Reflect or Look to the Future?


It is always around New Years people reflect on the past year. It was always odd to me to follow this tradition. I myself incorporate learned lessons as they are learned. It drives one into the future and what challenges one to move forward.


The future should be more exciting than the past because it is just right in front of us, a path not yet taken. I suppose the past journey is what influences our future choices. Our life experiences go into every move we make on the journey forward. Inspiration pushes one forward, and creative passion is what drives the motivation to a better and changing future. Without, life just kinda stagnates. It is why art in many disciplines was always part of my life.


This got me to thinking about the past and all the amazing things I did and experienced though. Many of those things are far more exciting than what I live today.


For instance, I traveled most of the country (48 states, now I am up to 49), visited almost every major league baseball stadium seeing and even meeting famous players, had season tickets to every Philadelphia sports team, including all playoffs, been to the US Open more than once, Indy 500, Kentucky Derby and saw every rock band that was anybody through the 70’s (like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, Rod Stewart, The Doors, Genesis,  Bruce Springsteen and about 50 others. (I worked at Ticketron for three years while in high school in the 70’s) And I mean every big name out there – a few I met – even those from the 60’s (performing in the 70’s like Dylan and the Rolling Stones), and some into the 80’s. I saw Queen before they were really famous. It is funny how some of these bands or lead singers still perform today.

Female Cardinal

Female Cardinal

I skied many famous mountains from Vermont to Colorado and Utah. I showed and raced horses. I competed in gymnastics and tennis. The list is long of events or activities, many things I am forgetting. I was fortunate to be with people who enjoyed and could afford these events. I was fortunate to be healthy and fit too. I really had a full and exciting life.


All this came flooding back to me when I turned on the TV and Showtime was playing the Who’s 50th Anniversary concert in Hyde Park. I saw them in their prime and then again as old geezers on the TV. I was actually shocked they have been performing for 50 years. I was in elementary school then and not even aware of rock music. But watching them and the images reflected behind them of when they were young made me reflect back on my life and think of all the cool things I did or experienced.


The band members no longer looked like elderly guys to me. I also realized their music was touching people of all ages. When the camera scanned the crowd, excited fans were singing along of every age.

While my music interests are more current Alternative or Indie today, the rock of old still has a fresh feel. Different, but still relevant, and in a way, deeper. Peter Townshend’s song Bargain was about making a bargain with God. I never knew that until the interview with the artist in the Showtime special. It makes reading those lyrics pretty darn meaningful.

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

So what does that have to do with my passions for today? Well, not much it seems other than to realize life takes a big turn and my passions seem to follow right along. Things change, and without things from the past, we would not be who we are today. Many things I did, I can no longer do because of age or health.


I look at my photography and back then, I was not into shooting birds. I shot rock concerts. I shot sporting events. Later I shot architecture. I carried my camera while skiing and horseback riding. My passion of activities guided my passion of photography. Passion was always alive and a key to my happiness.


So while today, shooting birds of prey is far more exciting to me than shooting songbirds, it still pays to remember from where one comes on the path to discovery. Sure the eagle photos are more refined, the photography a bit more skillful, the equipment more sophisticated. Things change. So life as we move on comes back on itself, back through reflection, but always with an eye to a more mature and polished future.


Like these songbirds which are common and boring to many, they really are just as important as any of the flashier birds I photograph and are but a reflection of birds I photographed in the past. Likely, very few if any of them are alive today. A lot of those rock greats are no longer with us either. Time marches on…but through art, song, or talent, it lives on for new generations to appreciate and adore.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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65 Responses to Reflect or Look to the Future?

  1. The world is so amazing and so beautiful; I love your gorgeous reminders of the amazing creatures that surround us.

  2. johnvic8 says:

    Donna, you have touched a special spot. I like to think back to Joe Dimaggio, Peggy Lee, and Nat King Cole (I have a few years on you), but it is the thinking that is the same for both of us. I pray the coming year will bring you peace and good health. Happy New Year.

  3. Charlotte says:

    Creative writing is also one of your greatest talents… enjoyed this entry!
    Healthy and happiness to you in this new year, Donna.

  4. swo8 says:

    Lovely post, Donna. Very sentimental.

    • Thank you, Leslie. Music brings emotion out in people more I think. I wonder if science backs that up?

      • swo8 says:

        Maybe not hard science yet, but you will find that music can bring out the inner being of people after – say a stroke. Sometimes they are able to sing when they can’t speak. Very interesting to research this.

  5. You never cease to amaze me with all your talents! Who knew about all the previous stuff you’ve been photographing? I knew about the architecture, but I had no idea about the sporting events and rock concerts. You are a very diverse artist I must say. And from your commitment to your passions I know you put your heart into all of them.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experiences with us. You have touched us all in so many ways. Happy New Year!

