My family and I spent the weekend in Austin. During a walk in the city’s Arboretum district my son and I happened upon a time capsule that had been sealed in 1986. The plaque affixed to the small monument said that it was to be opened by the citizens of Austin in 2086. When I quipped that he should plan to show up at the age of 87 he suggested instead that we could both attend. He forgot or perhaps didn’t realize that this wouldn’t be possible.
I took the moment to remind him that I wasn’t going to be around forever. And at age nine, of course, such things begin to make sense. I could see the wheels turning as he put it all together. It was the first time he had ever had this realization. We talked about it for a bit and it was only a moment later that he was on to the next thing.
While a nine-year-old has the capacity to understand death, the real significance of a walk with your father on a near perfect spring day takes a little more maturity.