#writephoto: Reunited

A not very hopeful story for Sue Vincent’s photo prompt. I could have written a bit of the WIP, the photo fits (as usual!) but don’t want to give the entire story away.

Screen Shot 2020-01-30 at 14.13.19

The land had been forested once long ago, too long ago for anyone to remember, too long ago for anyone to believe in it. Forest was a myth, fabulous, like the stories of the beasts that lived there. I can see a vestige of it from here, though the light is never bright any more. I can see two tufts facing one another across an arm of the ocean, tiny remnants of woodland, not even very old, orphaned children of the great forests.

The world is almost all ocean now and the land piled a million high with people in boxes, like bees in a hive, but their industry is driving them further and further from a thriving community and closer to the precipice. Even the sun can’t find the energy to light and warm. Without the warmth, without the song of the birds in their leaves, the last trees are dying. I see them shrink day by day, the water creeping closer and closer to their roots as it rises, and in the flabby breeze, I hear their voices, so I know what will happen.

I watch because someone has to record it, even though it will be the saddest sight of all. One morning or evening soon, beneath the dull red glare of the dying sun, the last memories of the forest separated by water will rush in a cascade of earth, roots and shed leaves, to join their sister and brother trees in the icy grave of the ocean.

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.

18 thoughts on “#writephoto: Reunited”

    1. That’s quite a compliment, thank you! I reread the Earthsea books not long ago and it struck me how little they correspond to what is considered suitable for children these days. Even many adults would find it hard going. She breaks all the givens in modern children’s writing, with her main characters almost all adults, preoccupied with adult problems, and very little magic wand stuff. What happened to our intellectual capacities?

      1. We don’t give children credit, do we, or stretch their intelligence? My nephew gave up on the HP books because he lost interest (and I think the growing body count put him off, though that might be only me talking). Go, Joseph. My niece, on the other hand, likes them still, well into adulthood. I like her fine. (Go, Anna.)

      2. Mine enjoyed HP when they were kids, but passed age 16/17 they wouldn’t read them again. I read the first one and didn’t like it so never read the others. So many adults really enjoy them, I wonder what I’m missing.

      3. There is a dumbing down. People are spoonfed and don’t need to think for themselves anymore. Take, for example, a packet of walnuts I saw not so long ago which carried the warning ‘Contains Nuts’. Huh?
        Is this deliberate? Is it just a response to out litigating culture that people think they need to spell everything out? Or is it our ‘all inclusive ‘ ideas that gives people jobs they aren’t suited for? Example–people in broadcasting who can’t speak the language using correct grammar. ( eg He has went). Or is it a deliberate attempt by the powerful folk, like politicians, to control the masses?
        And in the UK, in spite of what the politicians say, education is not of the same standard as it was when I took my ‘O’ levels. GCSE is a lower standard. (My credentials for saying this is that I am an ex-teacher.) I was covering for a colleague, a qualified English teacher, on day when I noticed she had corrected a correct spelling of ‘lose’ and put ‘loose’. When English teachers can’t spell, we’re lost.
        (I don’t remember myself, or any one else I know having all the trouble with spelling people have now. There, their and they’re? No problem. Apostrophes? No problem. Syntax? No problem.
        Then there are the politicians. They are the ones who can do something, but they suffer from short-termism. If it will impact the chances of re-election, them they don’t want to know. Forget future generations. ( I suspect this also applies to most people, too.)
        Anyway, a wonderful and thoughtful story.

      4. Thank you! I left England shortly after I finished at university and haven’t been back at all for twenty years. For a long period we lived in a region where we couldn’t get the BBC, but a couple of years ago we moved and can now get Radio 4. I must say it comes as a bit of a shock to hear the abuse of the language, the awful accents imitated from Australian or American soaps, misuse of common words (I heard one reporter referring to the man who was convicted of GBH against his partner as the woman’s ‘perpetrator’) from politicians, journalists, political commentators and people who ought to be able to string not only a correct but an interesting sentence together. I know the French are obsessed by their language, but here, even footballers are expected to be able to speak coherently and intelligently, and if they fall short, they are mocked.
        The older I get, the more cynical I get. It started with doctors and chemists who sell you rubbish or cures you don’t need, because they get a kick-back from the pharmaceutical companies. Politicians are concerned with getting enough votes to keep them in their relatively cushy jobs. To get votes, they promise to do what the majority in their area wants, and if it wants to string up immigrants on lamp posts, that is what they will be promised. They say we get the politicians we deserve. The awful thing is that so many people think they’re doing a wonderful job.

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