Microfiction #writephoto: Last colours

For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto writing challenge. Here’s the pic, that I find very sad.


When the last polar bear was shot in the suburbs of Edinburgh, when sand dunes swallowed Dakar and Cairo, and Lake Baikal was no more than a muddy puddle, the Earth began to shut down. There was no more wilderness to regenerate, wild animals were born sexless and dwindled. Disease and drought shrivelled roots and curled leaves. Doves and swans entwined in the wings of their mates slept and never woke again. When the last blackbird had finished his song, when he cocked his head and silence greeted the dying notes, he too put his head beneath his wing and slept a final sleep.

When the world and all that had made it beautiful was empty, Earth gave a last sigh, and winds stripped the last leaves, moved the last rolling dunes, and whipped the waves into walls of sterile water. Then she in haled, all the gases and fumes, the artificial perfumes, heated air and cooled. One last reminder of what had been lingered, charging the drops of moisture in the dull air with the colours of lost beauty. The Earth drew one last, deep breath and the rainbow sunk, a river of brilliants, into the bare ribs of rock, and darkness fell.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

82 thoughts on “Microfiction #writephoto: Last colours”

      1. Maybe if we didn’t pay them, we’d get people whoo actually care. Though we are more likely to end up with those who care too much about their own agenda.

      2. Hard one to crack that. If we paid them a minimum wage and limited it to that rather than paying them handsomely and letting them accumulate the other side lines and perks, maybe we’d get people who really were dedicated to doing something. Then we’d be crossing fingers we don’t get the nutters who are dedicated to waging war on China, or starting a new arms race etc etc

      1. Trouble seems to be that the people who don’t want to see us destroy everything are not the ones with the power. They, unfortunately, don’t seem to care.

      2. I totally agree. This feels really good to find somebody who thinks same as you. Glad to connect to you Jane ๐Ÿ™‚
        Stay blessed ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Before you convict mankind with a swish of editorial glee, I would look at the Paris Accords as the step of a toddler under the urging of a parent. We’re going to get knocked about, fall down, skin our knees, and like my younger brother, cut the tip of our fingers off in the push lawn mower. But like my mother, we’ll get back up, sew the finger tip back on, and make new rules to protect ourselves. I don’t look to our generation to fix things anymore. I look to the young, for there the intent is to see with eyes of wonder.

    Parents, seeing through the eyes of children, move to act in ways that will surprise us, for they act as their children see them. Indeed, growing up is something parents and children do together. Grandparents look at their children finally understanding something that they learned from their parents. As a society, we’ll be okay. We just can’t still and expect things to get better.

    1. Problem is that the amounts agreed upon at the Paris Agreement are already too low. We have to step p the rate of the reduction otherwise we’re buggered. You may be right about the young being our white hope, but t’s the oldies who hold the power and some of them intend to hold onto power for ever. If we have to wait until they die off, the world will be in serious, possibly irreversible difficulty before the young even get a chance to do something about it.

  2. Beautifully written and very sad but it won’t happen. Our neglect will fragment our present global society and we will return to the middle-aged culture in surviving isolated pockets. Waiting in the wings are some born survivors the rat being one of the smartest. We survived the Black Death without medicine at a great cost and bacteria will have a field day when modern civilisation collapses. The natural world was created by and for survival , at the moment we ride the crest of the wave but our complex civilisation is fragile and precarious.

    1. Oh, I think we will survive, all right. As far as survivors go, we are the greatest. We’ll probably take the rat and the bluebottle with us into the dark. The darkness that falls will be the last of beauty.

      1. You are influenced by the old religious view of goodness and light and beauty ,darkness evil and sin. We are descended from the rat nature knows no good or evil she is not moral , she knows no truth or beauty. Richard Dawkins points this out in his Blind Watchmaker he curiously then denies it telling us how beautiful creation is after all. It is difficult to shake off our moral nature and view the world as it really is but we need to be realistic.

      2. I think you already know the answer to that but here it is rephrased . We are , as far as we know, unique in creation for we see with moral eyes and not the red in tooth and claw of the rest of the living world. Because of our moral side we look for purpose in a purposeless world and as a result we tarnish the whole of creation with art , and religion. We are at war with ourselves as Freud beautifully illustrated , due to our selfish ambition in conflict with our moral side. We cannot shake loose from the animal ambition side of our natures because we carry a huge evolutionary baggage. This was pointed out by Steven Pinker in his book ‘ The Clean Slate’. You must go on creating beautiful art and polish your gift.

