthly event that began with this piece of plum cake. It seemed to strike a chord and many of us have enjoyed sharing virutal kai and korero during the year.


Girl in a field. Cornwall Park, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie 2020

In February, this image spoke to me only of the drought then (and still) afflicting my city. Within weeks, the large out-of-shot wedding of which the girl was a part would been impossible as the country went into Covid-fighting lock-down.


Sometimes, you just need yellow flowers. Image: Su Leslie 2020

A long weekend in Christchurch allowed us to reconnect with whanau and celebrate the emergence of a new city from the devastation of the 2010-2011 earthquakes. A walk in the botanic gardens produced this shot, a reminder of how much beauty can be found in nature, if we choose to see it.


Lucas Creek at Greenhithe Wharf. Feeling lucky to live in such a beautiful place. Image: Su Leslie 2020

During the five weeks of Covid-19 lockdown, we rediscovered our neighbourhood through daily walks. Even after 20 years here, I never tire of this view of the Upper Waitemata from our local wharf.


Experiments in PhotoShop. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Inspired by other bloggers creating clever and beautiful images in PhotoShop, I spent an afternoon learning to use some new editing tools. This is definitely the best of my experiments.


Turning homegrown fruit into marmalade. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Our citrus trees provided a bumper harvest year — with the orange (planted by mistake I think) producing more fruit than we could eat or give away. I am grateful for this harvest and for land on which to grow food.


Waikato sunrise at Mercer, NZ. Image; Su Leslie 2020

As Auckland traffic has become more and more horrendous, very early starts are the most sanity-preserving option for road-trips south. In winter, this has the added bonus of arriving at Mercer in time to watch the sunrise from the banks of the Waikato River. No matter how often I stop here, the view still fills me with joy.


Tui in a cherry tree. Image; Su Leslie 2020

I never tire of watching our native birds, and celebrate the fact that tui seem to be returning to our neighbourhood in greater numbers every year.


Tākapu (Australasian gannet), Muriwai colony, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Wildlife photography is not my super-power, but occasionally I take a shot I really love. Finding gannets not in motion is difficult; finding a pair not completely surrounded by others was the real challenge.


Aotearoa New Zealand voted to give the Labour Government a second term.

Although already demonstrating feet of clay on some really important issues, the Labour government we elected with a resounding majority proved at least that New Zealanders will choose inclusion over divisiveness, and kindness over bullying and intimidation.


First pohutukawa blossom. Image: Su Leslie 2020

The arrival of pohutukawa flowers is a sure sign summer is approaching.


Christmas window, coffee shop Hawera, NZ. Image; Su Leslie 2020

A very wet day in Hawera, and I had to stop and admire these very clever Christmas decorations. I’m sure they made others smile too, and I can only hope that the cups were bio-degradable.

Image; Su Leslie 2020

As I write this, the most difficult year many of have experienced is almost over. It would be lovely to think that we can draw a line under 2020 and move on. But the reality is that tomorrow will almost certainly be as difficult and dangerous and stressful as today.

So I’ll raise my glass simply to a new day. I hope that for all of us it is only one of many, and that in each of those days we find purpose and joy.

Aroha nui

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly project where bloggers around the world share their thoughts and feelings about the month just gone. We all approach this slightly differently — though generally with an emphasis on the photos we’ve taken during the month.

For many of us, looking back over these photos provides the structure and narrative of our post, so each month is different.

Others focus on documenting the changes in a particular project — such as a garden, an art or craft project, or a photographic diary of a familiar landscape.

But in the end, it is your changing season, and you should approach it however works for you.

There are no fixed rules around post length or photo number — just a request that you respect your readers’ time and engagement. (1)

Tags and ping-backs

Tag your photos with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

Create a ping-back to this post, so that I can update it with links to all of yours.


Tish at Writer on the Edge

Margaret, at From Pyrenees to Pennines joins us this month

Natalie at Little Pieces of Me

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Pauline at Living in Paradise


Brian at Bushboy’s World

Marilyn at Serendipity, Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Sarah at Art Expedition

Gil at Talking Thailand

(1) If you find you have more than 20 or so photos, you’ve either had a pretty exciting month, or should consider not showing them all. Similarly, if you’ve recently posted images on your blog, it’s probably not a good idea to use them again unless they help to tell your story. 

