The Past


This past weekend I went for a hike. Nothing special just a random adventure through the woods, in search of a waterfall, or elves. As I was strolling next to the babbling brook, I came across something peculiar: a fence. I had not expected to find a fence in the middle of a forest, but here it was and curiosity got the better of me, so I had no choice but to cross it. Immediately there was another fence, and another, and another. It felt like someone was trying to keep me out of something, but I just couldn’t resist and kept trespassing over this myriad of fences. Eventually I fell down a flight of stairs.
I must have banged my head at some point because it felt like I was falling down these stairs for at least 15 minutes. I have read somewhere that Mt Everest is 8848 m tall and if I still remember 1st year physics and I were to start at rest at the top of Mt Everest it 42s to fall to the ground. I was definitely falling for more than 42s and I definitely was not in Nepal, so physics or math must of been wrong somewhere. I had no choice but to conclude that I had fallen into a magical land where the laws of things I learn in engineering school are no longer true. As if this wasn’t enough, I now found myself at the bottom of this staircase, with armoured smelly men pointing their swords at me! I must have fallen into The Past!
I explained to these men that I had fallen down this staircase and came in peace, in search of a waterfall. They were shocked “You came from the top of the staircase? We didn’t think the staircase has a top. We’ve lost many-a-warrior who tried to climb this staircase but never came back. Legend has it that the staircase has no top” Well fuck, I thought to myself, I guess there’s no climbing that staircase back to The Present. I decided to ask these men what life is like in The Past:
“In the past? Well how far in the past? I’ve only been around for twenty something years, so I couldn’t really tell you, but in my lifetime it hasn’t changed that much.”
“No, no, no” I said, realizing he didn’t understand my question. “In The Past. Right now, right here is The Past. I’m from The Present but I went for a walk and ended up here.”
“No this is the present,” he replied. “That’s just what the word ‘present’ means. I think you’re just a bit messed up from your fall down the Eternal Staircase”
“But this is so different from The Present. Nobody has swords anymore. It has to be The Past. Like there’s even a fucking grain mill over there!” I said pointing at a limestone building powered by a large waterwheel with a sign out front that said ‘Fresh Flour Sold Here’.
“That grain mill is the height of modern technology, especially with the water wheel! I no longer have to grind grain by hand. It even makes better flour and better bread! Here, try some,” he said handing me a piece of bread.
The bread was OK, but was really missing toppings. “Do you have anything to put on it? Even just some butter would be good?”
The man looked appalled. “Butter!? You think we have cows!? You take us to be nobility!? I was gracious enough to give you bread and you demand butter! How rude!”
The other men seemed equally unimpressed with my request, and this made me nervous. The Past was a strange place and I was surrounded by smelly armed men who could eat bread without butter. I couldn’t stay in this place… or rather I couldn’t stay in this time. I decided I had no better to choice, so I turned my back on them walked away, and against all warnings, started to climb the Eternal Staircase…