I was talking with Goldy (https://fishofgold.net/) the other day and we came up with the idea of trying to do a photo prompt to get ourselves back into writing a bit more and to try and engage with others in the blogosphere a bit more too. So, here we are. A photo. And the prompt? Write whatever you want, whatever the photo inspires. I’ll try to do something like this on a regular basis.
Play along if you want and tag your post into the comments so I can read your words as well.
My own response is below.
I was hopeful that the change was made before the wooden stairs fell apart. Can you imagine?
Step, step, step, nothing.
You can’t see the mismatch from the top where we started. And there’s no warning (Watch your step. Proceed with caution. That last step is a doozy…) just the sudden jarring change from old to new.
Not that the newer one, the metal one, felt much safer. The cliffs were crumbling before our eyes and the roar of the breakers, constantly churning the beach, filled our ears.
In time, more of the stairs will fall. It is inevitable. I hope nobody is on them when they do. Can you imagine?
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.
A golden day, full of the hopes and dreams of lives yet to be lived, stretched out before me. Surveying the beautiful and vibrant hues, edging on brilliance, I knew with a unquestionable certainty that anything was possible. It wasn’t the first time I’d felt that way, but with each passing year, weighed down by the responsibilities of living, the moments grew further and further apart.
I ran my hands through the outstretched offshoots of the tall grasses and felt the pull of the stems against my legs, holding me there, urging me to slow down, enjoy, just be: calm, quiet, present, aware. I watched the ripples tremble away from my passing. I watched the golds pulse in the valley below, responding to the gentle changes of light as time marched forward on the steady beat of my relaxed heart. My eyes cast ahead to a stain of blue in the distance, a smudge on the pristine visage and a respite from the intensity of the color onslaught.
I was under attack. The beauty of the moment was fighting to win my heart, conquer my mind, devour my soul. Should I have resisted? How could I if I had even wanted to? Who has the power to withstand the world’s magnificence when it chooses to unleash its chaos?
I sighed. I surrendered to the scenery. I gave myself to the moment and let go of all that had laid claim to me before. I became one with the golden day.
The world sighed too and happily took me into its victorious embrace.
What do you see when you look at the picture? What do you feel? Write it up, and link it to this week’s Once More With Feeling prompt.
The afternoons spent lounging in the warm glow of the sun, idle hours of pleasure, were distant memories. The newest generations had never known them and the eldest were no longer certain they had ever existed.
Those who did remember tried not to. There was no room for soft nostalgia in the cold hard truths of the new world.
First the mist had come and stayed. The dew used to herald the arrival of the sun, but then the sun had crept lower and lower until it merely brushed the horizon, never warming the soil enough to burn away the watery surface layer. Then the heat of the ground had dissipated and the mist turned to ice. The glow in the heavens grew weaker and lasted minutes less each new day.
Soon there would only be night.
Those few survivors who had lasted to see the final days were a tough breed that proved if there was potential for life humans would find a way. But, when the world went dark and the plants began to die off completely, it was only a matter of time before the freeze would strangle all.
Young and old would fight until the ice shards crystallized in their lungs, until the frostbite claimed their extremities, until their bodies forced their minds to sleep. Their efforts would be valiant and worthy of remembrance. Their struggles would be lost, though, as the Earth spun further off its axis and erased the magic of life forever.
He saw it all: the buses, taxis and other traffic roaming far and wide across the bridge, the young couple seeking shelter and a quick embrace below their umbrella, the family out for evening stroll despite the downpour. He watched and witnessed and let it go. Life went on as always. Time never stopped.
There had been times, sure, when it seemed like time must stop. With the world in turmoil, sirens blaring and the streets deserted as people sought shelter wherever they could, he had thought on more than one occasion that the planes would come and time would stop. The death they brought with them almost certainly would carry over to time. It seemed inevitable, and, yet, it never had.
The seconds had continued to roll to minutes, and the minutes to hours, and then the hands would swing around to herald a new days, as they always had since he had first been given life.
Yes, Big Ben, saw everything go on around him. He watched seasons turn. He watched the world war and love. And through it all he tracked the passing of time.
Perhaps that was the only true inevitability of the universe – another second will follow.
He was honored to be one of the prestigious markers of that universal truth.