We had a great holiday last month. Friend – storyteller, author – Naomi Baltuck even posted a blog about it. We cruised on ferries. went for long walks, caught up,
talked, listened and told, as well as heard, great stories.
Leaving Seattle, after a ‘history-making’ good time with Naomi is always hard.
I’d had an awesome Autumn.
Flying past the luminous, snow-covered Mount Rainier at sunset made me feel small and very fortunate.
As the plane came into land that night at LA, I watched the vast spread of city lights twinkle below us. Where had I seen this before?
Here, is where my time slip began. Perhaps you remember this – Los Angeles in 2019 – from Bladerunner
Arriving at the Tom Bradley International Terminal was awesomely disorienting. Hi tech designs, with huge video screens, columns of light flickering above, beside and ahead of me. I had to ask the man in the iStore where the Departures info was. That’s it, in the photo, three floors up on the left!
I felt so disoriented, I couldn’t focus … then … I heard my my name called from the heavens. “Meg Fillip, please bghajkkljd, lkajsd, ijnn, ooa, inmpe am cfoeee. Meg Fillip, please bghajkkljd, lkajsd, innj , ooa, inmpe am cfoeee.” That helpful man in the iStore said it generally meant you were being called to your departure gate.
I hot-footed it to the distant gate which was about as ornate as a temporary hangar. The flight attendant took my Boarding Pass and handed me a new one, unfazed by my query as to why I had been summoned. (I do have a Scottish accent, so perhaps this was dismissed as unintelligible … I was a bit stressed.) So I sat there in the departure lounge, waiting, waiting …closed my eyes to wish I was back in those cool woods again.
When I opened them, a woman was standing in front of me, staring. “Lee!” I squeaked. Here was a fellow Aussie storyteller I hadn’t seen in years. “I heard your name called and I couldn’t believe this was you, but I see that it is!” she laughed. I was so relieved. We hugged.
She helped me break the announcement garble. Lee heard that someone with my name had left something behind in Security. I looked around me and froze … no cabin bag … quick march back there.
No. They hadn’t blown it up. My purple spotted, unlocked, blue carry-on was intact. A weary supervisor put down his coffee and sandwich, got it for from a back room for me – no trouble.
What a sense of relief … my feet were back on the ground again. I took this reassuring photo as I passed the bookshop. (They’re reading a book about puppies.)
Well, I flew home safe … but not that sound. No sleep and in the dark, my mind skewed through time – dreams, images, words and background noises, all melding together like a shimmering, Munch scream …I was encased in a swelling gum bubble showing flickers of story on the inside …
In Scottish folktales there’s lots of instances of characters slipping in time. I have never really thought about them being so disorientated … being ‘away with the fairies’ – a hundred years pass by in a night of fiddle-playing for the fairy folk, or a man with no story to tell has a dream, or one goes exploring in a cave …
or venturing out in a graveyard one night to visit the land of the dead. This takes the main character three hundred years, in the Italian tale One Night in Paradise. When he returns, there are strange buildings where his home used to be.
In the Irish legend of Bran’s Voyage, the sailors think they’re gone for three years, not for hundreds! When they return, the men are warned not to set foot on dry land or else! One sailor steps off and he turns to dust. The ship and crew are doomed to sail the oceans forever. What a fate!
I woke up to soft light and the calls of familiar birds greeting the dawn. Later, as I walked my usual route around by the creek, the Jacarandas confirmed it is Spring time in Brisbane. I was on home ground.
I’m not “away with the fairies” now but the air is heady with the scent of Star Jasmine, and Mock Orange. And the strongest perfume of all, comes from a bush where the flowers are purple when they first open, then fade slowly with each passing day, till they are white, commonly known as
In the inimitable words of the Steve Miller Band, Time keeps on slipping!
All text and photos by Meg, except Praytino’s photo as indicated.
Some stories I’ve told featuring time slips –
One night in paradise in CALVINO, Italo. Italian folktales.
The Man with no story to tell in DOUGLAS, Sheila. The King o the Black Art and other folktales.
Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License