It Was Never The Future

Nick Tierce
3 min readMar 4, 2024

The expanded text as originally written for what became a shorter video elegy. (Featuring a piano medley that can be heard here.)

“Today marks two years since Starcruiser opened, and I’ve been in my feelings about the past decade of interactive theme park adventures in the wake of its closure. I tended to appreciate these experiences as a glimpse of the future, but I was wrong. I think there’s a lesson in that, so I wrote a thing.” 2024.03.01

Legends of Frontierland (2014)

It was never the future.

It was a dream from the past. A hope for the present, that what I had seen was a glimpse into what might come. But we are so rarely empowered to choose which chapter follows. And those with that power don’t give a fuck what we think should happen next. I told myself it was a step on a continuum of progress. But that wheel has spun enough times for me to see the spokes coming. Ten years ago, I thought I was living the beginning of something. I didn’t know that there was a decade of ends queued up.

So I choose to be grateful for those moments. Grateful I lived to see something that made me believe enough to imagine a roaring fire, even if that small spark was about to be extinguished. I cup it in my hand until the breeze takes it away, and then thank the burnt matchstick. So few beheld that flame. I was lucky. Still, I can’t help but consider the cost of hope. The weight of a thousand futures that are never to be. The unlived comfort of never having believed in the first place.

It was never the future. It was a moment. One I can carry forward, as a vigil for forgotten tomorrows. I wanted to believe everyone could see what we saw, and feel what we felt. But I’ll have to sleep soundly knowing it’s enough to love alone, and in the past tense. Not just in the weight of unmet expectation, but in the shame of an unproven prediction.

I thought it was a temple. But it was really a … sand mandala?

A corporation in the business of making idols found themselves with an icon. Idols are insular, pointing only back to themselves. Icons open us up to something bigger. Something nobody can own.

That’s it: an experiential sand mandala. Perhaps not by intention, but, in the end, a temporary piece of art that reinforces impermanence. The only difference? You know it’s going to go away from the moment the first grain drops. Destruction is the ritual.

Instead, we got a surprise. A last kiss of galactic thematics, reminding us of the suffering that comes with attachment. I stole a rock because I wanted to keep a piece of it with me forever. But the part that lasts can’t be held. And maybe looking toward the future was actually just the vanity of being first. It doesn’t matter if it was ever the future. Love it now. Even — no, especially when love isn’t enough to save it. The wind and the tide can’t feel it. But I’ll build the sandcastle anyway. I’ll visit yours. I’ll remember when I imagined they could be the grains of an entire city.

I’ll let that moment be enough. I’ll let the dream dance with no expectation of it bleeding into reality. Sometimes, the dream is enough. Especially when we share it. Because it was never about the future, really. It was the hope we showed each other, at that very moment. The unsung parts of ourselves that neverfuture reflected back into the now.

So, let’s gather the scattered sand into a jar, wrap it in silk, and release it back into the river.

Together, as one.