Closing out November. This was an interesting month in the country where I live. It was also an interesting month in the country I was born in. 2016 has been a tumultuous year, for many of us, depending on where we live. Globally, there have been changes alarming and drastic. Hopefully we will wind down to a quiet Christmas.

2016 started out with Bowie dying. I was listening to his last album tonight, in a fit of glumness, and I found I could not be glum anymore, not when his graciousness in meeting death and illness was so transparently present in his music. He was still a blue-bird, dashing and charming, theatrical to the end, willing to entertain as always, while not hiding the truths of his life for those who chose to delve deeper later.  Thanks, Starman!

In my personal life, it has been a bit of an up-and-down this year, especially post-vacation, but nothing as bad as the last few years, and for that I am thankful. It has been mostly logically expected situations though the heart does have its way of overruling the mind inconveniently and ever so often, and I am still mostly intact in my vacation-derived joys. I think I am determined this time to not let externalities break my joie de vivre too much. There are concerns about a trip home, about some paperwork etc, but tomorrow can’t be a reason to make today worse, when today has its share to tussle with.

For all of 2016’s miseries and unexpected drama inflicted on the world, it has been a quieter one for me, and hasn’t even been that bad compared to the earlier years; I am grateful. I am still mostly naive and trusting, but I am also finding in myself the strength to say no, which I consider a blessing. I have chanced to meet better people in general, in my work life and in my personal life, and that in turn has improved the quality of my own life and thoughts a great deal. Even in my disappointments this year, there has been a quiet contentment – mostly everyone involved had tried their best to be honest and fair, nobody had set out with malice in their intent – and the endings that had come had been truly for the best. It usually takes me years to make peace, to heal myself from harm and disappointment, but 2016 has been refreshingly different. Maybe I am growing up. Maybe I am finally seeing people who are more compatible with my temperament and working style.

For now, Bowie’s given a lot to take joy in. I am reminded of Thoreau’s bluebird, carrying the skies on his shoulders, flying free. I have seen a bluebird too this year, one that came to my roost in the summer, and left in the winter. It was a creature with heaven above and earth below, living in a way I dare not live, light of heart, short-sighted, not having any of my careful, detailed plans and schemes. It made the summer delightful, certainly, looking perfect amidst the flowers in the garden and the blues of my curtains and table-clothes. And in the winter, it deserted my garden for familiar and old places that still had warmth. Goodbye, bluebird. Stay safe in the winter!