Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #129: Favorite Images of 2020

To be hopeful in bad times is based on the fact that human history is not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand Utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.~Howard Zinn

Most of us will remember 2020 as a very difficult year, when our our plans for the future were derailed, our faith in societal institutions was severely tested, and our resiliency and strength of character were on display–for better or for worse.  At times, I thought of this photo taken in New South Wales of a burned out section of scrubland destroyed by wildfire.   For me it symbolized this past year–both in its acknowledgment of the devastating power of nature and, at the same time, the hopefulness of regeneration.  The vivid green grass is a reminder that nature and the human race will endure.

In times of pain, when the future is too terrifying to contemplate and the past too painful to remember, I have learned to pay attention to right now. The precise moment I was in was always the only safe place for me.~Julia Cameron

This year, I found some tranquility by focusing on the present moment and blocking out my worries about the future.  Flowers helped me focus because they were a constant reminder to pay attention to their fleeting beauty.

Summer Beauty, Portsmouth, NH

 

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. -Albert Einstein

This image brings to mind the power of nature to astound us with its beauty and soothe both mind and spirit.  I captured this cone flower on one of many walks through the gardens of Prescott Park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Black-Eyed Susans at Sunset

 

There is no education like adversity. ~Disraeli

Adversity has tested us this year and has taught us some lessons about ourselves and others.  This image, captured several years on a road trip through Albuquerque, New Mexico was “buried” in my files.  When I “rescued” it, I was delighted by the stark beauty of the scene.  The barren, hardscrabble landscape is a reminder that I will find hidden nuggets of beauty and wisdom even in moments of gloom and adversity.

Sign in the Road, Albuquerque, NM

 

Never make predictions, especially about the future. ~Casey Stengel

This final image was captured on a night when the weather forecasters predicted cloudy skies and oppressive showers.  This sunset was a gift of incredible beauty, hope, and optimism.  It reminded me that it was easy to get lost in the gloom, but keeping my mind and heart open to the unexpected, the unknown, rewarded me with a gift of beauty and happiness.

Now, as I wrap up my trip back in time to 2020, I’d like to pause and circle back to my opening quote by Howard Zinn.  It’s true that the new year got off to a rocky start, bringing news of more political unrest, a raging virus sweeping through the world, and mounting deaths.  We all have very good reasons to feel hopeless, angry and frustrated, but at the same time, Howard Zinn reminds us that these feelings rob us of our energy and our compassion, and limit our ability to be a positive force for good–not only for ourselves, but for others.  His words have often been my talisman.  They express so beautifully the hope that our actions and thoughts will be lights in the darkness.

I invite you to join Tina’s “Favorite Photos of 2020” challenge this week and encourage you to visit her site.  Her beautiful images and words are a delight.

We are excited to announce that next week’s challenge will be guest hosted by Slow Shutter Speed’s Anne Sandler. Be sure to stop by her blog this week to see her beautiful photography and to make sure you don’t miss her post next Saturday at noon EST.

And finally, my wish for all of you– a new year filled with joy, satisfaction, and good health.

68 replies »

  1. Surprising what you can sometimes find lurking in folders, Patti. If I didn’t delete them they usually mean something to me. I like your positivity. It’s not easy to maintain, though we start with a burst of it at the turn of the year. Easier to take refuge in lovely photographs. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Jo. It’s true. It’s not easy to maintain. We started the new year with news of my father’s passing after a long decline. It’s going to be a tough year for many of us, but hopefully, there is some sunshine up ahead. I hope you have some lovely sunshine where you are now! Enjoy your time in nature, too. All the best in the new year.

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      • Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, Patti! There’s no such thing as a happy ending when it comes to a parent 😔. In common with much of Europe we have a cold blast here but the days are as bright and beautiful as we choose to make them. Sending hugs 🤗💕💕

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Anne. I was so struck by the flowers this past year. They were a gift. It’s a struggle to stay in the present moment these days, but I’m trying!! Take care and all the best in the new year.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well Patti, of course your image, as always, are wonderful. I especially loved the New Mexico structure (and your comments about it) and the glorious sunset – WOW! Also wonderful is your message this week which of course rings true for us all. I’ve actually copied your opening quote and posted it as a reminder in my office. It truly spoke to me. Wishing you and yours only the best, including health and joy, in the new year. Proud to call you friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Tina. I’m so glad the images and words “spoke” to you. I love Howard Zinn’s view of history and human nature. It’s what I need to hear right now! Glad you agree. As for my wishes for you, I will echo your lovely thoughts and wish you the same, my friend. Your friendship and support through these turbulent times have been wonderful.

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  3. Beautiful write up and the photos added that zing to your words, Patti. I was happy to see one of my favorite dystopian B/W making the cut. The ‘rescue’ was certainly not in vain. Wishing you a wonderful 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Sheetal. Glad the words and images “spoke” to you! I am foolishly hoping to find another treasure in my archives…um. We’ll see what I discover! All the best to you, too, in the new year. Thanks for being such a wonderful fan of LAPC!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, IJ. I hope the new year brings you plenty of good health, satisfaction, and joy. We’re off to a rocky start, aren’t we? But we can’t lose hope. Thanks for your thoughts on the flower and the desert images. It’s time to take my camera outside and hunt for some more inspiration! Take care, IJ. Stay well.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. 2020 was a challenging year. Those challenges are still with us for now, but we have hope that by the end of the year, we will see something closer to “normal.”

    Your closing photo beautifully illustrates the comments by Howard Zinn.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So true, John. The challenges are still here. My “new normal” timeline has shifted, too. I think the end of the year is more realistic. We made some travel plans for the summer and fall, but they can all be cancelled and refunded. (Sigh). Here’s hoping we can travel again before long! Take care and all the best in the new year.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A beautiful post, Patti. And I too love the Zinn quote – so true. So true. You have been a strong support to me throughout, and when I lost my mother too. I am sorry for the loss of your father – and I have been thinking a lot about you. I admire your strength and ability to stay positive. Always. I believe it is cantagious…you always make me feel better, Patti! Wishing you and yours all the best for 2021 – let’s make it as good as we can.
    Favourite? The last one, the sky and the beach – just gorgeous.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hi Patti, All your photos here express beauty, hope, and optimism, the last image says even more.
    I will always remember your “pause and circle back to the quote by Howard Zinn”. The words are hopeful, comforting, and moving…
    Thank you for this beautiful post.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Beautiful work, Patti, The colors of the sunset are stunning. How true was this quote in 2020? “Never make predictions, especially about the future.” ~Casey Stengel Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what 2020 would hold, but even when it happened, I had a hard time fathoming it. Thanks for bringing a little light into a dark world in 2020 and starting again in 2021. 🙂

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