I sit on a ledge
On the edge of a slope
And stare at the land
Which falls away from me.

Trees, brush and grasses
Disappear beneath
The mist that rises
From the river below.

I cannot see the trailers
Vans, SUVs and motor homes
Which house the
Construction gypsies who
Daily violate the land and
Enlarge the scar that runs
Next to the river
Across the valley
And over the far rise.

The mist will dissipate
The caravan will move on
Vegetation will grow
And the pipeline will remain.

(Inspired by Maggie Duncan’s “Misty“, madison-woods.com, Friday Fictioneers, August 23, 2012.)

This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to “Progress”

  1. A fine take on the prompt. The violation of the land was chillingly told. Nice work. Mine is here and linked as well:

  2. I almost went in a similar direction, starting with beauty and going towards the not-so-beautiful, but my story didn’t ultimately take me that way. You did an excellent job of it. Although at first your story conveys a negative, I’m heartened by the ability of the land to recover and hopefully minimize the pipeline (which might be useful to many) once all the people are gone. So I ended up torn, seeing a bit of both sides.

    • vbholmes says:

      You’re right about there being two sides to progress: here, the construction phase is an unpleasant interruption but will end, and amazingly, nature will recover. (I have to admit that this post aims a small shot at the permanence of man’s “improvements”.) Enjoyed your “Grande Dame”, well said.

      • Vb, I did get your shot, just looked at another side as well! There are good things and bad about almost everything. Even the Indians weren’t the good stewards of the land we often hear about. Basically they trashed an area and then moved on and because there weren’t that many of them, the land eventually recovered.

        Glad you enjoyed “Grande Dame” and thanks for coming by, reading and commenting.

      • vbholmes says:

        Looking at “Curiosity” and the Mars photos and wondering how we (and the red planet) will adapt when we move on….

  3. Jan Brown says:

    I really liked your cautionary tale. I hope that, in real life, the vegetation will indeed grow back.

    • vbholmes says:

      Thanks, Jan. So far, it looks like some of the companies are trying very hard to disguise the damage: they’re leveling the earth, planting grasses, wildflowers, etc. We’ll see if this ecological responsibility continues once the public gets used to their activities.

  4. “Construction gypsies” nice twist of words. Is it progress or digress?

    • vbholmes says:

      Thanks for the compliment. Tough question: progress or digress? I guess it depends on whether the digression applies to the point of my post or to the ecological price paid for fracking and the production of our own fuel and whether the latter is a positive or a negative. Time will tell….Enjoyed reading the excerpt from your novel–look forward to more.

      • vbholmes says:

        Thanks also for following me–I’m following you as well, but I didn’t see a widget for email alerts, just the one for messages in your Reader. Will upgrade when you add (or I find) the email widget.

  5. unspywriter says:

    Very nice. I’m loving all the different things my picture evoked.

    Here’s mine: http://unexpectedpaths.com/friday-fictioneers/pillar-of-salt/

  6. Sandra says:

    I particularly liked ‘construction gypsies’. Nicely done.

    • vbholmes says:

      Thanks so much. I liked both of your posts but have a question about “their protective clothing”. Are they just old and on oxygen or is this an after-the-disaster type story?

  7. “Daily violate the land” here in Miami too as encroachment continues west into Everglades sponsored by construction industry and paid office holders. It is not merely invasion of habitat as the Everglades act as the filter system for water from the north for 7 million people southern tip of state.

  8. Russell says:

    You hit the nail on the head–it’s all about money. They package it to sell with different covers, must have water, must have oil, for the public good, etc. I’m always amazed at how the resiliant earth bounces back. Did you see that show, 100 years after man?

    • vbholmes says:

      I missed that show–I did find a History Channel miniseries entitled “Life After People” which sounds like it might be the same or similar and is available for viewing on the internet. Definitely will watch it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  9. billgncs says:

    everything has a cost, we give up so little for the land….

  10. elmowrites says:

    Fascinating how you could take such a pastoral picture and turn it into progress. I like how your description gives us a view of what is happening even without the picture to back it up.
    I’m over here; http://elmowrites.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/friday-fictioneers-far-afield/

  11. susielindau says:

    I love this and the progression of time that ultimately leaves a scar…
    Here is mine! You can leave your link on mine too.

  12. We’ve certainly moved a lot further than shifting cultivation and unnaturally cover up the destruction of nature required for ‘progress’. I like to think that the planet will sort itself out, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.

    I really enjoyed your poem!


  13. vbholmes says:

    I’m hopeful the planet will survive progress, but worry as much about rogue WMDs as environmental irresponsibility. Enjoyed your post and am looking forward to seeing “Play Misty for Me”.

  14. pd1248 says:

    Thank you for reading and commenting on my Friday Fictioneers story “Thus To Tyrants”. I am in the midst of converting from Blogger to WordPress but was #60 on the list of submissions. I thought you were going in the same direction as I did when I first started reading your post. But it couldn’t be more different (well, I guess it could be but, hopefully, you know what I mean). I love your take. You’re going to be the first WordPress blog I follow. Love your writing!

  15. vbholmes says:

    Many thanks for the honor of being the first WP blog you’re following! Will my follow of your blogspot convert to wordpress or must I sign up anew?

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