I was going to start this thread after the first snow fell here in Utah. But today the temperature dropped 40 or so degrees and the wind was howling (and the photo contest ended) - so I took those as my cue.
Most of the time when we photograph plants, we do it at the apex of their beauty. But there's clearly a purpose for the entire life cycle of a plant or flower. It has a job to do (and is doing that job) from sprouting to growing to flowering to seeding to dying - and then starting the cycle again.
I find beauty in the entire cycle - from the potential in the seeds themselves to the contribution of the decomposition that gives the next generations a chance to complete their leg of the ever spiraling cycle(s).
So this thread is about anything but the apex of what we think of as youth's beauty...and finding beauty throughout the cycle. And, of course, this is probably a metaphor for other things, too ;).
I'll start. Here's a hibiscus about three days past its prime. I defy anyone to tell me that there's not wonder in it still: