No need for extra words. This is one side of a board seen in downtown New Plymouth. In a country with appalling rates of youth suicide, anything that supports and encourages better mental health is very welcome.
My July began and ended with travel, leaving the in-between bit less than memorable.
Work took the Big T to Melbourne, and I joined him for a long, sunny weekend. Melbourne is a city I know well, so seldom do touristy things there. Instead I’m happy to walk the different neighbourhoods, visit galleries, drink far too much coffee, and enjoy the vibe.
Last week I drove to Whanganui to see my father, tacking on a side trip to Palmerston North and an overnight stay in Turangi on the way home.
Whanganui’s an attractive city with a thriving arts scene (definitely a bonus), but what makes the trip even better is that it takes me through some of the North Island’s most rugged and beautiful scenery.
Looking at the photos I’ve taken this month, street art and stunning sunsets seem to predominate. I was about to sigh wistfully and say it would be wonderful if every month offered up such treasures — but I suspect I really just need to look harder.
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.
Please check out the Changing Seasons — July 2019 for these awesome bloggers:
Ruth at Ruth’s Arc
Joanne at My Life Lived Full
Sarah at Art Expedition
Pauline at Living in Paradise
Tish at Writer on the Edge
Jude at Life at the Edge
Mick at Mick’s Cogs
Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind
Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani
Ju Lyn at All things bright and beautiful
Gill at Talking Thailand
Street art, Whangarei, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2019
On a recent weekend in Whangarei I was really impressed by the amount and quality of the street art that has been installed around the city. It seems that street art has moved from an underground, rebel act to one approved, organised and funded by local authorities.
Not that I’m complaining.
This was my favourite work. I wish I could find out more about it.
Detail; street art, Whangarei, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2019
Last week in Melbourne I was very aware of how being on holiday sets one apart from other people. While I was free from the constraints and rhythms of my normal life, others were going about the everyday business of living; shopping, learning, going to work, attending appointments.
On the trams and in the market, I found myself wondering about the lives of my unknown, transitory companions. Are they in work they love? Is there constant anxiety about paying the bills? A sick child? A relationship that exhausts rather than nurtures?
It made me think of Thoreau’s line …
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with the song still in them.” — Henry David Thoreau
Which made me think about the artists I know, and how the need to release “their song” is such an imperative. It also got me thinking about public art and how much it enriches us; artists, listeners and viewers, and indeed communities.
Although I seldom write fiction, I am a story-teller. Or maybe more accurately – as story-maker. I think it’s combination of curiosity and an obsession with narrative form, but I find myself looking at everyday things and wondering what lies behind the things I can see?
Office workers still at their desks late on a Friday night. Were they behind in their work? Or doing something behind others’ backs?
Erving Goffman (The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life) wrote about front and back-stage behaviours; about the way we present ourselves to others and the things we prefer kept private. We think about and use physical space in the same way. The front of the shop is open, welcoming designed to attract and invite. But out the back it’s a different story. In this photo of a back alley behind some designer clothing stores, the expectation of the building’s owner is probably “out of sight, out of mind”. However, in amongst the neglect, a street artist has has chosen to tell his or her own story behind the “official” facade.
I’m always slightly nervous about taking photos of strangers, and often end up with shots of their backs. In this case I suppose it’s appropriate. What is this man’s story? For whom was he waiting? What would their meeting be like? What lies behind the myriad little actions and decisions that got him to that place at that time?