A blanket of smoke sits over Sydney as I write this. A few hours ago a gentle shower washed the air clean, briefly, long enough for us to enjoy the fireworks. Now the smoke from the pyrotechnics mingles with that of the bushfires probably still ravaging the state. The new year hasn't settled in yet; I'm still in transition. I sit in my room surrounded by the accumulated detritus of my eighteen years, listening to heart-wrenchingly beautiful music, wishing I could play a tenth as well as the pianist I'm listening to. The view of the city centre from my window is muted by the smoke. In the morning it will be an ugly grey-yellow pall, but now it only obscures the harsh details of the city, leaving a collection of dim, distant lights like something in a dream. Right now, even the smell of smoke isn't unpleasant; not too heavy, it reminds me of the smell of incense that seems to permeate every corner of Bali, where I spent my last holiday. Though some of it is wrought from the destruction of others' homes and hopes and dreams, right now I can only see that I am surrounded by beauty.

I am young and inexperienced, but these seem like moments to live for.