The Real Time Machine

“Everyman’s life lies within the present, for the past is spent and done with, and the future is uncertain”

-Marcus Aurelius

The boy followed the man’s foot steps up a little known path in the mountains.  The trail started out steep and rocky but eventually leveled out into a narrow green valley.  The walking was easier now. They had made it through the most difficult terrain and were now enjoying the day at a more leisurely pace.  The boy now had time to look away from his fathers footsteps and study the ground.  The ants were always close.  He was fascinated by the many different types he saw.  Some were red, some were black, many were shades in between the two extremes. Some ants carried things that were even bigger then their bodies.  The ants were always moving, always working.  There must be lots of work to be done for the ant. The wind blew. It was late summer and the tinge of the biting cold that was to come could be felt. The boy knew from experience that winter was coming. The boy shielded his eyes from the sun and studied the man ahead of him.  He back was thick as was his legs.  He watched the man move easily over rocks and around trees.  He moved well except for a slight limp.  The boy remembered hearing his father talk about an injury when he was young.  The boy felt good to be in the mountains.  He felt strong and his wiry frame made moving easy. The boy was 5 years old but he told people he was 5 and a half.

At a natural clearing they stopped.  The man covered a small area on the ground with a blanket from his backpack.  The boy looked at the strange designs on the blanket and knew that his father had bought it in some far away land. It was colourful, almost as colourful as the plethora of fruits and vegetables that his father carefully placed on top.  They sat facing each other cross legged and proceeded to eat food when it tasted its absolute best, when one is hungry.  

The boy studied his father.  He was of medium height with a muscular build.  Small grey hairs had begun to proliferate along the sides of his head.  His forearms bulged under the rolled up sleeves.  Fine laugh lines had formed near the eyes.  He was tanned from spending time under the sun being active. The boy thought of the many outdoor games they had played together that summer.  A puzzling thought suddenly entered the boys mind, and having not yet learned barriers to speaking his mind the boy asked his father,

“Dad, Aren’t you supposed to be at work?”

Spontaneous laughter erupted from the man. It WAS funny.  Seeing the pure joy on his fathers face the boy joined in on the laughter.  There in a small valley in a quiet part of the mountains on a trail that neither knew the name, both enjoyed laughing together without a care in the world.

Not having actually answered the boys question the man pulled out a small folded sheet of paper from his wallet. It was a simple 1/2 piece of lined paper that had been yellowed and browned with age and dirt.  Along the fold lines certain parts of letters had been grinded out of existence. He unfolded it.  It was still easy to read but it didn’t matter as he had memorized the lines many years ago.  The boy asked what is was and the man simple read it.


The Value of Time

To realize the value of one year:
Ask a student who has failed a final exam.

To realize the value of one month:
Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of one week:
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize the value of one hour:
Ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.

To realize the value of one minute:
Ask the person who has missed the train, bus or plane.

To realize the value of one-second:
Ask a person who has survived an accident.

To realize the value of one millisecond:
Ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.



The boy was slightly puzzled.  “Yes but what does it mean?  ARE YOU supposed to be at work?”

The man finished and refolded his paper.  He gave the boy the job of chasing a butterfly while he cleaned up .  The boy followed the movement of the butterfly and soon forgot his question.  They resumed the hike and after studying a new ant colony near a hill, chasing another butterfly, crossing a small river on rocks, having a wrestling match, and laying on their backs commenting on cloud formations the man finally whispered “yes”.

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