The knee is still fucked so heading to a trail somewhere wasn’t an option for me this morning. Other than some commercial assignments, my camera work has been very muted this past couple of weeks and I was in a desperate need of escape.

In the hope of a colorful twilight, I headed off to Lake Parker at six. Wouldn’t have to walk much and the weather seemed color-friendly. Or so I thought.

Any plans I had of a glorious and peaceful sunrise, unraveled as I made it to the boat pier. The parking lot was almost completely full, with more than 30 pick-up trucks, trailers, and boats. Unaware, I had found myself in the middle of a fishing competition and as I stepped from my car, the heightened levels of conversations among the 60 or 70 competitors drowned out any of the normal waking bird sounds I am normally greeted by.

In recognizing that this was never going to be a photo opportunity for me, Mother Nature decided to throw enough clouds onto the horizon to kill any prospect of a nice twilight.

For a moment, I felt stumped and other than taking some shots to capture some of the busy-ness going on, my options there were quite limited. I waited until all the boats had left but with civil twilight over and no colors happening, there wasn’t really anything more for me to do there.

So, I drove down to the side of the lake opposite the fire-station and captured some of the actual sunrise after it broke the horizon and irradiated the edges of the clouds as it began its journey upwards for the day.

I even captured a couple of shots of a beautiful Great Egret who was originally just standing there watching the antics of the smaller birds in the reeds. But then, he didn’t like my proximity and flew away.

I have put some shots at the end of the blog. Hope you enjoy.

It was on my way home (as it most often is), that my head began to muse over the chaos of the morning and how it had altered my expectations.

Oftentimes, we plan things in life based on our understanding of the situation as it exists. Not what might exist.

And yet, it would be ridiculous to imagine all the complications that life could throw at any of our plans, as doing so would probably mean that we would end up doing nothing.

So beyond planning for things in life, we have to be able to react when the unexpected happens and adjust ourselves in response. It is always easier to just walk away, take our ball, and go home. But that is never the correct response.

We may indeed arrive at that moment at a later point. But, initially we have to meet the unexpected challenge and see what we can do about overcoming it.

Clearly some of the unexpected become showstoppers. For example, when the sky doesn’t fill up with the colors we want for a sunrise, we can’t influence it to do so.

But when faced with other happenings, we owe it to ourselves to try to manage our path beyond them. Though they may appear chaotic and confusing, they can often be dealt with by stepping back, analyzing, and amending our plans to deal with whatever has arisen.

While many of the unexpected issues could not possibly have been planned for, others could perhaps have been better anticipated and therefore worked into our plans to deal with them in the first place.

And if we didn’t anticipate something that perhaps we should have, then we need to ask ourselves why we didn’t plan for that. This becomes part of our self-analysis and ultimately our learning and growth as people living in a chaotic world.

I refer to it as a chaotic world because for most of us, life is indeed mayhem from the moment we get up in the morning to the time we rest back down on the pillow. Very few of us will experience relentlessly predictable days.

Unless we are living in a friary or convent, most of us experience plans unraveling on a persistent level.

As Robert Burns famously wrote “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” So, whenever we make our plans, we must also anticipate as many possible happenings as we can and determine what impact they might have.

In modern times, we have adapted that approach to ” Hope for the best and prepare for the worst”.

Our plans, our approach, our expectations, all need to evolve when we find mayhem in our path.

In fact, even the word “mayhem” evolved as its use widened from its original intent. Did you know that the word originated as a legal term to a crime of maiming or disfiguring another person, back in the 15th century? Yet nowadays, the word is used to describe any kind of chaos or disorder.

Whoever coined the word initially could never have planned for its widespread acceptance into the spoken vernacular. Such a chaotic application of the word ultimately led to its wider meaning, while at the same time retaining its specifically negative connotation.

How could its creator ever have planned for such a thing?

… just a thought.