Some tasks are a bit like walking down a stretch of beach some unknown distance. Walking back is different. You know where you're going, you've trod these treds before. You see your destination, you see your target easy and evident in front of you.

Walking out is different. The strand is long and blank with no point to pick out as your target, your goal. Instead you shuffle, feet squeaking over fine silica for as long as you want to go.

There's no pressure no force keeping you on. Just a vague desire to exercise, to see what there is, something.

Without a goal, without a precise push, turning back is effortless. Each step you take out is a step you'll have to take on the return. And the prize for going some distance is intangible.

You see the steps of others, the way has been gone some number of times before. Peanut imprint footsteps from beachgoers wearing shoes, deep holes where the balls of feet have landed, shallow cutouts from sandals.

When did they turn back? When do you?