Yesterday I went back in time.  I closed my eyes.  The sound of the train was loud, the pitch high.  It is not hard.  It is easy to understand how it can be.  You wish for something.  You plan for it.  You take your scheduled train to the place where it is to happen.  You are the master.  This is your world.  It can be done. 

What I have discovered is that it is a dangerous thing.  You risk losing what you have.  Time travel doesn't really work the way you think.  You think all you have to do is want something.   You are certain that that something is good.  It is all very innocent.  You are young (young enough to still learn something).  You do your best.  It is intended to benefit somebody else.  You think, "I did this, I ran those races, we can do it too, here and now; let me see . . . . what is scheduled . . . . let's look for opportunities . . . . I can show you how it is done . . . ."  But when you sleep, you cast away your power.  And you wake up in another land.  You know that space.  But it is not what you planned.  It is hot.  It's not the right place.  How did this happen.  I simply fell asleep and I missed it.  I tried so hard.  I just wanted to share what I used to do when I was young, with this very important person.  I did all the planning.  I knew it could be done.  I knew how.

It is much later now.  There is only a slim chance of making it on time.  There was only ever a narrow window for entering, the two of us.  My young friend says it is alright.  I am furious.  We lost our chance.  My friend says the window was bigger than that.  We get back on board.  We don't fall asleep again.  We keep our eyes open.  Eventually we get there.  We rub the head of the guardian lion as we enter the gates to Chinatown.  The broad sparkly banner stretched across Grant Street reads (something like) "Remembering the 49th Anniversary of the People's Republic of China."  I nod.  I say to myself, 1949.  And I say, what are we doing here.
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I have had all the chance I need.  I have made something of it.  I have the best of the best, but I don't think you'll understand what I mean.  And I won't say it.  I'll just know it for myself.  How wonderful to have done (the running) at one time.  How wonderful.  The time is gone.  It lasted for only a second, for a few years . . . . 19, 20, 21 . . . . and then, a little more . . . and it was gone.  It was only that I thought I could pick it up at any time I wished it.  Sure you can.  If it's right, you'll find it.  But the point is, you've been on this train, you've taken it, you've come along, you did those things those good things (if you're lucky), and they left and now they're gone.  It happens like that.  That is the way it is.  The screaming train leaves you.  You're lucky to get on at all.  You did some things which made you feel like it was slowing down, like it was lasting.  As if there were a whole stream of consequences that would come, good things, that would just come up to you and take their time and move on when you decided.  But the train, that screams on.  You close your eyes and you see that you can't get back there again.  And you remember almost with fear that it could have been that you had nothing in the fast movement.  The past is really that.  It is that it won't come again.  It is, mostly, that you had it.  That you had control of life for awhile.  That you really did do some things.  And that it's gone.  And every day I think, it's still that train.  It can't help but move on, again.  It does so every day.   And you're there, you've got some memories to take account of, some people.  Everything. ( G. Claire. )   ><

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    G. Claire is a descendant of Welsh Immigrants who came to California during the time of "the Great Excitement," also known as the Gold Rush.  She is, in addition, a descendant of young Mayflower passenger Mary Allerton and of Thomas Cushman, an Elder of the Plymouth Church.  The author is proud to be descended from Silvanus Brown, a member of that most notorious group of Vermont mobsters known as The Green Mountain boys.


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