I checked the weather forecast last night before I went to bed and decided to get up extra early and head to Circle B to get to Lake Hancock for sunrise.
The weather app said “partly cloudy” and still did, when I left home around 5:15.
The gates to the reserve were open early and when i got here at 5:40, I was able to drive right in. Unsurprisingly, I was the first car there and there was an eerie feeling stepping out of the car in near-total darkness and heading off towards the lake.
It is just a little over a half mile from the car park to the edge of the lake and without a light to guide me, it was unnerving to say the least.
From the light of my phone, I could see about 20 feet in front of me, but beyond that, there was nothing. To the left and right of me, I would periodically hear movement in the tall grasses or behind the trees and on a couple of occasions it was heavy movement … something large.
When I got closer to the lake, I could begin to see a slight definition of trees against a not-quite-black sky and my footsteps quickened. Then out of nowhere, two eagles took off from their roost right beside me and the beat of their wings created a thump in my ears.
I only caught sight of them as they cleared the tree tops and my heart skipped a beat in excitement.
As I arrived at the lake edge, I could see that the skies were full of thick grey clouds and I knew my hopes for a sunrise were not good.
And I was right, the brightening skies continued to show heavy cloud cover and other than a tiny crack in the clouds, it was smothered in grey.
I waited alone on the small pier, thinking perhaps something might happen and other than occasional invisible splashes nearby, there was nothing.
By the time I left for home, I had mixed feelings. On one hand, I was hugely disappointed photographically. But on the other hand, I had a wonderful experience of a trail in the dark. If you’ve never experienced it, you should. The possibility of tripping over a ten foot alligator certainly heightens the senses.
Anyway, later as the day wound on, I was annoyed that my great photo plans for the day had been undone and I felt stifled by factors outside of my control.
So, as I sat there in front of the PC staring out through the window at the gloomy day that it had evolved into, I thought I am not going to accept defeat and so I grabbed the camera and headed down to Hollis Gardens.
Flowers are a godsend for adding color to a gloomy day.
I have attached some of my shots at the end of the blog. Hope you enjoy.
The drive home from Hollis Gardens was much more upbeat than the earlier one and I felt energized, not by what I had seen, but by what I had done.
You see, it would have been easy to just write the day off as a failure and lick my photographic-wounds. But I recalled the old Latin phrase “non accipere clade” (never accept defeat) and was proud of myself for having grabbed onto it with both hands (even the gammy one) and generating some level of victory in my day.
There are many times in life when we are dealt with an unwinnable hand and it is important in those instances to not just fight the good fight. But to look for some fight we can perhaps win easier.
It’s not about winning or losing, it is about feeding your spirit. Any losses over time will sap your spirit and can have a really negative effect on your outlook.
Silly wins, like my Hollis Gardens visit, won’t get you any garlands at the county fair, but they can break a losing record and give you confidence in the next real fight you have to face.
Life is a perpetual battle at times and when we are so close to the coal face that all fights are serious, then each defeat hurts. So you inject some trivial battles into the mix and in so doing, you avoid becoming a perpetual loser.
Losing begets losing and winning begets winning. So, even silly wins cans become a catalyst that propels you forward into serious wins.
For me it was about photography today. But depending upon what battles you are engaged in, your alternative will be different.
Maybe you have been engaged in major corporate struggles where the viability of the company is seriously threatened. Where every major client has turned you down or is avoiding your calls. So then you find a tiny order from a small client that doesn’t save the company, but shines some light back into a dark cycle.
Or your partner tells you how useless you are at everything and how you are ruining your relationship. So, you find a friend who thinks highly of you and lets you know they enjoy their time with you.
Whatever the major struggle, the silly victory doesn’t even have to be related. It could be a dire week at the office, so you go home one night and treat yourself to a wonderful meal and a decadent dessert.
All, I am saying is firstly never accept defeat, and secondly take your wins where you can get them.
… just a thought.