Faraway #writephoto

Faraway

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Low tide: it is as if the world, the ocean, had wanted to withdraw, to retire, at the other end, on the other side, perhaps to another galaxy.

The written words cannot be erased, nor the broken promises forgotten.

The heroes have gone, their shadows melted…

faraway, in an unknown land,

only remains the sound of small waves, lashing the rocks.

Late hunting #fivewords

Weekly Writing Challenge #149

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It started with a gentle rain, as above the valley dark clouds shrouded the high mountain peak. Soon, there would be a downpour, when the narrow path would yield to the torrent of scree and icy water from the cliff.

Then, he might have a last chance to shoot, before nightfall, before this small world sunk into darkness. That was if he could find his prey.

Photo: Dolomiten, ©2013 Honoré Dupuis

 

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Blue #writephoto

Blue

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So far away… Yet this is now home, the shelter where we can repair, rebuild our strength. 

Here they won’t find us, such a small planet, and a pale star, insignificant: on the edge of the known world, and the sea…

The blue ocean will hide us, we will build a village on these shores, our children will learn here, they will learn about Earth, and the Republic.

Then, one day, perhaps in generations, they will take again to the stars, and leave this world.

But, for now, the blue planet is our home.

 

Inspired by Sue Vincent’s last photo prompt of 2017, and a viewing of The Last Jedi.

Thaw #writephoto

Thaw

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He remembered: in his youth, this landscape would have been covered with snow, frozen, for several weeks, even, on a colder year, for months. Now, the thaw had come before Christmas. They’d had two snow storms, and, perhaps, it would be all for the winter…

But he knew. Despite all the speeches, the pledges, the politicians’ grand gestures, nothing really had changed. Nature, the Earth, would wait. It had happened before, long ago, before the great flood. It would happen again.

The old man resumed his walk. The late December sun rays were warm on his skin.

Portal #writephoto

Portal

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It was so easy: he just had to follow the narrow corridor, and, as the dwarf had said, it was there, the portal of ancient stones, and beyond, the warm glow of the vast chimney.

He stopped and looked down at the medieval floor, polished over millennia by the feet of so many pilgrims. Behind him he would be leaving his own time, the overflowing world, the menacing floods. In front of him, he knew was the vast kitchen, the monks in black robes, the penitents. He too would be on his way to the holy city, and they would recognise him for who he was, another brave and tired worshipper from the west, from the cold.

He would sit in front of the burning fire. He would pray. He would have their blessing. He would be invited at the big table, and, after grace, would enjoy the communal hot soup. He would later fall asleep, under a warm blanket, and before dawn, after mass in the small chapel, bare feet, would resume his journey, with thousands of others.

Simmer #thedailypost #100words

Simmer

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Below the surface of calm water the next storm is brewing. What it will be, how violent and destructive, no-one knows, nor how far it will reach, nor when it will be unleashed. So we, mere mortals, the next victims, continue to tread, blind and deaf, accepting our fate, carrying our sins, pretending all is well. Has it ever been different, have our ancestors, once, had the knowledge of the future, of what simmers under their lives, hidden from view? Was Nature, once, kinder to us? Did our Creator, once, attempt to warn us? Have we forgotten everything?

Image: Gaia, the Big Mother

 

 

An Alert, but no Tragedy #fivewords

Inspired by the Secret Keeper’s writing prompt #110

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Storms upset us, though we know that “Xavier” did not compare with the hurricanes that wreck the Caribbean’s, and the East Coast of America. Why should we be so sensitive? Of course because of the casualties, the destruction, and the trees. The city was not devastated, but it was a genuine alert. On Sunday, driving to the delightful town of Bernau, we saw the branches and uprooted trees everywhere. But the world had gone back to normal, perhaps waiting for the next tragedy. We can do no more about the Earth’s anger than we can about our rent… Such is life.

Photo: near the Rathaus, Bernau bei Berlin. ©2017 Honoré Dupuis

A reading of Seveneves

Seveneves, a novel by Neal Stephenson

 

From times immemorial, we have dreamed about it, painted it on caves walls, written fiction and speculations, prayed for it not to happen: it is mankind’s common nightmare, Armageddon, the end of our world, the end of our species. Will it be caused by our own misbehaviour, a punishment from our creator, our poisoning of the Earth, our Mother, or a nuclear holocaust? Neal Stephenson’s novel tells the story, of Armageddon from Space, from an unknown source, by an unknown “Agent”. This book, perhaps his best work to-date, is an uncompromising account of our destruction, down to, literally, a dwindling group of survivors, pitiful remnants of a once arrogant civilisation, ours, now hiding in tin cans orbiting the once beautiful planet. The story is, also, of a possible rebirth, couched in such a way as making the reader wonder: has this happened before? For, in some ways, haven’t we been there: the fire from the sky, the flight, the long terror, the survival of the few?

The description of the destruction of the old Earth by the “Hard Rain”, and of the hopeless, harrowing, and ultimately pathetic struggle of those, chosen to escape to Space, occupies the first and larger part of the novel. We learn of the heroic sacrifices of a few, of human nature, once again, leading to disaster after disaster. The males of the species are wiped out, leaving to the seven Eves the final decisions as to the future of humanity. This prepares the reader for the rebirth, the renewal of mankind from the shelter of the asteroid where the Eves have found refuge.

The second part of the book has a distinctly Arthur C-Clarkian flavour to it, as we sweep through five thousand years of post Zero history: mankind lives mostly on a ring of spatial habitats orbiting the Earth; the “New-Earth” is being seeded with recreated creatures and plants; the descendants of the seven Eves, from whose genes the two billions of “Spacers” derive from, have developed separate cultures, in each of the seven genomes legated by the Eves. This is a world of partial segregation between “races”, where orbital mechanics, robotics and genetics dominate science. The description of the “Cradle” reminded me of the “Fountains of Paradise“, but this legacy is not acknowledged in Stephenson’s notes, so it must be an association of ideas. This world is evidently very different (but very classical in terms of the science fiction literature) from ours, and yet the same old rivalries have reappeared (Blue versus Red).

The reader, after a long journey, is left with many unanswered questions. Stephenson, like Clarke before him, holds the human female as more adapted to the conditions of Space: better able to cope with cramped living conditions, isolation and solitude, biologically superior. The novel shows that the decisions made at the Council of the Seven Eves, to fundamentally conduct a differentiated genetics-enabled rebirth of mankind, initially through parthenogenesis, endure after five millennia. As the Spacers come to meet some of the “rootstock” survivors on the surface of New Earth, will they be considered as alien mutants, cowards who abandoned ship,  and unwelcome intruders, or a curiosity from Space? As we remain baffled by the “Purpose”, the nature of the Agent likewise remains veiled in mystery: judgement of God, random micro blackhole, or, simply, destiny?

Seveneves is a fantastic read, from end to finish. The world Stephenson created, its appeal and at the same time repulsive logic, will stay with us forever. So will the Seven.