I was in 7th or 8th grade when I stumbled across Ray Bradbury’s A Sound of Thunder. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, I’d highly recommend it. I promise it’s a quick read (and I’m a slow reader): click here
I remember staring at the last line, “There was a sound of thunder,” feeling a bit like I had been sucker-punched. Wait… What..? That’s it? I closed my textbook, but the feeling lingered. It left me with the kinds of thoughts that only get messier, the further you try to untangle them: What is time? Does each seemingly trivial choice have the potential to make a dynamic shift in our futures? How many alternative pathways have I cut short so far? Should I have picked Coke instead of Sprite from the vending machine?!
Now, a decade or so later (and none the wiser), I found myself reading the short story again, this time on a computer screen. It made me think back on some of the choices I’ve made in life since the first time I’d read it; the people I have and didn’t meet, the things I’ve done and can’t do, because of those choices. Have you ever watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button? There’s a particular scene that beautifully portrays what I think a lot of us often wonder.
But I digress! One of my favorite lines from A Sound of Thunder is when Eckels remembers the ad he’d seen for Time Safari:
Out of chars and ashes, out of dust and coals, like golden salamanders, the old years, the green years, might leap; roses sweeten the air, white hair turn Irish-black, wrinkles vanish; all, everything fly back to seed, flee death, rush down to their beginnings, suns rise in western skies and set in glorious easts, moons eat themselves opposite to the custom, all and everything cupping one in another like Chinese boxes, rabbits into hats, all and everything returning to the fresh death, the seed death, the green death, to the time before the beginning.
I know I won’t be able to ride a time machine like Eckels did, but I thought it’d be interesting to start a blog for something like it. To look back and remember the person I was, to see what I’ve learned as the person I am, and to ponder about who I might eventually be. All without the risks of crushing a butterfly.
I am currently a pre-med (im)patiently waiting to hear back from the schools I’ve applied to. But who knows? Will I make it into medical school and eventually become a physician? Or will I receive a mysterious call from the wild and live out the remainder of my days with a pack of wolves? I don’t know. I guess you’ll find out with me.