Mortality ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #100

Cairns, Athabasca Glacier, Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada


The smell of a campfire.

But the nearest fire set a hundred thousand trees alight, a hundred or more kilometers away. I wonder, was that one lightning? A cigarette? A carelessly managed fire?



Vacant greetings to hikers passing on the trail.

I walk the rubble the glacier left on its hasty retreat, beaten back by carbon and rising heat. In a sense, the debris of human debris.



Stone markers of meticulous or haphazard construction.

Many creatures mark their boundaries. Many mark their paths so others may follow. But these represent neither.

I was here.

This is my mark.

No other creature marks its own mortality.

Even so simply, so anonymously, as a pillar of stones. We know we live. We know we will die. So we leave something behind.



As a species, it seems, we are beginning to suspect our mortality.

We need leave no cairns for humanity. Our presence can be felt everywhere. In the air I breathe. In the stones I walk upon. And that presence may yet come to mean death of a species, if not, then at least the death of a dream.



These are my cairns.

I hope they will not pass into anonymity. No, wait. I do not hope that. You see, I have to say something, but it’s not about me. I just hope they do not pass into obscurity.



I hope they have meaning beyond the act of my expressing them.

Because the mortality of one little person doesn’t amount to a pillar of stones in this crazy world. Nonetheless, we each play our part. This is mine.

Athabasca Glacier Fore Field Trail
Icefields Parkway
Jasper National Park
Alberta, Canada

Taken during travels, yesterday, 2017

Last week we checked our Levels. This week?

This week is a bit of a milestone, the 100th iteration of Pic and a Word Challenges. Hmmmm. And this week, I went deep. So let’s explore Mortality … our own, our species, the final fate of life, the universe or anything. Or find something else to inspire your creativity in this photograph of cairns in the foreground of the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.

The Pic and a Word Challenge is a weekly creativity prompt offered Sundays.

Each week I provide a photograph of mine along with a single word. The challenge? Use the pic and/or word as points of inspiration to create something — a photograph, a painting, prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, longread or just a few words. You are welcome to use these two elements (photograph and word) literally, thematically or metaphorically. If you create both images and words, all the better.

To participate:

  • Use any title you like
  • Your response can be words and/or an image
  • You may use my image in your post, or any image you have created
  • Place the challenge’s Pic (if you use it for inspiration) and Word prominently in your post
  • Mention that you are responding to the Pic and a Word Challenge
  • Add a link to this post in your response

To help us find your response — whether on WordPress, Instagram, Flicker, Tumblr, etc. — you can also:

  • Add a comment on this post to announce your response
  • Apply the tag/hashtag “Pic and a Word Challenge” or “#picandawordchallenge” to your post

Each week, I’ll list the previous week’s responses at the end of the new challenge. I may also share some on my social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.

Last week’s challenge: Levels
Sunset II, Revelstoke Lake, Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada copy
Challenge #99 ~ Levels
The word for last week’s Pic and a Word Challenge #99 was Levels, along with this photograph of the smoke-enhanced twilight over Lake Revelstoke in Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada.

Six bloggers checked their Levels this week. Thanks everyone! =)

View all the Pic and a Word Challenges, including the current challenge, on the Pic and a Word Challenge tag page.