Field note at Snapper Rocks and Rainbow Beach

I’m watching a family at Rainbow Beach, just down from Snapper Rocks. Their child, a toddler, reaches out to touch the fibreglass of an old singlefin surfboard lying on the small black stones that make up this beach. The old bloke who owns the beaten-up board smiles. He’s down for his daily morning surf at his local and now he’s ready to head off to the building site for the day with a nifty little memory of small runners and the memory of perhaps the beginnings of a new surfing life.  

Mum rushes over to stop the toddler and says something I can’t hear.

Up the beach at Snapper Rocks there is a full-blown professional surfing competition with announcers fussing over each wave, with a soundtrack sponsored by WMG in the background. 

The mum turns to Dad.

The toddler runs back, completely ignoring the pageantry of the competition, this time going for a dead seagull. He sticks his hand into the rotten carcass, where the head used to be.

Mum rushes over again to stop him, dragging the boy off by the arm.

Again, Mum says something I can’t hear.

They all walk away, Mum has her child by the arm, the boy keeps looking back at the surfboard and toward the dead animal, not at the bright banners and flapping flags.

Curiosity.

Choices.

There’s a parable in there somewhere.

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