Welcoming lights, Wellington Railway Station. Image: Su Leslie 2019
Ok, let’s just get it out of the way. I’ve joined a gym.
It wasn’t entirely by choice, but I finally sought help to manage my arthritic knee, and this is part of the programme.
I don’t like gyms. Even when I wasn’t middle-aged and overweight, I was still uncoordinated.
And philosophically …. people getting in their cars to drive to a brightly-lit, air-conditioned building full of expensive equipment designed to simulate the exercise humans evolved to get doing that thing called living? I know that’s simplistic; I am genuinely concerned about the environmental costs.
But it seems to be working. After just a few weeks, I have significantly better flexibility and strength.
So having more or less captured my month in one image, here are a few shots that haven’t made it into other posts.
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 visit these amazing bloggers for their accounts of the month just gone:
Pauline at Living in Paradise
Joanne at My Life Lived Full
Marilyn and Garry at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth
Judy at lifelessons
Jude at Life at the Edge
Sarah at Art Expedition
Tish at Writer on the Edge
Gavin at Firehorseworld
Ju Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful
Sandy Bay, Northland, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie 2019.
The sea is the vast reservoir of Nature. The globe began with sea, so to speak; and who knows if it will not end with it?” – Jules Verne
Beyond the headland, the Pacific Ocean.
A summer day, when the sea is calm and the water clear, bodysurfers catch gentle waves and kids play in the shallows. On such a day it is easy to imagine that the vastness of the world’s largest ocean can absorb all the plastic and garbage and toxic marine-life-killing pollution we humans feed it, and that all our shit will somehow be absorbed and disappear.
Easy — and potentially fatal.
When given the choice of three rooms at The Collectionist Hotel yesterday, I went with the Santa Rosa Suite. The huge comfy bed (which faces the balcony) was a major factor in my choice. I’m loving the warm, colourful decor too.
So often hotel rooms can be sterile and institutional. This one is anything but.
Posted to Ragtag Daily Prompt | home.
I’m indulging my love of art — sculpture in particular — with a visit to Sydney to see Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi.
This involved a five am start to catch my flight, which was surprisingly not full and I had a whole row of seats to stretch out in.
I’m staying in a new hotel, in a part of town I’ve never been to before. So far, so awesome.
One of the cool things about The Collectionist is that all the rooms are designed by local artists — and they are all different. The other cool thing is that you get to choose your room. I had a choice of three and picked The Santa Rosa Suite. I’ll give you a peep inside tomorrow.
I’m not sure if it’s a legacy of my recent cold, or a sign that I’m getting old, but the last time I came to Sculpture by the Sea three years ago, I headed straight from checking in to Bondi Beach and walked the sculpture trail to the end at Tamarama Beach (and then walked back).
Today, I felt too tired to face the 12km bus trip to Bondi, let alone a 3km (return) walk around the exhibition, so I’m saving my energy for tomorrow.
Instead I’ve been exploring the neighbourhood and back towards the CBD, where I found dinner at Fishbowl.
A note to all The Changing Seasons contributors.
I will update the blogroll with links to your posts whenever I am able to, but I may be a little slower than usual.
My dad is ill and I’m off to Whanganui to visit him tomorrow.
My journey will take me past this beautiful church in Raetihi. It’s a journey I make regularly, but I’ve only once managed to stop and photograph it.
Its slightly unusual design is characteristic of churches built for worshipers of the Rātana faith. The Rātana church was founded in 1925 by Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana, a Maori spiritual leader who also campaigned for social justice and racial equality.
The church, and the movement it forged, continue to play important political, social role and religious roles in New Zealand life. Annual celebrations of Rātana’s birth attract thousands of people (including the country’s politicians) to his home marae at Rātana Pā, just outside Whanganui.
I have probably said it before, but I am a “glass half empty” person. In truth I usually feel that my glass is three-quarters empty — but that doesn’t make much sense as a pithy observation.
I have a profound capacity to see and dwell upon anything negative in a situation, even whilst those around me experience great joy. The best I can say about this is that I’ve gradually learned to keep my mouth shut (usually), so I don’t spoil others’ pleasure.
The American musician and comic Oscar Levant said that happiness isn’t something you experience, but something you remember. While I subscribe wholeheartedly to that view, I often struggle to even remember happiness, such is my Eeyore-like nature.
So my personal challenge for this week’s Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge has been to bring together the things that make for a good day; those things that get me out of bed and willing to try on a happy face.
In choosing these images I am paying tribute to the scenes, moments, rituals, and above all people, whose presence contribute to a good day — if only I let myself see it.
The title for the post comes from Paul Simon’s Slip Slidin’ Away. I could be the woman, but am trying to choose not to be.
I know a woman
Became a wife
These are the very words she uses
To describe her life
She said a good day
Ain’t got no rain
She said a bad day’s when I lie in bed
And think of things that might have been
Slip slidin’ away
Slip slidin’ away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you’re slip slidin’ away
Paul Simon, Slip Slidin’ Away
I have to admit it; I’ve struggled with this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge. How can I show what inspiration means to me when I am feeling so uninspired.
I don’t know if it’s the gloomy weather or the sense that my life is in limbo while we get ready to sell our house. Maybe it’s just the lack of challenging projects at the moment. Whatever the reason, nothing much seems to have got me out of my chair recently.
So the challenge was to work out what, in the big scheme of things, does motivate me and lift my spirits?
