Pushed for a big change and was unsuccessful. “Wait,” said the year. So I waited.

Tangoed and tangoed through the hot nights, and learned that you can love a dance but the world of that dance might not let you in. So I tangoed in the lounge room with friends, then put my shoes away and enrolled in a barefoot dance instead.


Decided to love without expectation and in doing so banished—for the most part—longing, envy, self-loathing, obsession and all the other sneakies. Love without shackles is better. Agape.

Got out of my head and into the outdoors. Walked. Walked up hills, beside lakes, through valleys. The mountains curved around, dependable. The ground felt solid underfoot.


Reminded someone, gently, with love, that they had two feet of their own and could stand on them admirably. No-one was hurt by this conversation. Lives were improved.

Went exploring. Saw the sun dance at the river mouth and set tangerine over the ocean. Learned where the backroads go, to the little-known places in the hills. Ate oysters at a cold mountain lookout and was delighted, as so many times this year, by friendship.


Met sadness on a road and let it in. Felt it saturate every cell. When there was nothing left for it to do, it moved on.

Laid low by a cold and the cold, I thought about how far I’d wandered from my centre. How did I get so off track? What would it take to get back there?

Pushed for a big change and was still unsuccessful. “No,” said the year. So I surrendered and tried to be content with the here and now.


Life seemed rocky. Sleep was elusive. Plod, plod went the days. But there was still dancing.

“Oh, by the way,” said life, “I thought you should have this,” and gave me something I’d asked for five years ago and long given up any hope of getting. So change came when I wasn’t looking or pushing or wishing.


Began to clear the ground, physically and metaphorically. Struggling plants, straggling beliefs were chopped up and pulled out. “This is someone else’s garden,” I thought, “someone else’s idea.” A magpie came to keep me company and we looked each other in the eye. A neighbour walked past. “What are you going to plant?” she asked.

I know exactly what I’m going to plant. I’m going to make it mine. But first I’ll give the soil a rest.

Merry Christmas.