“Ooh, this place is busy! Look at the huge machines!”

Wanda was barely keeping up with her elderly aunt, and couldn’t yet see what she was talking about. They hiked through the ancient woods, going at a hurried stumble because Aunt Jeri thought strolling was for the lazy. She believed in covering all possible distances to make the most of one’s journey.

“What machines? Where? What do they do?” asked Wanda petulantly.

Aunt Jeri wheeled around and pointed angrily. “I’ve been showing you all kinds of things. Obviously, you haven’t been practicing,” she scolded. “Over there, you have a big metal monster, eating trees off a rack. Over there,” she said, spinning, “is where cut boards are stacked. Can’t you even smell the people? Hear the voices? Feel the rumble?”

Wanda sagged. “I have been practicing, but I can only do a few minutes at a time. It hurts my head.”

Aunt Jeri softened, remembering when she was young and nearly blind to the world before her. As she grew, she realized that there was always more to see. Her friends could never see what she did, but she learned to keep her discoveries to herself for fear of ridicule. Until Wanda was born, that is. The young girl didn’t know any better, and would comment on ghosts and objects that clearly weren’t there currently. Aunt Jeri took it upon herself to apprentice the young one, in hopes of readying her for the responsibility of Seer. The whole village depended on Jeri for their survival, for staying ahead of invasions and other disasters, and she knew she had already lived too many years.

“Look,” said Aunt Jeri gently. “Use your eyes, but not alone. Feel the life, listen to your imagination.” Wanda gazed in the direction her aunt had indicated, letting herself sink into the scene. She felt a wind at her back, growing from a whisper to a shriek, but without disturbing a single leaf around her. Images blurred by, jerking like a kid running with a flashlight. Her vision settled.

“I see a crumbling building; only bugs live in it.”

Aunt Jeri beamed. “Excellent. You’ve just gone past it. Back up about 100 years.”

Wanda resisted the urge to protest, to quit – the pressure behind her eyes was getting uncomfortable. She let her mind fall backward, slowly, trying to keep her balance while the images drunkenly lurched. Sounds of shouts and machinery came into focus, the smell of oil and sweat and sawdust, and finally the motion of a hundred men working. She and her aunt watched the process of progress for a few minutes. Aunt Jeri whispered, “Now let it flow faster, we’ll see what happens next.” The forest melted away, leaving a stark white building, which quickly grew dark, sagged, and gave way to the forest again. As the scene faded into the background, Wanda saw just what was before her: A thicket of brush and trees.

“Well done, dear. You’re getting the hang of farsight.”