There is a different kind of history which lies in all that we don’t know and never will. It’s a history of imagination in which all of the answers are wrong except for the right ones, but “right” and “wrong” are based only on common beliefs and science that is not yet past its limits. Dinosaurs roared, maybe, but maybe they didn’t, and maybe they also wore socks to keep their feet warm. Neither is proven.

There is the history of space exploration, indeed, and it is written down and recorded in various ways so that it will never be forgotten. It is significant. It is usual history. Perhaps there is also the history of a small girl by the name of Jane who looked up at the stars and said, “I want to go there,” and she spent all seventy three years of her life dreaming about twinkling lights in the night sky; but she never got there.

No, that’s silly. Her name was Faith. Or maybe it was Tessie, or Eloise, or a name I could never think of because I’ve never been to China or Greece. Maybe it was all of them or none of them, or maybe it never happened at all. This is a different kind of history, where the significance of an unrecorded life isn’t considered significant at all. Lots of people dream about the stars, they say. But I want to know who Jane was.

If I put a few words down on this paper, who’s to say it will or it won’t be read in a thousand years? Maybe that’s unrealistic. A few hundred? Could be. Six years? Might someone read it in six years? Sure, and maybe it will only be me. But if Jane had a dream about the stars, we’d never know. If Jane had a dream about the stars and she wrote it down for all the world to read, the world—whoever that is—would have read it. Maybe six years later, maybe seventy four. Jane, and the precise way she saw the stars, would be remembered.

Did dinosaurs wear socks? Maybe only the stars know.

(Originally Published February 5, 2020)

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