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.
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.
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.