The Whole Time Travel Thing…..

Like many children, I think “A Wrinkle in Time” was the first science fiction book I read. I suppose it’s as much fantasy though and I did not read her other books. I’ve mentioned that in my prolific reading, I went through phases; most of my science fiction later with the standards of Issac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and so forth.

Time travel is such a popular notion and perhaps it’s rooted in the longing to either find out the truth of what happened in the past or wondering if there is a way to get the ultimate “do-over” and correct a mistake. That of course immediately brings to mind the danger of “correcting or preventing a wrong” without realizing the interference will have ultimately far worse consequences. There were a few episodes involving time travel in the original Star Trek series, none more poignant than when Captain Kirk has to accept the death of an innocent woman in order to bring the world back into proper alignment.

Then there are humorous treatments like in the movie Back to the Future where the character of Marty McFly must avoid romantic intentions of the high school student who will actually become his mother. What brought all this to mind was watching another episode of Northern Exposure as the character Shelley worried about the birth of their child; something they never expected to happen because she’s married to the much older Holling. In realizing she’s encountering her future daughter at different ages, she dashes in to see Chris, who assures her he too believes in stepping through the space-time continuum; not that he has done so, yet in the existence of it. In response to her question of why someone would chose to appear at a specific time, he explains if he had the ability, he would go back to an earlier generation of his family to let them know that while things looked bleak during the Great Depression, they would make it through.

In the quirky way of the show, what the final encounter between Shelley and her now almost adult daughter reveals is Shelly won’t make it to the hospital, but instead give birth above the bar where they live making the event a part of the community. And as they rest with the infant after, she knows the future is bright.

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