84 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons, December 2020

  1. Some beautiful photos Su ..I think NZ and WA have had it relatively easy compared to the rest of the world. I’m hoping to get on a plane again in February but not making any bookings until last moment!
    Happy and healthy new year to you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Su–I love your year in review. It has been something, that’s for sure. For me here in the US, I want to make it through January unscathed. Hopefully everything goes smoothly and our new President is able to start us on the road to recovery so we can move on.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Certainly lovely photos, Su. The girl in the field, the LIghtroom experiment, and the blossom shots are something very special. I’ve enjoyed the walk through this year with you and raise my tea cup to another, better upcoming year. I’ll also raise a glass. Cheers!


    Liked by 1 person

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  7. This is such a lovely and positive post Su. Such beautiful photos. Even though it has been a difficult year you have found the beauty around you and shared it with us. Thank you for continuing to host the “changing seasons” I look forward to seeing everyone’s monthly activities. Best wishes for the coming year. I’m really hoping we can do some travelling, especially to see the family in NZ.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Your photos are strikingly beautiful with a unique and professional look.
    I love nature and have been trying to capture Mother Nature although I have found that impossible. The challenge has given me an eye for what is a beautiful photo and what is just a snap shot.
    Although even snap shots can tell a story and bring back memories so it is all good when I look at a blog.
    You live in the best little country in the world Pauline and I live in the best big country in the world. All the best to you and all of Pauline’s WordPress friends.😎🥰

    Liked by 1 person

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  10. In spite of this very challenging year, your photos tell a story of time well spent. I agree that tomorrow will look very much like today, but my hope for the future is still very much alive.

    My very best wishes, Su, for a happier new year. Stay well!

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. Dear Su, your positiveness this past year has been so encouraging, and your beautiful photographs inspiring. Together, they make me smile every time I see a new post from you. Thank you more than words can say! xx
    Hoping this new year brings you & yours much joy and happiness! 🍾 🥂 🎉

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. Your photos are so professional and inspiring. Your year looks rather good I have to say from this retrospective. I’m afraid my year has been even more constricted than usual, and now it is beginning to tell. But onwards and upwards – the new year begins and we need to have hope, though with the blundering, bumbling, lying government we have it is pretty hard work!
    Stay positive Su xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Jude. I am so conscious of the freedoms I’ve enjoyed this year and how constrained the lives of my friends and family have become. I hope that 2021 brings you continued health, a flourishing garden and the ability to travel again.


  15. I am trying hard for proactive hopefulness too! No politicians are perfect but your leader’s presence and decisiveness in a crisis are the envy of the world. You’ve given us a beautiful year here, despite everything. Though I haven’t taken part (no idea why not – must correct that in 2021!) I’ve enjoyed seeing Changing Seasons posts in my Reader.


  16. I love your year in review, Su. I know how difficult it was to achieve that sense of proactive hopefulness but your photos and your challenges are a validation of your effort, concern, kindness and that hopefulness. I love all your photos and I can’t choose a favourite (although I could get lost in those beautiful yellow flowers). Take care, Su, and happy new year to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Lovely retrospective. I love your birds. They are so uniquely beautiful and original. So unlike ours. You do take among the very best pictures I’ve seen — anywhere. You were lucky. Your lockdown was weeks long. Ours has been 9 months — and counting. I am so tired and I feel like I’ve aged ten years in the last one. May the years to come be easier on our souls and our world!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Marilyn. I know how fortunate we have been, and am trying not to take the sense of normalcy for granted. Things change so quickly. I hope that a new year and new president will bring positive changes for you. I still despair for the future of our world, but will try to take each day as a gift, do my best and keep hoping. Happy New Year.


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  19. This was such a lovely wander through your year, Su. And such stunning photos. My goodness! Glad you were able to find the bright spots at each challenging point of the year and while the challenges are not over, I do think there is a sense of hope in the air as we go into this next year. May 2021 bring you many bright moments. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Happy New year, dear friend! 😍 Your yellow flowers are still adorning my fridge and make me smile whenever I pass them (or open the fridge which happens far too often 😂). All your photos speak of your beautiful soul searching, and finding, the beauty in things and in nature all around you. Your native birds and flowers are a joy to behold and I can’t wait to see them one day in person. You have achieved plenty this year not least the wonderful tea parties that have brought us all joy and something to look forward to.
    Wishing you a very happy, healthy and beautiful year! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Spectacular shots. Favorites are the opening, Aug and Sept. And a great idea to take us through the year with the photos that summed it up for you. 😀 Here’s hoping to a smoother 2021. Best wishes and happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

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