The answer basically is travel — and my kid.
Like most parents, I try to do the best I can for my child, and to be a positive role-model. A chronic avoid-er of conflict, I know that over the years I’ve gone into bat for him over issues that I’d probably have tried to ignore (and silently eaten myself up over) if they were just for me. I’ve not taken the path of least resistance because I want him to grow up knowing that you don’t have to blindly accept everything that happens to you — that you can shape your own destiny.
I’m inspired by his very existence to be the best person I can.
And then there’s travel. Even the smallest opportunity to be somewhere new, to see new sights, eat new foods … I’m in. Maybe that’s part of my current malaise; I have been at home too much lately.
So my contribution to the challenge isn’t the best photo I’ve ever taken, but it’s the shot that reminds me of the things I love (and actually I’m pretty fond of Cambridge too), and that get me out of bed in the morning.
I love to travel. I love travelling. I love being away from home.
No matter how I phrase this, it doesn’t seem to come out right. I love being on holiday, away on business, or visiting friends and family. It not that I don’t like being at home; but there is something wonderful about spending time in new (or just different) places. Having said that, it has taken me a long time to actually enjoy travel itself.
As a kid, my brothers and I were piled into the back of the car and taken to our destination with as few stops as possible; the point was to “get there.” Later, when I began to travel as an adult it was often for work, and again the focus was on arriving. Even when I took leisure trips, I didn’t really understand that the journey itself can be savored. My first solo road trips were so ambitious, with such huge distances to cover each day, that I barely saw, let alone stopped to enjoy, the places I passed through.
If I’m honest, I’ve lived most of my life that way; always so focused on the destination that I ignored the journey — and I’m not thinking only of physical travel.
Recently, things have changed. I’m not sure when or how — it has been slow and subtle — but sometime in the last few years I have actually started to experience (not always enjoy — but at least be aware of) the hills and valleys of my wanderings and not simply the end-point.
Of course it is easier when I travel solo; I don’t have to negotiate companions’ timetables or boredom thresholds. I can double-back to photograph the amazing church seen fleetingly on my first pass through a town, pull into a tiny road-side cafe or gallery, and stop for an extended chat with people I meet. With family and friends, the pleasures are often simply to be in their company, with nowhere else to go and no internet to distract.
Sometimes the destination is only part of another journey. Cape Reinga is at very top of New Zealand; with only the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea (which meet off the coast there) beyond. There is only one road, and no other access. Yet for Maori, it is the place where the spirits of the dead enter the underworld (1) by leaping from the headland into an ancient pohutukawa tree below, climbing the roots to enter Te Ara Wairua, the ‘Spirits’ pathway’, and return to their traditional homeland of Hawaiki.
Travel is so frequently a metaphor for life that we barely think of it as one at all. I am aware that as my attitudes to physical travel have changed, so to has my appreciation of the rhythm of everyday life. Maybe it’s because I get so caught up in the mundane that I lose track of the bigger goals that seemed so all-consuming in my youth? Maybe I’m just slowing down. I will never be the first woman Governor General of NZ (an old ambition, dashed by the 1989 appointment of the wonderful Dame Cath Tizard), nor will I publish my first book by age 40 (where does the time go?). But maybe I will still achieve some of the big dreams.
In the meantime, I cherish each day with a loving partner and a wonderful child who is rapidly becoming a man.
I’ve been quite insular lately; not going out much nor engaging with the world beyond my front door. I was going to blame the weather; it has been raining constantly for days, and a southerly wind has blasted up from Antarctica, making even the shortest trip seem quite unappealing.
But of course that’s an excuse. Really I just haven’t felt like putting on my “hello world” face and stepping outside.
Earlier this year I went to Europe with the Big T and our boy-child (with a stop-over in San Francisco). It was the end of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter, and although San Francisco was positively balmy and London turned on a few days of gloriously early spring, both Munich and Bordeaux delivered very season-appropriate weather. Yet each day we donned hats, coats and gloves and we went out. From morning until late we explored, not knowing what we’d see around each corner and reveling in the sheer “otherness” of ancient European cities.
Holidays are finite. We were only in each place for a short time and there was so much to see and do; the idea that we would stay in our apartment to avoid bad weather was unthinkable.
But of course life is finite too — just (hopefully) on a different scale to holidays. Lately, I seem to have forgotten that and have dreaded, rather than looked forward to, the new day. Looking at some of the street photos from our trip has helped remind me of how much I miss by shutting myself away.
Sometimes even solitude is better in a crowd …
… which thought reminded me of the classic Petula Clark song, Downtown (although I prefer Emma Bunton’s 2006 cover)
The title of this post comes from that song, and cheesy as it is, there is a certain truth in the lyrics. A few nights ago the Big T and I had our first date night in a while. We went to see Fallout — a beautiful and powerful play by Bronwyn Elsmore about the sinking of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour 30 years ago this July. Both of us lived in Auckland at the time of the Rainbow Warrior bombing, and judging by the way this play moved everyone in the audience — we weren’t the only ones who felt transported back to that time. Being part of that collective remembering was a powerful feeling.
Today I persevered through rain, public transport failure, overfull carparks to see Partner with the Enemy, an inspiring documentary about two women trying to build a business together against ridiculous odds.
Now it seems that the rain is likely to clear (at least for a few days) and I might even get a walk on the beach.