Every book I pick up lately seems to feature the end of life and cogitations on its approach. Even walking along the beach, I can't escape reminders. For the last week the shoreline has been marked by thick congregations of nectar scarabs, some struggling, most succumbed. In places where there were only a few, the trails of their survival were clear – the curls and swirls and circles and lines they created as they tried to extricate themselves from an alien medium. These markings are quite intricate and beautiful. They are not “going gentle into that good night”: they are weaving something to charm the eye of the observer. They remind me of a friend who approached her death with laughter against the pain, with delight in a gift of licorice brought by the minister of a religion she didn't believe, with generosity in allowing me to know her as her life ended.

When my end comes (within twenty years if the Australian Bureau of Statistics knows anything!) I hope I leave traces that give pleasure in my dying.