Chaos is not the same as disorder. It’s not the same as random, wild, or unplanned. Chaos is the void before the universe existed. Or the hysteria following an explosion. It’s the effect on a social entity (city, town, region) of a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake. It’s not your guest room with all those boxes … or the junk drawer in the kitchen. Those are just untidy.


And in case you think maybe I’m just cherry picking the definition, here’s another:


A heap of Legos is not chaos. It’s a heap of Legos. Someone created that heap. It is intended to be what it is. The Legos are not in that pile because a tornado swept through the house and and that was the result. Moreover, your office, no matter how disorderly, is not chaos. It’s just disorganized and messy. Those of us with messy offices and guest rooms full of boxes and empty luggage can take some comfort from this.

Photo: Garry Armstrong - Late autumn, Connecticut
Photo: Garry Armstrong – Late autumn, Connecticut

So perhaps what the editor of today’s challenge was asking for is a scene of unplanned-ness. Disorganization. Random “stuff” that no human has arranged. The thing is, nature is never chaotic. It may appear random, but it isn’t.

Not being photojournalists who take pictures of war zones, riots, and other things that might legitimately be termed “chaotic,” the closest thing we’ve got is nature being natural, which to usually beautiful. It’s why gardeners work so hard to create a natural look. An orderly garden is a lot easier to create than a natural-looking one. It takes a lot of planning to achieve the look of nature unassisted .

November foliage
November foliage

There’s a lesson in here. I’m just not sure what it is.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

27 thoughts on “WHAT IS CHAOS?”

      1. lol, this is so true. I used to peruse pictures years ago on the net, and New England has so much to offer! Autumnal colours, aged homes, your series on barns, it’s endless really. God I love your humour, your so delightful.


  1. Chaos is a matter of interpretation. There is beauty in chaos. Mr. Swiss found as a Brit, I never noticed chaos, I just lived in it. Ok, over the past 50 years I have been Swiss infected. I just have t make sure my knife is looking in the right direction when I lay the table.


    1. I doubt I’ve ever experienced true chaos, but anyone who has ever been in a war zone or in the aftermath of a major calamity (plane crash, earth quake, massive flooding, etc.) probably has. Garry has been at the scene of some pretty awful stuff, including Vietnam.

      Around here, even when they are busily destroying the roads (for our own good), they have a plan, even if it’s a stupid plan. And usually some kind of police person to “direct” traffic … which inevitably results in even more massive traffic jams. The closest thing to chaos I’ve ever experienced is breakfast with two toddlers and a 5-year-old. I survived.


  2. Lovely autumnal leaves all around. Soon they will fall to the ground and pile up in heap, perhaps a messed up heap which then gets swept away by the wind, and where they go, no one knows…


    1. My son’s room was ALWAYS covered in Lego. It was dangerous for anyone older than 7 to enter. Every couple of months, I would sigh. Armed with trash bags and hand vacs, I’d make a stab at enforcing order on it. It would work … for a few days … and then, it would look like no one had ever cleaned it. He is 46 now, so apparently both of us survived. But man, those Legos would get me in the arch of my bare foot every single time. Ouch!

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  3. Oh you’re getting some of those lovely reds. Our reds are coming out too and it’s so late. It’s a beautiful day here about 54′ F. the sun is shining. No chaos here.


    1. I think those are a shrub that’s famous for turning that color. I was told it was probably “burning bush” (apt name) and that’s what it does. And yes, we are finally getting a little bit of red around here. Our couple of maple trees suddenly decided to change color after all. Better late than never!

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