Pictures in my soul


The skim-boarding phase. Waiwera beach, Auckland. NZ. Image: Gray-Leslie family archive.

“The soul can not think without a picture. “Aristotle, Greek philosopher, 384–322 BC

If the human soul is the seat of principles, thoughts and emotions, then the prevailing picture in my soul is of two things I most want to cherish and protect; my son, and the natural world.

My boy is fortunate to have grown up with a vast natural playground all around him. Every child deserve this, and every single one of us needs to take whatever steps we can to protect, preserve and if possible restore our natural world for the good of our own souls, and for those yet to come.

Debbie, at Travel with Intent, hosts a weekly quotation challenge. Visit to see her stunning photos, and find links to other participants’.

DP Photo Challenge: path

Path through urban bush, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

A change of direction, and an unknown path. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

When I was a child, my parents had a very clear path mapped out for my life; university, profession, marriage, children.

Although I’ve reached  some of those way-points, I’ve done so by following — sometimes just stumbling across — very different pathways to those that my parents envisaged.

Path through urban woods, Auckland, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Safe, flat, easy terrain. A clear path, but perhaps not the right one. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

For many years now, I’ve been navigating a series of trails called “motherhood.” I’ve fallen over quite a lot and got lost far too many times, but when I look back, it’s with some sense of achievement.

Now that the boy-child has left home, those trails are less and less meaningful, and I need a new direction.

Trail through bush at Blue Lake, Rotorua, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Unsure what’s round the corner. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

I’m not sure what path 2017 will take me down. I’m not even sure there will be an actual route — I may have to make my own. I’m pretty sure I’ll stumble around, complain loudly about not having a map, and I will certainly lose my way sometimes.

But I hope that whatever path I make, it takes me to places where I can live simply and do good. But most of all, I intend to enjoy the walk.

Clearing in native bush, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

A clearing in the woods, but maybe no path. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

A contribution to the Daily Post Photo Challenge on the theme of path.




DP Photo Challenge #3: 


Image: Su Leslie, 2016

“Garden as though you will live forever.” — William Kent

Gardening is both an act of faith in the future, and an investment in it. At a personal and a global level, we need plants to sustain life.

My little garden is flourishing right now and giving me enormous pleasure, as well as putting food on our table.


Image: Su Leslie, 2016

As the Big T and I plan our escape from the city, there is quite a lot of uncertainty about where we will g, but top of my wish list (along with high-speed Internet and a good local cafe) is space for gardens and maybe a little orchard.


Image: Su Leslie, 2016

It’s taken me a long time to grow a real connection with the food I eat, and the environment I inhabit. That is something I want to carry into my future.

This post was written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge. The theme is future.

DP Photo Challenge #2: seeing the future in the past


“From little things, big things grow.” Image: Su Leslie, 2012

The boy-child started looking at the world through a camera lens when he was quite young. He made his first videos at primary school, gained a A* grade in Photography A Level, and now earns his living as a photographer.

This photo was taken on a trip to Wellington in his first year of studying photography at school. The camera is my old Pentax 35mm and the assignment included developing the film he shot — quite a challenge for a digital native!

This image represents for me the point at which his love of photography started to really shape my son’s life — his future.

This post was written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge. The theme is future.


DP Photo Challenge #1: … gotta wear shades

Close-up shot of sunglasses on a rack with people reflected in the lenses. Image: Su Leslie, 2014

“The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.” Timbuk 3, “The Future’s So Bright.” Image: Su Leslie, 2014.

The Future’s so Bright was the only Top 20 single for American band Timbuk 3. The song was in the charts in 1986, around the time I met the Big T.

I had no idea then he would still be part of my future 30 years later.

This post was written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge. The theme is future.