      3. Where I take issue with that is 1) morality is not a cut and dried issue. Each culture has its own ideas about what is ‘moral’ and ‘immoral’, and even within a given culture ideas change over time. 2) What we consider ‘good’ behaviour applies in the animal world too. Any animal mother will die to defend her babies, herd animals will group around the weakest, animals mourn their dead, share with the rest of the pack, divide up tasks according to the abilities of the group members. 3) I’m very wary of attributing the answer to any one individual. Freud was right about some things, wrong about others. No doubt Steven Pinker is the same. What I would say is that we are complex animals, more complex than any other species as far as we know. We create for beauties sake, but also for ego’s sake, and we destroy for the same reasons. We are intelligent, but the emotions are not restricted to humanity and as we learn more and more about the rest of life on this planet, our own superiority and uniqueness becomes less of a given. I don’t know where we fit in, and I wouldn’t trust any single man if he purported to know the answer. We are creative, that I agree with. Moral? Depends who you’re talking to or about.

      4. Nicely put and food for thought. I agree we must listen to more than one expert and try to form a view from some sort of consensus.
        I try to do this since I lack any higher education and have not the mathematical ability to probe quantum mechanics. I think our superiority is obvious due to language but we sadly underestimate the value of other creatures.
        Robert Hare who spent years dealing with criminals believes 1% of the American population are psychopaths with out conscience.
        Neuroscientists have shown that psychopaths have a different brain scan. You are right our egos are far to big.

      5. There has been so much research done lately about the emotional sensitivity of animals that makes our treatment of them seem shameful. We tend to change our conception of good and evil depending on arbitrary factors like religion, social pressure, hierarchical pressures etc. So in some cultures we find something as horrific as female circumcision/genital mutilation accepted not only as morally good, but necessary. I don’t understand science at all either. But I tend to think that if a concept is so hard to grasp and you need an honours degree to be able to understand it at all, it can’t be essential to our nature. I know what I see, and that is love and affection being shown among animals, among the poor and oppressed, among people we consider primitive, and I’m happy to accept that we all fit into the same pattern. Those (human beings) who are brutal, cruel, violent, greedy, ignorant and uncaring just don’t fit into the natural scheme of things. How you get them to change, I don’t know. Maybe that’s the fatal flaw in humanity.

      6. Your list speaks of your moral standpoint and mine is very similar, but we must not close our eyes to scientific discoveries after all they make our modern world possible and have great potential to benefit all creatures on earth. Science needs redirection we must stop gazing into space and deal with down to earth problems. We have an antibiotic apocalypse on our hands now so we must divert money and time to finding replacements. We have a climate crisis so we must take note of the Club of Rome and place limits on growth ,also diverting funds to limit devastating floods. At the moment about 50 million Indians defecate outside we must supply them with toilets.

      7. I agree completely. And the one ray of hope is that stopping the slide into catastrophe is in all our interests, so perhaps our leaders will see that they will benefit too. The health and well-being of even the most insignificant people have a knock on effect for the rest of the planet. Even the most selfish, self-serving leaders must see that eventually.

    1. We, or the rich nations among us will no doubt invent some fall back plan, but the essence of what makes this Earth special, unique and beautiful will be lost. We’ve lost so much already, 40% of living creatures since a tally was started in the 1970s. And the massacre is accelerating. Hard to see what will be left in 50 years.

  3. Great Jane! I especially like the rainbow sunk into a river of brilliants. My thoughts are simple, yet, life isn’t. I’d like to think women would be less inclined for wars and devastation, cruelty, etc. However, seems women get to the top and are heralded by fortunes too. I don’t understand why we haven’t taught different subjects (arts, exercise, music, friendship) in schools and also, like you hold your opinion and I’ll hold mine, but together we can exist for the basics of life. We have so many rules and regulations now that we can never know all of them. Getting too difficult to exist, maybe dystopian existence will hit us and it will be too late. Hope not.

    1. Life is getting too complicated for some, and for people who led very simple lives, macropolitics that they don’t even understand are turning their lives upside down. I don’t have much faith in our leaders to care much about posterity. They’ll all be dead in a couple of decades, so why sweat?

      1. I chose not to think about the future around 2006. I didn’t like what I saw, and it made me have panic attacks. So now, the future only exists when I write about it and then it’s fiction. I’m in denial. Hubby says I’m so negative about everything. He got angry election night when I said I knew from when he got picked to be the candidate, Trump would win. Enough stupid Americans would vote for him. Liberals already protesting in the city. Get ready for the next civil war — almost 160 years later. Keep hearing the old ’60s song, “Don’t you know, we’re on the eve of destruction”

      2. I heard a commentator on the radio begin the morning bulletin about the incredible election result with the phrase ‘With Trump as president elect begins the end of the American century.’ I suppose it was about time somebody else had a turn to mess everything up.

      3. All empires come to an end: Greek, Roman, Incan, Mayan, Egyptian, Ottoman, British, French, German, America is next. Something always seems to rise from the ashes. We had a media ban right now — maybe until 2020,lol.

      4. Who was ridiculed by almost everybody at the time as I remember. As if being a ‘peanut farmer’ was somehow more laughable that being a B movie actor or a reality show star.

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