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It has been quite a year, and not yet nearly done. So why bring it up now? Not one for end-of-year letters, this seems to be as good a time as any. And this morning I woke (early, as seems to have become my wont) to the most wonderful dream. And, as dreams often do, it got me to thinking.
The dream was about my Dad. Those of you who are close will know that I lost my dad earlier in the year. Perhaps as a result I have spent more time this year thinking about him this year than in the past few years. And I'm not really sure why this dream came to me this morning, but it was one of those vivid dreams that one wakes to and the details remain clear and strong. The dream was about my Dad's funeral, but not the one we had: it was a funeral as if he'd died aged 50 or 60, and it was a joyous, festive event celebrated by throngs of people with whom dad's life had intertwined or even just bounced off. Everybody was happy to be there and tell their story of Jack. A wonderful thing: the dream woke me with a smile, and thoughts came crowding in.
Without going into the blow-by-blow, we've had our ups and downs in 2016, my Dianne and I. Thankfully they've been mostly ups. Big peaks that stand out about the wide open fields of wheat blowing in the wind and the occasional muddy depression.
We've had two weeks away Ultimate camping with our darling grandchildren; the first early in the year at Cradle Mountain; the second just past in the border country where southeast Queensland meets northeast New South Wales. This might not sound like like a lot of time, but when they live almost as far away as they could be in this county every moment is special.
In late summer early fall we had a spell of mainland visitors, capped by an Ultimate get-together in southeast Tasmania. We followed this with lots of time at home trying to get fit enough to undertake back-to-back-to-back adventures cycling, hiking and even more hiking again in western Europe. As with most great adventures, it was the sharing with others - both old and new friends made during the course of those adventures - that made them special.
Our brief return home was a whirlwind of activity (gardening, visiting, spring cleaning, preparing for this trip to see the grandkids) punctuated by two significant events. The lesser of those involved a person driving their car at some not-inconsiderable speed through our back fence, fetching up against the corner of our neighbour's house. The greater, more momentous, was the passing of Di's Mum. Having lived for just a couple years short of her century, Beryl endured the trauma of two World Wars, the straitened circumstances of the Great Depression witnessed more profound change in her time on the planet than most of us will perhaps see. The fact that throughout her nearly 98 years Beryl could always raise a smile was a great testament to who she was and how she felt about being alive.
Our current foray to the North Island has been relatively short for the distance we've covered. We've got just over a week to get the ferry back to the Main Island and the joy of reconnecting with more friends along the way still ahead of us. Thanks to those of you with whom we've spent time, however briefly, these few weeks have richly added to the tapestry of the year.
We're nearly home and, as I see the sun starting to shine on the canvas of the camper and wait for it - and my darling Dianne - to rise and shine I wonder what the day will bring. We intend a ride. One certainty is that the wind will blow: or at least that's what the local bike shop owner tells us. For at least some of the day we will be slogging into a headwind. We hope that we might catch a bit of a tailwind to finish the day but who knows? It could be a slog out and back. Whatever, it will be another memorable day, and just great to be alive and kicking.