“What do you see?”
Cindy’s mom offered her a photo as the two sat next to each other over breakfast on a lovely summer morning. The daughter was prepared for the game and eagerly grasp the photo to see what gem from the old world she was going to get to see.
The contrast between her summer heat and the cold and snow in the picture was the first thing to jump out at her, but Cindy quickly discarded the idea of responding about that. With her mom there was always something deeper to look for, some lesson to be learned. The next thing that caught her attention was the dangerousness of driving automobiles in such conditions and how foolish they had been as a species at that time. But, they had already discussed pride on a different morning and Cindy suspected that the risks humans used to take was closely aligned to their pride.
That was probably the trick with this photo, Cindy thought. Her mom wanted was testing her to see if she would jump to mention the cars and the slick and icy roads or if she would delve further and see what else was going on. And then she spotted something so ridiculous she blurted it out, slapping her hand across her mouth immediately after, but too late, of course, to keep the words from reaching her mother.
“Are those snowflakes attached to that light pole?”
Ignoring her daughter’s embarrasement for having spoken without thinking it through, Cindy’s mom urged her to continue on that train of thought, “And why is that so surprising?”
Removing her hand from her mouth, Cindy returned her attention the picture. She realized she had lucked into the the right answer and she needed to study the photograph to determine what exactly about the snowflakes had drawn her attention. “Why would they hang snowflakes like that in a place that gets covered with snow and ice every winter already? It’s not like they need a reminder of what they look like. From the histories we’ve studied it sure seems like living in those conditions was a lot of work. Placing the snowflakes there feels like a slap in the face.”
Cindy glanced into her mother’s face and saw approval there. She had done well and allowed herself a smile. But, the smile dropped to a frown as her curiosity forced her to ask, “So, why would the old generations have done that?”
“The snowflakes were part of the decorations that went with the holiday known as Christmas, and for our purposes today they represent the truth that over time all pageantry and traditions will trend toward the absurd. As the people who first began to honor something with a celebration die off, the original ideas behind the why, behind the need of that celebration will distort as their children take over, and on and on until eventually people find themselves doing things that no longer make sense, or are offensive, or are ridiculous, simply because ‘it is tradition.'”
Cindy nodded as she processed her mom’s response and then asked, “Is that why we no longer have holidays of any kind?”
“That’s one of the reasons, yes. This picture was taken in a time of excess, near the height of humans reign and power on this planet. As the years grew harder and we diminished, we had to work harder to survive until we no longer had time for such silliness.”
“Will we ever return to a time of excess?”
“Everything is cyclical. What we had once, we will have again. But, with all that we now know about the world, would you really want to return to a time like that? Would you really want to live in a world that behaved so poorly?”
Cindy studied the picture one last time. “No,” she responded firmly and then handed it back to her mom to file away with the rest of the photographs.
What do you see?
Write it, link it to this week’s Once More With Feeling challenge, and then post it so we can all read your thoughts and ideas inspired by the photograph provided.
60 thoughts on “a view into the past”
Now, that was a direction I wasn’t expecting. Good twist!
Thank you! 😀
Definitely a different direction. But then it’s kinda hard to think about winter holidays in the heat of summer and the accompanying holidays.
Too hot here recently… far too hot. It’s been melting my brain.
We had a two day heat wave here. It was rather uncomfortable but we’re back to morning clouds afternoon sun and pleasant temps. Sorry, but I had to share. I’d send it down your way if I could. 🙂
We are actually having a cooler week, too. Just seems like the two or three weeks before this one were ridiculously hot. But, thank you for offering to share.
Excess is right…
What are you saying?
That we have excess excess.
Well, not all of us, but in general, yes. Though, perhaps we are on the decline? Or, have we yet to peak in our excess?
I doubt it has peaked.
I’m trying to decide if that is the pessimistic or optimistic stand point.
Pessimistic. We humans are a greedy lot, sadly.
We are many and varied. And greed is a key factor for a lot of us, yes.
You say pessimistic, but there are many industries that would be happy to know that our excess hasn’t peaked. And jobs that rely on those industries. And tables that will have food on them because of those jobs.
The beauty of being human, and free. We can look at a piece of information and interpret it completely differently. Sometimes there is no right or wrong answer. Sometimes there is only living, there is only doing the best with what we have.
I do the best with the alcohol I have.
And sometimes that is the right answer.
I’m hoping I’m doing at least 50/50 right now.
I’m hoping to do some 151 a little later.
Ohhhhhhhhh…that sounds like you’ll be drunk!
Though, the truths of the future are unknown.
No kidding. If I knew them I’d be at the store buying a lottery ticket instead of wasting away at work.
A lottery ticket? If you knew the truths of the future that is what you would do? Circling back to greed so quickly?
I didn’t say I’d keep it all. I’m a charitable trooper.
Twist. Well played. Well played, indeed.
I’d keep it all, because greed.
We both know better than that.
I think it would depend on what the truths were/are. Perhaps I’m not who I seem to be.
Yeah, well, everyone sees what they want to see.
That was the point I was trying to get to, yes.
I’m in a weird mood today. I’m very much looking forward to my break next week (going backpacking with my brother). I’m not sure what will happen with the kingdom when I get back.
What do you mean? Do you and I need to chat?
Cycle, cycle, cycle.
I have a very addictive personality. Every few years I pick up a new hobby and run with it until I burn out and walk away.
I’m not sure if writing is part of that or not. But, blogging? Maybe… I need to see how I feel after a week away. I need to see what I have energy for. I’m exhausted most days and the time I spend here can sometimes uplift me, but sometimes sap everything I have left.
I get that. Whatever you decided, I hope we stay in contact.
Will do, my friend. No question about that.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I might not LET you have it any other way.
By the by, hit me up when you get back. I’ve started a story I’d like your opinion on.
That is, if you don’t mind looking at it.
Of course not! Any time. I’m honored you’d think of letting me give it a look in the first place.
Why wouldn’t I, your jesterness?
You have a slew of wonderful writers at your disposal… That you trust my opinion as well means a lot.
I suppose that’s true, but you also enjoy the genre I’m writing this story in, so you’re better suited to give an opinion on it. Plus, I value your opinion and you kick ass at writing.
OoO, color me intrigued. A genre I enjoy? Well, now I have to read it!!
What are we waiting for?!
Um, I thought you were going camping.
It’s an important distinction. 😛
Yeah, yeah, okay. It can wait until I get back. But, I want to read it now!
Go ahead and take a little bow. You played that very well again.
Well done! Thank you!
I was hoping they were cockroaches or something… this is a bit pessimistic, which is why I like it (given that I’m an optimist). Also, the banter with TD is quite amusing.
TD is good for banter. Cockroaches would have been pretty funny. Next time. 😉
Great ending, I wasn’t expecting that.
😀 Hooray for a good twist.
Hey, I’m all about not celebrating any holidays! Bah humbug to them all! Except for Squirrel Appreciation Day…. they better still hang squirrels from the lightpoles in the future!
I think that depends on how you want to define “hang…”
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