Believe it or not, that is three sunsets in a row that I have made the effort and traveled with camera to capture. Only to be thwarted (love that word) by the gods and their endless cloud-fun at my expense.
Last night I drove to Cypress Point in Tampa. It’s about 40 minutes from me but it is a bustling city beach/park that points west and is great for a good sunset.
I spoke with both of my daughters on my way there, excited because the skies looked seriously promising. In my mind’s eye I was going to be treated to wonderful reds and oranges and violets as the falling sun worked her magic on the dispersed clouds above her horizon.
In fact I was almost there when I first noticed the thick band of cloud that clumsily was hugging the horizon, right where the sun was due to go down. Just five degrees of vision to the north or south and it would have been find.
But no. It decided that it was going to hang right there and tough shit on anyone that thought they were going to get a light show.
And for the next hour, it sat there with malicious intent and didn’t budge an inch. It was kind of like that family-bully that stands directly in front of the TV while they pluck a wedgie from an unyielding ass.
I shot what I could and while nothing here is likely to win any prizes, understand that other than a beautiful young lady in a bikini, there really wasn’t very much to shoot in all seriousness.
There were a couple of “kissing terns”, and some diving pelicans, and a very pretty little wild-flower of some sort. The moon hung nicely in the blue skies to the south and some back-lit clouds gave a splash of color behind me to the east.
And there were some some delicate little footprints in the wet sands from some earlier feathered friends.
An arriving plane gave me a moment of creativity as I pulled the moon in a little closer behind him thanks to the miracle of photopaint.
But that was it.
Hope you find something here worth the view!
Anyway the feeling this morning as I reluctantly opened the folder with these images and began to sort through them was essentially a feeling of anger at being robbed by the gods once again.
I mean, the other night when I drove across to the east shore of Lake Parker for a sunset, I knew in my heart and soul before leaving that the skies didn’t look like they were going to give up anything.
So the drive over was very much couched in a sense of realism that the journey was going to be wasted.
But last night was a journey full of optimism and expectation that disappeared only in the last few minutes of the ride down.
And really that is what spawned the thought for this morning’s blog … how reality, optimism, and expectation are often at odds with each other.
Sometimes in life we base our optimism and expectations on what we want to happen, or perhaps wish to happen. We over-extend our desires to where we in effect create a long-shot of a successful outcome.
But other times, like last night for me, we base the optimism on what seems like a sound reading of the situation we find ourselves in and so the expectation seems well-grounded in a likely outcome.
We all know the old adage of never counting your chickens and this is unfortunately what optimism and expectation work against. We begin to count them, making the sudden loss even more damning when it happens.
The gods conspire at times. And that notion which appeared first in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, serves to remind us that situations that happen in our lives are rarely a direct result of something we do or don’t do. Want or don’t want. Need or don’t need.
By elevating the conspiracy to “the gods”, the futility of the human struggle is made more obvious. How can we ever be expected to compete with such twisted forces?
So does this mean we should never have optimism or expectations?
No and Yes.
Optimism is a key driving force in our lives that brings us on paths which we are unsure of. Optimism gives us a reason to be willing to take the risk and so it is absolutely a good human trait.
But, expectation is the Achilles heal of our best laid plans. It leads us to believe that we already know the outcome before it has happened. Expectation never accounts for the games that gods choose to play and so it is a bad trait.
Expectation leads to disappointment, frustration, and resentment which, while completely understandable, undermine the whole learning process of a moment of failure.
We learn nothing when our emotions run so high that they dismiss life’s lesson with a pout or a snarl.
Life is fundamentally chaos. Shit happens regardless.
We all know that. Every one of us has experienced it.
So to imagine that we can somehow orchestrate an outcome with our own will and desire is a fool’s errand. Will and desire put us in the game. They do not guarantee the win.
In the game of life, our journey takes us through several wins and losses, bad decisions, bruised knees and battered egos. We can play our little hearts out but the only guaranteed result is that eventually the gods will blow the final whistle and our game will be over.
Until then, we might as well grab the ball and enjoy the game.
… just a thought.