when i was a boy, before the world became small and complicated in its intricate details, there was a field we would travel to regularly, my cousin and i, that would transport us back in time. it really was a remarkable discovery, one day, as we traipsed through the woods behind his house, looking for our next grand adventure.
a color like gold shimmered through the crooked branches, immediately catching our eyes, reeling us in like fish on a hook. as the leaves crunched beneath our feet, we dashed the last hundred yards, slip sliding along the ridge, drawing up short to stand in awe.
the air felt different, a low level buzz hanging there, leaving you feeling like you were holding in live wire between your teeth. some would say it was cicadas singing, but it could only be the mass converters hidden from our sight. they had even erected a rusty barbed wire fence around the field, which meant it must be something worth discovering, not just sunlight capturing the golden grains at just the right angle to produce such a twinkle.
no, climbing through that fence we became magellan, lewis & clark, or the crew of the enterprise on some distant planet. we made sure not to wear red, as the guy that wore red invariably got dissolved by the gelatinous monster or was disintegrated in an errant laser beam.
we were careful in our discovery not wanted to accidentally erase a long distant relative and thus find ourselves trapped in the paradox of time never to return home for supper, especially if it was an afternoon my aunt was fixing fried chicken. you would not want to miss that. time travel is messy like that, you can have the best intentions in changing the circumstances, but then life just would not be the same when you got around to returning to the present.
we spent many afternoons there, mapping the perimeter of the past. An old abandoned shack, half falling apart, grey boards hanging loose on their aged orange nails, became our base of operations, though we never left anything there as someone might discover our intrusion and follow us back to peep in our windows at night.
its been many years since i returned that way to the past. these days i run my finger over the steaming locomotive, etched in the back of my grandfathers pocket watch, that sits in the bowl by my bed. it doesn't tell time anymore, springs having sprung, but in each caress it tells time alright for me.
i still don't wear red when i travel through time, and i avoid making waves, so i don't errantly muck with the present or accidentally get stuck there. i would not change a thing, but sometimes it's fun just to visit.
This is a Magpie Tale.