So it’s a calm, sunny winter day after a week of wild winds and thunderous rainfall. I feel a guilty happiness, enjoying what so recently was normal. The country has been in chaos — yesterday was all about flights cancelled, ferries cancelled, floods and landslides. More hideous weather is forecast for the coming week.
But today I can do my normal Saturday morning things without a struggle. No exciting, exotic adventures are planned but I can’t help appreciating this day of winter sunshine with a guilty happiness.
The metal rooster across the street looks perky today, and no wonder. It’s sunny, and he gets a rest when the gales stop for a while.
I’m a footpathophile (not a footpathopath, more of a footpathologist) and there’s plenty to see when you’re not struggling against a very wet wind. Just noticed this piece of fresh tar has a mauve frame, same as my temporarily abandoned gumboots.
Better stop pausing for artistic shots or I’ll be late for Pump class at the gym. But hey, here we have multiple twigs all over the footpath. Who dropped them? Oh, the huge old pohutukawa of course. She can spare a few.
So I got to the gym and for the first time did the whole class wearing a mask. Most of the time I was working too hard to think about it.
Now for a coffee at the beach next to the gym. No swim today: looks gorgeous but even Wellington Harbour is polluted after storms, sorry to say. But it’s so lovely sitting outside, watching the winter sun on the water, communing with families out for a walk. I lost count of the men pushing prams: that’s their thing on a Saturday morning.
Then I did what you’ll think is utterly boring and ordinary: shopped at the supermarket and got a bus home. But there’s pleasure to be had in the ordinary. My favourite Courtenay Place building was still in the same place, posing, willing to be admired.
Off the bus and I pass my friend’s house, where the storm has deposited a smiley face on the moss-riddled footpath. Just in case I forgot to appreciate this lovely winter Saturday.
How dare I be happy?
I was so happy with my ordinary Saturday morning that I had to wrestle with guilt. Two selves inhabit me. One is horrified and terrified at the effects worldwide of the climate crisis. One is whispering in my ear, “How lucky, how blessed, how divinely over-privileged you are to be alive on this magical planet, now, here, this minute, and for the past 82 years!” The other is muttering, “How dare you be happy! It’s not right, it’s not fair, it’s not ethical, it’s crazy to be so happy about a still and sunny winter day in 2022.”
How about you? Am I odd to suspect that happiness is actually heightened by our disastrous global situation? I feel very weird about this. Is this guilty happiness or (hope not) happy guilt?Follow Write Into Life