#writephoto: The world afterwards

For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt.

Screen Shot 2020-04-05 at 18.19.31

We have longed for this for so long. The weeks turned to months, and now that the restrictions are finally lifted and the army has left the streets in a cloud of dust, we pour out into the familiar silence, and we have forgotten how to show our emotion. No one sings or shouts, or embraces strangers with joy. Sparrows flutter and garden songbirds flash with coloured wings. Grass has begun to grow between the paving stones; the river laps and washes banks lush with marsh flowers.

It hasn’t taken long to discover there is nothing left in the food shops, no petrol in the pumps. The shops that were forced to close are empty, no stock, no staff, no orders. I walk, like many people, following the river to the ocean. It isn’t far, though for months it might as well have been in another galaxy. Soon the rioting will begin, the destruction, because too many have no idea of how to build, but for the moment, in this brief interlude of adjustment to the world of afterwards, there is quiet.

I walk to the beach, the long straight beach that stretches parallel with the waves and the ranks of clouds that layer the sky with hues of red. The waves roll with a sigh and a hiss, licking away at the land, sucking it back into the cradle of the ocean. I wonder if the water will eventually reclaim all the land.

Dolphins and seals, porpoises break and dive. Birds call. We watch the sunset because there seems nothing else or better to do. Tomorrow it will start, the end, and the dolphins will laugh. The birds won’t care either. They will sing as they have always done whether we listen or not.

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.

42 thoughts on “#writephoto: The world afterwards”

      1. I think this will hit everyone, in one way or another, but the poor will find it hardest…and there will be more then than there are now who fall into that category.

  1. Great last line!
    The beginning reminds me of a novel I read years ago: a Black Death survivor was walking outside – the description of land minus human intrusion/intervention was rather haunting – as is yours.
    Astute observations well written
    Although I will be a total fail at not running around shouting.

    1. Thank you!
      I love novels about ‘afterwards’ where nature creeps back. Hate the ones with loads of guns, a great leader, bunkers and ‘livin’ off the land’.
      You’d look a bit silly when you realised nobody else was doing it 🙂

  2. And as sure as
    The sun will rise
    So will we
    Enjoy the pristine
    When you can
    Oh ye of short memories
    We are born
    To destroy
    Everything that is
    Pure and free

    1. I try not to dwell on it. I’ve seen enough coming out of Italy, the south where people are so poor the lockdown is starving them, the mafia moving in, providing the only form of income. Scares me.

  3. I part a really horrible prediction. Lets hope, this will be far away from the most of us. But i agree, this is more possible in the rural landscapes. A good reminder for what we really have to care, before the lockdowon left. Michael

      1. I was going to say we don’t have much choice, but we do. It’s up to all of us to use this hiatus to change our habits for the good of everyone when things get back to ‘normal’.

      2. Do you really think this will happen? Here the are officially saying “its only a hiatus, we solvend the problems by ourselves”, in the meaning of “we never have been in need of others”. They all will celebrate nationalism, we never have seen before. ;-(

      3. Some people will. Yes, you’re right, the nationalists will start bawling about sovereignty as usual without making any mention at all that we have all lost our sovereignty to China and the US.

      4. These are the real nationalists. They are only concerned with money, and themselves. They will leave the faith to us. As Napoleon praised the art of the Church, this has proved its worth.

      5. With us, a cabaret artist once said, in reference to Napoleon’s deeds, that he only wanted to adapt the nobles to the ordinary people in terms of size. He even used a doctor to do so. But unfortunately, the “one head shorter” could no longer live.;-)

      6. Except that Napoleon wasn’t in the business of lopping off heads. He was all in favour of the nobility. Crowned himself emperor after all and made the members of his clan kings and queens.

  4. When we have nothing and there’s nothing civilized to look forward to, I hope there is an ocean (or some water) and a sunset to walk toward.

    And let nature have the world back.

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