It was a surreal early evening in Kansas near the town of Council Grove when I took this photograph.
I was camped on the edge of Council Lake and the wind was harsh, whipping up large waves on the lake. It was an unusual sight seeing whitecaps on top of angry waves — as if I was already on the coast of Florida.
The entire sky had a burnt orange look to it. It felt alien and exciting at the same time. I ventured to the edge of the lake where there was a sea of seagrass (lame pun?) bent to the will of the wind.
I looked up and saw what looked like the eye of Sauron in the clouds, boldly spying upon us. Vast groups of birds were flying under and away from the sun, urgent wings singling unrest.
I stopped at the edge of the lake, where dry mud of the earth was cratered. I could go no further else I’d sink into the cracks. Flocks of birds were huddled there, seeking refuge from the wind. Torn feathers were scattering all around, ripped from their hosts.
Standing there, it felt like quiet madness everywhere — the sky, birds under siege, an angry lake, howling winds, the sun a burning coal staring down at us.
Later that evening I remember the winds rocking my camper as I slept fitfully through the night.
Looking at the photo alone without the back story seems to convey a sense of serene, calm beauty, doesn’t it?