Mistaken for Miracles

icy tree

© Dale Rogerson

“I hate Christmas, Stefani. I’m not helping you put lights on this icy tree.”

“You’re such a Scrooge, Austin. Christmas lights bring miracles. Don’t you believe that?”

“I don’t believe anything. Let’s go inside, I’m cold.”

“Brendan will help me.” Flirting always worked with Austin.

“Oh, alright.” The two university students trudged back to the dorm.

“Lights again, Felman?” Arvid complained. “Don’t they know the more they change the world with technology, the greater the curse upon them?” She and her fellow elf were sitting invisibly on the tree’s branches.

“You know humans, Arvid,” rolling his eyes.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration to craft a small story no more than 100 words long. My word count is 97.

I actually re-wrote my story which originally was more along the lines of environmentalism and global warming, but everyone writes about that, so I was pretty disgusted with my lack of imagination. I changed it, but alas, the theme is largely the same. The more we humans try to “beautify” the world around us, the more we miss out on the natural beauty it already possesses. Forget the lights. Enjoy the ice.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

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54 thoughts on “Mistaken for Miracles

  1. I hope Felman and Arvid don’t object to tinsel though. We unofficially ‘adopted’ a tree in the New Forest, it gave comfort and peace when we wanted to escape the manic rush of humanity. Every Christmas we put a small wreath of coloured tinsel in the higher branches we could reach, and removed it after New Year. It was an old Elm, and we said that as long as it stayed standing we would be together.

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    • True enough, Susan. It’s not that tools (technology) is inherently bad, but when we choose to live out of harmony with our environment, we reap the consequences.

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  2. Ignorance is bliss to some, isn’t it? But it really is so pretty…. 🙂
    I have stopped decorating the outside of my house. Does that give me a few points?

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  3. You’ve contributed one of your very best stories today, James. I loved the manipulative Stefani, and the elves, and the strong and timely message. And it’s all so fluently written. Kudos!

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    • Thank you, Penny. To Stefani’s defense, many girls in their late teens learn they can get their way with guys by a bit of flirting. It’s how she gets things done, though she’s somewhat misguided.

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  4. Great story. For once, I have to say I’m looking forward to Christmas in a way that I haven’t in over twenty years (since married). I’m going home to spend the holiday with one of my foster families from years ago. It will be so great to be with ‘family’. 🙂

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  5. “Forget the lights, enjoy the ice.” You could try putting it on a billboard, but I somehow doubt your campaign’s going to get far. In a lot of placed they salt the roads pretty heavy, pollution or not, to avoid the accidents caused by ice.
    But for all that, I do like your story and you have a valid point. We want it all — and we usually want it made overseas so our own corner of the world doesn’t get polluted.

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    • I know, Christine. Lights are pretty. I don’t celebrate Christmas (my wife and kids are Jewish), so our house is the only one on our block that is dark at night, but I think it’s fine and dandy that others do. Besides where I said above, I find not having to run around and drive myself nuts at this time of year very liberating. No shopping, no extra cooking, and none of the other headaches so many others (religious or secular) take upon themselves in December.

      Yes, we do celebrate Channukah, but it’s a pretty low-key holiday compared to Christmas.

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      • I think everyone realizes “the festive season” has gone way overboard, but no one knows how to reverse gears. Though we exchange gifts and gather to feast, we (in our church circle) don’t put up lights or trees, either. In that sense we keep it as a “birth of Christ” celebration.
        Thinking of energy consumption, Christmas lights are a small part of our general extravagance, for all that. If you’ve ever seen a sports field at night under dozens of giant floodlights, you know there’s a lot of power being consumed on fun & games.

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