After the miracle of the backpacks, my Dad wrote:

In my experience, it is more likely that other people will deal with you honestly.

He pointed out that he lost his wallet in Bathurst and got it back. He doesn’t have to convince me, though, because as well as Rajit Singh I have Suzanne I-am-so-sorry-I-lost-your-cellphone-number, who took Claire to the police station in Glebe when we lost her in January, the memory of which still makes me sick with fear at what might have happened.

May their blessings multiply like galaxies in the Hubble Deep Field.

Human beings are, yes, a savage little virus that is giving the Earth a fever. We are nasty belligerent chimpanzees. But that isn’t all we are. We are chimps that can choose to be bonobos. Human hands made Spirit and Opportunity, those brilliant intrepid travellers on Mars. Human hands made New York City, the most awesome and civilized place on Earth.

My absolute best moment at Viable Paradise was after reading Norman Wood‘s story. Norm is a retired insurance salesman from Florida. Think shorts and Hawaiian shirts. His story was an achingly sweet coming-of-age tale about a prepubescent girl. I remember looking up at him and catching his eye – he grinned at me – and thinking how easily I might have overlooked him in an airport or a mall: and yet he has this inner life that sparkles like a jewel.

I remember thinking, people are geodes. Whatever they look like on the outside, inside there is amethyst and stardust.

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