Lens Artists Photo Challenge – Chaos

OK, so the opening image doesn’t look all that chaotic. It isn’t. It’s what people expect and indeed like to see. A place for everything and everything in it’s place. This vegetable stand in a warehouse mall in Mazatlan, Mexico is well organized and stocked, ready for sale. This week, Ann-Christine, however, wants us to focus on the chaotic.  OK, how’s this? Coconuts opened and ready to be made into coconut flakes. Also in Mexico at a “coconut farm” (for lack of a better term.)

Ann-Christine says, “Feel free to interpret Chaos any way you want – what it looks like, how you cope with it, how you work on it, what you will do when everything calms down, etc. ” You can read her entire challenge post here.

And so it went this week for my wife and I. We had all our ducks in a row, the opening photo represents last week and all the things we had organized and planned as we worked on departing from Arizona to Fargo. I would retire from my position as Civil Air Patrol North Dakota Wing Commander, and at the end of April, we would fly to Rome to get on a cruise ship to travel the Mediterranean. That was last week. As of today, though I still will retire my position in early April, I no longer have to be there. The activities that were scheduled for the first few days in April are on hold as the COVID-19 virus continues to wreak havoc around the world.

Nor will we be heading to Rome or getting on a cruise ship anytime soon. Unless some miracle happens, and COVID-19 goes away in a hurry, our cruising days are on hold. I’m not making light of the tragedy that this pandemic has caused for thousands of people around the world. Indeed, if these minor annoyances to me are the worst of my troubles, I’ve got nothing to complain about. And, we can hang around Arizona to enjoy the warm climate a couple of weeks longer than originally planned.

Although we think of Interstate highways as organized and structured for the most efficient ways to move around a metropolitan area, they can look pretty chaotic from the air. This Interstate system is the I-10, and I believe it’s the interchange that moves traffic to I-69, if I recall correctly. When it backs up with traffic, the I-10 can be quite chaotic, but it’s often a slow-moving chaos. Last month, it took me over 90 minutes to go 33 miles from my house in Buckeye to Sky Harbor Airport near downtown Phoenix. To feel really chaotic, try being in the far left lane and seeing the sign that you need to exit on the right, six lanes to the right, and you’ve got only a half-mile to go.

My last chaotic image is this photo of a bowl of beads captured at a bead store in Colorado. At least there is a plastic spoon there to help you sort through and find that perfect specimen that you’ve been looking for all your life.

In this time of uncertainty, I offer our hopes and prayers that the virus fades into oblivion as quickly as it came upon us. Best wishes to you and yours, and don’t forget to wash your hands. Stay safe.

John Steiner



  1. Dear John – yes, chaos is upon us all. Well illustrated in both images and words. We have also had to cancel traveling plans and visits to friends. My choir meetings, lectures and more. The little life is coming back – and so are the canals in Venice. They are now blue and the fish is coming back. Mother Nature is indeed teaching us a lesson – hopefully we will learn something. Stay safe and enjoy Arizona!

  2. Terrific post John – loved your shot of the highway from the air. And congrats on your retirement. You’re right, we cannot complain about our minor annoyances (although a cancelled trip to Rome and a cruise of the Mediterranean isn’t really minor is it?!). But knowing there are others far more impacted, and that there are people dying, is not felt as dramatically unless they are people we know or love. All of our hearts to go out to who are sick or have lost loved ones. I fear we are in for the long haul and it will get far worse before it gets better. Stay safe out there in warm Arizona.

  3. Wonderful images and message, John. We are putting our plans on hold, too, and waiting to see what happens. You were very smart not to go. We keep looking at the photos of people stranded in airports. What a mess!

  4. Excellent interpretation of this challenge. Did you go on that cruise? It sounds similar to one I wanted to write about: Ancient Lands by Viking. But it seems insensitive to write about this time in my life with all the strife we’re enduring right now. Currently, we’re touring our neighborhood each day trying to get our steps in!

    • The cruise was scheduled to depart on May 3, but as of this week, all Norwegian Cruise Lines cruises were canceled through May 10. This week I canceled our flight to Rome (which was already shut down by American Airlines anyway.) I would reschedule the same cruise for next year with our credit, but they aren’t offering this itinerary right now. We are looking at our options since we aren’t likely to go anywhere on a cruise ship before 2021. You are right that what cruise to sail on is definitely a first world problem. Someday the virus will be conquered and life will go on. I hope that my wife and I are still around to see things return to “normal.”

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