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Dedicating Freedom - A young girl's journey to understanding

Updated on May 19, 2014
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It started with a crush.

Wham! Suddenly that round faced boy at the front of the class turned into a man. Sharper jawline, toned muscles, straight teeth without offensive braces, and hands that could wrap around yours twice. You can’t believe how fast guys can go from looking like a jumble of arms and legs to being strikingly handsome in one summer. You stare at him from the back of the class, completely unaware of the short, kind woman in the front talking about the Latin vocabulary quiz the following Monday. You see him raise his hand and the teacher nods in his direction. He speaks! You don’t actually register what he says, but the words sound like music. Rich, deep, and slightly raspy as if all memory of a once childish tone has completely melted away. You have known this boy since the second grade, but he seems totally new to you now. He is very smart. He skipped at least one grade and could skip another if he really wanted to. If you can get him to talk, he’s very quiet, he’ll tell you about planes and science that can unravel your brain. So what do you do? You aren’t on the same level as this guy so you decide to learn up on some of the things he is interested in. This isn’t to say that you aren’t intelligent, but he is definitely smarter. You go the library because that’s where people go when the want to learn something they don’t know anything about. As you step through the door, you realize you have never been inside. The walls are lined with shelves packed with books in every size, shape, and color. Large volumes with more facts than you can count are stacked on the right while comfortable novels reside on the left. You peer into the depths of the organized system that is library science and you emerge next to a shelf labeled science fiction. You skim the titles hoping one will just jump out at you. Suddenly, the word AIRFRAME catches your eye and you pull it from the shelf. The cover is detailed with a silhouette of a silver plane and the author’s name, Michael Crichton, lies below it in red font. The synopsis grips you. The book is a mystery involving a plane that apparently lands itself while the inside chamber is filled with unfortunate passengers that didn’t survive the flight. Of course, this seems like the perfect book to read when you want to impress a guy like this one. So you check it out and start to read it. About four days later you walk through the library doors and make a beeline for the same shelf you took AIRFRAME from. Far from your mind is the boy who sits at the front of the class. He takes a back seat as your main priority becomes the quest to find another book by Crichton.

The timeline for change

At this moment, your life is beginning to change. You don’t know it, but many pieces are all about to fall into place. With the simple act of choosing a book from a library shelf, you go from a naive sixteen year old, to someone who only existed in your wildest aspirations. Timeline came into your life in an unexpected way, but nevertheless became a part of you. The second book you check out by Crichton has a slow start. Honestly you debate returning it and trying again. Then while you’re sitting at a table in the library, you let the book flap shut. You stare at the cover which embodies a knight brandishing a lance while mounted on a rearing black steed. You turn to the first pages and read the comments of critics for moment while deciding whether or not return it. Then you look over at a mostly blank page that carries only two small words, “For Taylor” (xii). You reread it again just to make sure you aren’t mistaken. You take this as a sign to continue reading the book. Little did you know it would literally catalyze a new way of thinking you never could have conceived of.

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Timeline begins with a couple driving across the desolate expanse of the New Mexico desert when they spot a man stumbling on the side of the road. The man is wearing strange clothing, heavy layers of an unknown fabric. He is obviously ill in some way and the couple drive him to the hospital where he soon dies from unknown causes. The case is covered up by officials, and the hospital staff is left puzzled. Then, the story shifts to an archeological site in the Dordogne region of France where Professor Edward Johnson is leading a dig. He and his team of graduate researchers are uncovering the mysteries of a medieval French castle when Johnston is suddenly called to ITC headquarters (the team’s main source of funding). He doesn’t return and soon his team is called into action to rescue their professor from a location you wouldn’t be able to find on a modern map. There are many twists and turns, and Michael Crichton doesn’t neglect the reader’s desire for suspense. Early in the story, Crichton describes the methods in which the archaeologists are able to travel back in time. Quantum Physics is introduced, and that makes all the difference.

You weren’t changed overnight but you knew you had stumbled on something bigger than yourself. You started asking questions and you didn’t listen blindly to the answers. Quantum Physics was exciting and you may have never have found it had that book been dedicated to someone else. Philosophy came next in new and even more thrilling ways when you yet again read a book by Crichton called Sphere. Two books take you from egotistical teenager to eager intellectual. You began reading and watching everything you could and never a moment of it was spent without wonder. You began theorizing and thinking about the bigger picture every moment. Your life was transformed into an entity of a personal magic only you could understand.

Two years have passed and every day you are still astounded by the way things work out. You no longer worry about the outcome so long as you can experience the journey. Michael Crichton is no longer alive, but he will always exist. You would not have become the person you are today had it not been for that man. You know that book wasn’t dedicated to you personally, but it might as well have been. You became free. Free from worry, from delusion, from ignorance, from blind conformity. You were given the opportunity to learn what it means to be conscious. Michael Crichton dedicated freedom to you. So don’t waste it.

page xii of Timeline
page xii of Timeline

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