Love is a doing word

su and tom second pic_cleaned up1

Motherhood; day 1. Image: Leslie-Gray family archive, 1998.

 The boy-child was not a model baby. Although delivered full-term, he weighed barely 2.5kg at birth, and we struggled hugely in his first few months with feeding difficulties and erratic sleeping patterns.

I’m not entirely sure what I expected of motherhood, but certainly not the exhaustion, guilt, fear, loneliness and utter helplessness I experienced. I had told clients I’d probably be back to work after about eight weeks. In reality, as eight weeks became twelve, I still considered it a good day if I managed to get both the baby and I dressed and out of the house.

The post-natal depression with which I was diagnosed lasted for years. Long after the boy-child’s sleeping ceased to be a problem, I still experienced the same sick, clenched stomach if he did cry out in the night.

There is a lot I just don’t remember about my son’s first year — and I certainly wasn’t up to taking lots of photos, or keeping a “Milestones” book as many of the other new mothers I knew did.

When I think back on that time, what I do remember is the music. The soundtrack of my son’s babyhood may well be the best bit, and there are so many songs I could choose from that time.

But I’ve always loved the opening line of this song, and I think that although it isn’t about motherhood, it speaks brilliantly to the essence of a mother’s love.

Love, love is a verb

Love is a doing word

Massive Attack, Teardrop

Sarah at Art Expedition is hosting 30 Days, 30 Songs for the month of June. You can see her latest post here.

Why not join in — as Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind so brilliantly puts it “casual players welcome.”

On love and failing nature


Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Love, love is a verb
Love is a doing word

Massive Attack – – Teardrop

For all the thousands upon thousands of words written about love; the stark, simple words by Massive Attack (1) I think speak loudest to me.

“One love” should mean not only love for all humanity, but for all creatures, and indeed for the Earth itself. And it’s not enough to say we love nature; we must also — each of us, in our own small way — act upon that love.

Close-up shot of bee on chive flowers. Bees pollinate around one third of food crops eaten by humans, yet we persist in using agricultural practices that are harmful to bees. Where's the love here?mage: Su Leslie, 2016

Bees pollinate around one third of food crops eaten by humans, yet we persist in using agricultural practices that are harmful to these and other creatures. Where’s the love here? Image: Su Leslie, 2016


Cattle grazing on a Northland pasture, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Industrialized farming practices; particularly meat and dairy production, can be immensely damaging to the environment (2) Image: Su Leslie, 2015

Nature sustains not only our physical, but also emotional and spiritual well-being. Those of us who have the ability to retreat to the bush, or to the beach, know how much these experiences restore and sustain us. Over-population, deforestation, urbanisation — these human activities all impact on our ability to connect with nature.

To walk, alone, on a beach at sunset. Shot of Muriwai Beach, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

To walk, alone, on a beach at sunset. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

There are lots of small ways each of us can show “one love” for our planet; from cutting down on car trips, to composting food waste, eating less meat, rejecting excessive plastic and packaging — even just not buying bottled water.

There are also thousands of books, articles, websites with advise on sustainable living. Here (Worldwatch Institute) is just one link that I found useful.

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. — Frank Lloyd Wright

This post was written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge. This week the theme is One Love.

(1) Song credit: Robert “3D” Del Naja, Grant “Daddy G” Marshall, Andrew “Mushroom” Vowles, Elizabeth Fraser

(2) Giving up beef will reduce carbon footprint more than cars, The Guardian, 21 July 2014