On small things, big things and taking pleasure in the natural world


On the forest floor. Image: Su Leslie 2017

On Wednesday afternoon, Aotearoa New Zealand will go into Covid 19 lock-down for four weeks.

It’s been looming for days; even as outwardly life has gone on “as normal”. Except in the supermarkets where it’s felt like Christmas Eve, albeit a Christmas where apparently toilet paper is No. 1 on everyone’s Santa list.

Part of me is relieved that the waiting is over. But even as I say that, I also feel anxiety bubbling up. Not for the Big T and myself particularly, but for other family members less well-resourced, and who are now “out of bounds” to us.

The last few days I haven’t felt much like taking photos, and if I’m largely confined to my home, I suspect I’ll run out of subject matter fairly soon.

But I do want to carry on blogging; to stay in touch with this community and because we’re all living through incredibly weird times and I think we need to document that.

The image above is one of the first I took with a macro lens. With hindsight, it’s not a particularly good photo, especially as I now know just how much detail I can capture with that lens.

But in the same way as it is a symbol of my photographic innocence, it also belongs to a more innocent time. The shot was taken in the Waitakere Ranges Park, Auckland. Since then, all of the forested area of the park has been closed to prevent the spread of Kauri dieback — a fungal disease that destroys one of New Zealand’s largest-growing, longest-living and most awesomely beautiful tree species — the Kauri (Agathis australis). The fungus is spread mainly humans and our pets. Virtually every forest area containing kauri trees is either closed to visitors or has a disinfecting station at the entrance.

Ironically, keeping humans contained may give kauri trees their best shot at survival (though four weeks won’t be long enough).

I’m always drawn to small plants and new growth. They make me hopeful, and I think we all need to focus on whatever give us hope.

Macro Monday

Not a rolling stone then

moss agate

Moss agate; from the boy-child’s old rock collection. Image: Su Leslie 2018

“A rolling stone gathers no moss”

I had forgotten the boy-child’s long-ago interest in rocks, until I recently found the shoebox in which his collection has languished. The “moss” is not organic, but formed by the action of different minerals in the composition.

According to Crystals Online, it also:

… has a lovely positive energy, it is said to increase hope and optimism and to improve confidence and self-esteem.

It is strongly connected to nature and is said to assist you in feeling the beauty that is nature. Moss Agate is said to bring abundance and prosperity into your life. It is believed to be a stone of new beginnings helping to release you from deep-seated fears and blockages that might be holding you back.

In physical healing Moss Agate is believed to speed up convalescence after illness or injury and to boost the immune system. It is thought to be anti-inflammatory, reducing swelling and lowering temperatures.

Perhaps I should strap it to my arthritic knee, which is giving me serious grief today.

Posted to Macro Monday

Macro Monday


How do we trust the structure when only a fragment is in focus? Su Leslie, 2018

The structure here is a titanium earring (a madly impractical, 1980s-excess sort of earring); incredibly strong because it is a) titanium and, b) triangular.

I know this because it’s my earring, but life is full of structures for which I have no “eye of God” perspective.

A society works because (and when) its citizens can trust the institutions and processes that form the structure of that society. Trust can only be maintained if those institutions and processes continue to perform, and do so with sufficient transparency that we are not left holding onto little but blind faith.

And when the structures start to seem wobbly or indistinct, it is our job as members of the society to stand together and do all we can to fix them.

Easier said than done, admittedly.