looking up at the Future Machine, brass wheels, oak base with brass intructions and button on the side, copper trumpets on each side of an ash octagon with a copper panel in the front and a pole at the back, shadow of the weather station at the top against a red brick wall

A letter from 2050

Anon, 2050

The Future Machine was built to help us as we took a journey into an uncertain future, as the Earth was changing and we sought new ways to be in the world and tell our stories.

It became a time capsule, a symbol of luck, a way of predicting and making decisions, an oracle. We had hoped it would follow us into the future, not as a runaway handcart speeding down the hill, but as a companion along the journey. A shield, a sword, an icon, a trusty horse, a holder of the visions of the future we sought, not predicted.

We found guardians for the machine. Who took it to the special places, that were sacred to us, and where we could hide it in plain sight. We hoped people would come to find it, and the guardians would continue to protect and care for it as well as the places they cared for. We hoped people would keep asking the difficult questions, as we placed our difficulties, hopes, sanctity and dreams into it’s safe keeping.

Then people started taking pilgrimages to the places were the Future Machine appeared. It was said that there were other places, rites and acts such as this, all over, that pointed us to the heart of the world. As more and more of these remaining places, rites and acts were discovered the world indeed began to turn differently. In many ways we changed, in many ways we stayed the same, but we began to dream again.

Wherever the machine went conversations started and continued, and it returned to wherever it went, playing back the things that had passed before, whilst recording the things that were yet to pass. This story was painted upon it. Repainted, added to and changed depicting the quests, questions and places the machine and it’s guardian’s encountered along the way.

It’s heavy wooden panels are now dusty, thick with peeling paint depicting the myths, stories and landscapes, scratched and scraped, warped, bleached and washed away. If you look closely enough it is all still there traced into the grains of wood, the people it has carried, the songs, dances and gatherings it has witnessed and the stories it has recorded, hidden and then brought back into the world when the time came. 30 years of peacefulness, conflict, calm and destruction, stillness and noise, togetherness, loneliness, sunshine, abundance, flood, storms, heatwaves and drought, tears and joy.

Now we are here, in the future, it is time to tell our story.

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