I spend (a lot less) time (than I’d like) on Stockton sand dunes, up near Port Stephens on the NSW coast.  Rain or shine, it’s a beautiful place and there are plenty of things for a father and son to do.  Part of its attraction is the endless desolate progression of sand hills marching towards the far horizon, making it a great place to unwind after another hectic week.

There’s something about the dunes that promotes introspection; it’s no fluke, I think, that several of the world’s major religions came out of the desert.  In this case, we were turning back for home and the lad was running off in front of me back to the car and as I watched him forging the path I had the sense of the endless possibilities that lay ahead of him.  As an adult, I’m aware that I have already chosen many of the forks in the road and that as you get older, options become more limited and the effort required to change direction becomes larger and larger.  You have to make smart choices because, unlike a four-year-old, you’re aware that the length of time you can wait for something come to fruition is finite.

Ultimately, there is an event horizon in the future, a dividing line in time beyond which you will never see.  Looking at my lad racing off down the dunes, I suddenly understood how that time belongs to him and not me; we have only a limited right to impose beyond our event horizon.

I spend my days at work trying to predict what the future will look like.  But the future looks like this, and we are not invited.

walking home through the dunes