    • Thanks Sue. I used to paint from my photo images too. I painted quite a few rock stars. One of Roger Daltrey won me a really nice monetary award plus a partial scholarship in high school too. Happy New Year.

  6. David says:

    Some really great photos in this serious. I especially like the two female cardinals and the penultimate photo. I think the way you captured the action in that photo is as impressive as any bird of prey shot. I also enjoyed the commentary very much.

  7. I love your pictures! 🙂

    Happy New Year!

  8. How fortunate to have seen all these artists perform live! [the Doors – Genesis [Gabriel era?] etc I’d love to have heard ‘the lamb…’ performed live!]. Following that tradition has always been odd to me too but it’s nice going down memory lane from time to time and yours triggered insightful thoughts, for which I am very grateful you shared. While that tradition may not be that vital, remembering all those who are no longer with us is precious [that includes those wonderful beings you so beautifully capture]. 🙂

  9. Mike Powell says:

    Beautiful words and beautiful images–thanks for sharing them both with us so freely.

  10. Great post. Wonderful pictures. The cardinals are stunning.

  11. libbylottie says:

    Enjoyed both your words and photos so much! So fun to hear about all your life experiences and see your fabulous photos. Donna, I pray that this year finds you especially happy and healthy!

  12. Here’s tp passions in the new year!

  13. Your post made me reflect on how passions evolve and are building blocks. I was cleaning out some gardening files that included wish lists of plants that I would never put in my garden today because my purpose has changed. It was interesting to reflect on the journey but the new year offers new opportunities and adventures. Happy New Year Donna!

    • It is amazing as we travel through life how much we change direction and the concessions we make. Back then, I thought I would never settle down. Life had too much to offer. It still does as we turn the page to each chapter of our lives. It is just the story we wish to write. Now for me, travel is back in my life and I look forward to all that it offers.

  14. rose says:

    Your photos of songbirds are anything but boring–even the starlings look cute in their photo! My past life is pretty mundane compared to yours, but I find as I get older that it’s the simpler things in life I most appreciate. Passions change, but what is most important is that we still have a passion for something–your photography is such a gift that inspires all of us. Wishing you a very Happy New Year, Donna!

    • Thanks Rose. I don’t think them boring either, but the professional photogs do. It has more to do with accessibility, skill of capture and how ordinary or unique the subject. You are right about keeping passion in one’s life. I want to enjoy new things as I get easily bored. Finding a new passion is not always so easy. It must grip and hold tight to become a passion. It must permeate one’s very being.

  15. You always touch on so many issues/ideas yet seem to connect them all. This was a refreshing ‘New Year’s’ post.
    But I wanted to make this observation: I think it was easier to be part of the concert scene back in the 60’s-70’s…think of all the free/low cost concerts given in local parks/venues/college campuses by many of these touring ‘greats’…Now it’s always about packing out the football stadium type of concerts where music venues are now in fact based upon sports arenas with access to sound boards, etcc.

    So cool for you to have that part of your life and history (!!!) recorded in memory and on film.

    And no, I’m not one to pine for the ‘good old days’….. 😉

    • I know!!!! I ramble from thought to thought quite often. My mind is always in overdrive. I remember those tickets being over $100 back then too. I also remember buying extra popular tickets (from my job) for my friend to scalp. My friend would make the money back for us to go by selling the tickets at extreme pricing. We used to see concerts in the Tower Theater and the Spectrum in Philadelphia. The Spectrum was a rather large arena. Some of the best/biggest shows were held there, like the Stones and the Who. I saw Queen and Lou Reed in Rhode Island. I think that place burnt down though. I remember going to NYC too for concerts. What a great time that was… the good old days as you say.

  16. Every time I talk to you (or in this case read your post) I hear about more fascinating things you’ve done! Very cool.

    • And my life had so much more. I kinda just hit some highlights here too. Skiing had some real adventures, so did that cross country trip. It lasted more than a year where I lived in New Orleans and Salt Lake City for a number of months. The part in California was one of the most memorable places as was Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico. I loved seeing the South West.

  17. paxami says:

    Your are indeed a renaissance woman. There’s probably some really good cooking tucked in there somewhere too. It is best to keep our focus forward, I think, but past choices tint the color of our glasses. Wishing you the best new year.

    • Ha ha! I wish. If I was a true artist I would have stayed in the South West like New Mexico to paint and do stained glass. I have this affinity for Georgia O’Keeffe’s style of work. I could have easily found myself through my art. Likely I would have taken up pottery too.

