Fiction tells time. It’s all about time and movement. It goes from here to there. Even when here and there are the same place, at the same time, it goes there. Even when it has to go there backwards, or in a circle. That is its human signature. That is how you can tell that a human had something to do with it. To the tree and the stream in the image below, however, there is no time. Without time, it has no story. Yet it still can be read.
Willow Trees and Water
Reading came hundreds of thousands of years before books. The loss of the ability to read this image is one of the costs of literacy, which is the same as saying it is one of the costs of time.