Thanks Giving

Two weeks after the tornadoes bypassed us, and as the smell of red cabbage and turnip fills the house, I am reminded of the many good things in my life and moved to give thanks for a few of them from this past week. When I’m up to my elbows in my ritual fight to the death with the turkey I might not feel as thankful, so I’d better do this now.

Generosity & New Technology

The week before Thanksgiving, two professors at Carleton University sponsor an annual butterfly show, and I (along with 11,000 of my closest friends) have free (albeit slightly squished) access to enjoy 1,300 individuals of 41 species. And although I’m not a professional photographer or anything close to it, I also have the chance to take photos that my grandparents couldn’t have dreamt of.

First, of course, it’s only courteous to find their good side. The butterflies, not my grandparents. Or the professors.

4-photo collage of side view of butterfliesBetween the butterflies and the flowers, there’s lots of colour in the greenhouses . . .

3-photo collage of orange & black butterflies

2-photo collage of white butterfliesAnd although they all alight at some point, they’re usually in various degrees of motion, even as they’re alighting . . .

3-photo collage of butterflies with implied and actual motion.

Generosity & New Things to Learn

Great blue herons stay still for long periods when they’re hunting. When they’re standing in still water, that’s one thing. When they’re standing in or beside rushing water — as this one was at Hog’s Back Falls — it offers new composition opportunities. At least, it does when a photographer friend points out the opportunity: blurring the water with a slow shutter while the bird obligingly doesn’t blur itself.

2-photo collage with great blue heron and time lapse of falling waterGenerosity and New Things to Photograph

Pumpkins. On fire. Well, they’re not real pumpkins, and they’re not really on fire. But they’re an amazing light show. Again, thanks to photographer friends who included me in their photo shoot and helped me find better angles.

7-photo collage of photos from Pumpkinferno at Upper Canada Village.7-photo collage of shots from PumpkinfernoAnd Others . . .

There’s “generosity in personal effort,” with one friend who helps me with my knitting and another who helps me sort through some physical issues. There’s “generosity of professional effort,” from people who don’t really know me:

  • Medical office staff tackled the doctor between real appointments to get the signature I needed.
  • A post-office clerk directed me to the closest courier outlet when Canada Post couldn’t meet my schedule.
  • A drugstore clerk remembered me this week, as she does on every visit, and hailed me cheerfully.

And so it goes, as it does many weeks. (Well, not necessarily the pumpkins on fire. Not every week.) Now if only I could figure out what all these things have in common, and how I might pay it forward . . .


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16 Responses to Thanks Giving

  1. “Now if only I could figure out what all these things have in common.”

    It’s called a community and you are generously a
    part of it, so get this help in return. 😀

  2. Jim Taylor says:

    What they have in common, it seems to me, is that someone (you) can see beauty in them. Seeing beauty is a great gift, and not everyone has it.
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim – Well, thank you. I actually meant it as a joke – since I had named them all “generosity and something,” it seems that what I’m grateful for primarily is generosity. But for the “somethings” – yes, they are beautiful and I’m lucky to be able to enjoy them.

  3. Isabel, I am thankful for you. You have a marvellous way with words and the ability to draw humour out of situations that might draw tears. In turn, I carry the dazzling lights, the ritual turkey fight, the gently glorious butterflies and herons back into my “overheated kitchen” better able to see the beauty in others, the absurdity in circumstances, and my own humanity in the holiday repast. However and wherever you celebrate, may you be blessed.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Many thanks. And blessings upon you, as one of my mother’s friends used to say. Blessings on all of us . . .

  4. Janice Carscadden says:

    Loved the butterfly pics!
    We have so many things to be thankful for here in Canada.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  5. We had a Briard-mix dog, whose even more mixed daughters lived here, and we never stopped to think about their herding instincts until a cow from our tenant farmer’s herd escaped the west field, crossed our backyard, and ended in the far end of the east field. We coaxed and poked and prodded and failed in every respect to move that stubborn cow back to where she belonged. Then, one of the kids cleverly let the dogs out of the house. Dolly and Mocha had that beast on the run in a straight line across the east field, with no detours into the delicious garden, and back to the west field, but not, alas, to the break in the fence from which she had escaped. They gave that poor cow a miserable, confusing few minutes until she edged her way around the driveshed and rediscovered the way to the rest of the herd. After that demonstration, we felt rather badly for the life of ease they had without proper work for them to do.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – I had a Kerry blue terrier who definitely needed more work than she got in her life with us. One of my pet (no pun intended) theories is that we ourselves have a pace that works best for us – analogous to the load an engine needs to run efficiently. Too much is hard and stressful, but too little is also Not Good.

  6. I’m not sure how I posted the Briards with the Thanks but I will blame it on getting the turkey ready for the oven.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Turkeys have a lot to answer for, in my mind, so we might as well add this to their account.

  7. Tom Watson says:

    What striking pictures those are! Especially the herons. Thanks.

  8. Alison Uhrbach says:

    Isabel – A Happy Thanksgiving to you and Ivan. I’m thankful to know you. I so enjoy your humour, and your gift with words and photos, and I value our long friendship. I particularly love the butterfly photos! wouldn’t that be a lovely image to gaze at each morning?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Alison – And Happy Thanksgiving to you and Corvin. I also value our 60+ years of friendship (although it sounds a bit daunting, put like that, doesn’t it?) and your unflagging good sense and willingness to help, with nary a shred of pushiness to be found.

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