What to Do?

What to do on a late-in-the-season walk at Chapman Mills Conservation Area? Just the usual . . .

Play with the bridge.

3-photo collage of Vimy Memorial Bridge in OttawaChase reflections.

Islet reflected in river in autumnExplore same-on-same colours.

2-photo collage of autumn leaves with similar leaves in backgroundTry out varying amounts of background.

2-photo collage of sumac leaves in fall coloursConsider varying amounts of colour.

2-photo collage of autumn leavesThink big thoughts about life strategies.


Well, it was sorta in my face. Every perennial is winding down now in a dignified manner. Trees and shrubs are changing colour and dropping their leaves. Grasses are drying up and browning.

Marsh grasses in autumn coloursAnd every annual is going hell-bent-for-leather. Grow! Flower! Make seeds! Repeat!

2-photo collage of weeds flowering and in seed in mid-OctoberNever mind the shortening days, the impending frost. Never mind that their flowers will likely freeze before going to seed, or that their seedlings will likely freeze before making new flowers. Grow! Flower! Make seeds! Repeat!

Perennials gracefully accept the inevitable, and annuals charge hard, apparently oblivious to the end of times. Two life strategies.

And as for me, what? Shall I execute the dignified wind-down made so beautiful by the trees and grasses? Or the pell-mell pursuit of living made so impressive by the annuals?

What to do?



This entry was posted in Mortality, New Perspectives, Photos of Built Stuff, Photos of Flora, Thinking Broadly and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to What to Do?

  1. Tom Watson says:

    Ah, the eternal question, Isabel: What to do?

    Thanks for sharing those beautiful pictures. Your post has generated the following thoughts.

    What to do?
    With this day, this year, tomorrow and the next―
    Each moment leaving us perplexed
    By both the wonder and demand
    That life places in our tender, timid hands.

    Meanwhile, enjoy all that we’ve been given―
    Reflections on the lake at morn,
    The bridge with tranquil thoughts adorned,
    The beauty in life’s changing shades―
    Of these things all our days are made.

    For when we grasp the vastness of it all―
    Both annual and perennial given rightful due,
    And live to full both as they call,
    We have the answer to our quest.
    We then know just what to do.


    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – Thanks so much for that. As I sweated blood on my converted YMCA lyrics, I realized (again) that poetry is not my forte. I’m glad it’s (one of) yours.

  2. Bravo, Tom! My answer to Isabel’s rhetorical question also was “both.” You have made that answer elegant.

    And, thank you, Isabel, for mentioning the importance of background. I think much of my life is devoted to providing background: scenery, settings, props, and costumes for others for whatever they are doing. It’s helpful to be reminded those contrasts are important.

  3. Lorna Shapiro says:

    Both your offering, and the responses, fill my soul with quiet joy. Thank you all.

  4. And to you, Lorna, for completing that circle with the same blessing.

  5. Leave it to visionaries to pith it down,

    “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

    I think curiosity is the secret for both — like you have, Isabel. 😀

  6. Jim Taylor says:

    My response will come Wednesday. Similar theme, different way of dealing with it. (Ahem — Soft Edges, at http://quixotic.ca)
    Jim T

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