  18. I enjoyed it very much to learn more about you and your life. What you did in former times.
    It’s always amazing not only to recognize how the past influences the present time or the future (as well as our behaviour and our actions) but also to notice that there is one thing which will never change, which hast just been there right from the beginning: passion!
    Even if age or health might hinder from doing what we did in young years, they cannot prevent that we still are doing our today’s “stuff” with reckless abandon. Isn’t it kind of a relief to know that? ^^

    Have a nice weekend, Donna!

    • I think the past really molded much of me. It opened me up to seeing many types of art. Sports too. There is something primal about sports. Passion is a driving factor in my life. It has a way of taking over to almost obsessive/compulsive fervor. Architecture was like that for a very long while. The creativity is like a force. It fights, it caresses, it grabs hold tight, it taunts.

  19. Wow, I had no idea. You have had an exciting time. I think as we get older most of us move on to quieter, more reflective passions. The important thing is to maintain our engagement with the world, and continue to take pleasure in life, even if they are quiet pleasures. Happy new year!

    • I may have more fully entered the passive phase with nature, but that was always part of my makeup. Riding my horse and skiing were ways to be alone in nature to just sit back, breath in the fresh air, gaze skyward in awe to take pause of the grandeur and beauty all around. There is no greater feeling than awe. One realizes how small they are in the scheme of things. It is in places like that where one also sets a course to make a difference and contribute too. My next post touches on this found epiphany where people are shaped by their experiences and pushed by awe.

  20. rogerbrook says:

    Not only a lovely post Donna but all those warm comments from your readers who you have reached out to.

  21. Emily Scott says:

    I actually prefer your songbird photos to the hawks and other birds of prey. The little birds seem more expressive to me.

    • They can be. I have had some hawks with vivid intent too. They show their power and majesty. The thing with raptors, photographers are always looking for that special shot with them. I suppose I feel that way a bit too.

  22. alesiablogs says:

    We all have so much to learn from each other. It is in that spirit, I feel very blessed t call you my friend. Very nice post.

  23. I’m close in age to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and quite a bit older than Led Zeppelin and the Who. It amazes my 14 year old grandson that I know the lyrics of their songs and can talk ‘intelligently’ about these bands that he now follows. I enjoy having that connection with him.
    Loved learning more about you, Donna. I prefer the songbird pictures to birds of prey — never boring the way you photograph them. Wishing you a Happy and Healthy 2016! P. x

    • I never did see any of the Beatles. They were never a group I followed, but their popularity was unmatched. Watching that special, there was quite a few teenagers in that crowd. Listening to the music, I realized how timeless it was too. It does not hurt that the WHO songs are used for TV shows so often – like for CSI. It helps with spanning the generations. Thanks Pam. Happy New Year to you too.

  24. bittster says:

    What a great way to look at the new year, not just as a to-do list but as a new adventure waiting to happen. Happy New Year!

    • My next post talks a bit about how we see the New Year. Rather than focus on all the faults that need fixing, why not look ahead to things we want/wish to happen. I doubt many look forward to hitting the gym for sore year-long unused muscles.

  25. Denise says:

    Your photographs of songbirds are not common or boring at all. They are adorable and beautiful.

  26. debsgarden says:

    You have certainly had a full life! LIfe changes as we age, but I realize that each day is important unto itself and joy is in appreciating the small moments. Rock concerts were great, but so is the flight of a beautiful bird. Thank you for sharing your moments with us!

  27. A.M.B. says:

    Happy New Year! You have had a very exciting life. It’s been wonderful to get to see what you share of your passions on your blogs.

  28. Indie says:

    I love how one can find new hobbies and be able to explore different passions throughout one’s life! I believe in doing something totally different every few years; I would get bored if I kept doing the same things all the time. It sounds like you got to experience some really great things, and it’s great how some of those things really stand the test of time. I wish you a happy and healthy New Year!

  29. Lula says:

    Happy new year Donna! You are a box full of surprises!!! Yes, goals, ideals, change throughout life and like you I am more inclined now to enjoy and observe and photograph nature. I just think it´s a matter of balance and finding the energy one needs to go on. I find great serenity in photographing botanicals, perhaps because I live now in a big city, but if I look back I think I have always loved the same things, just with different intensity.

    • Happy New Year, Lula. Yes, yes, yes. BALANCE. That was always something I struggled with, the time to include so much in my life. Getting things in balance was kinda what happened, happened. It is always friendships that one has trouble keeping when far too busy. Photographing does add the needed peace.

  30. I don’t look much in the past either…I build on those talents and use them today on my new journey. You have a rich history and amazing future Donna…it was great to get to know more about you and all your talents.

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