Spectacular weather today – a bit chilly for the time of year, but clear and fresh and sunny. Had a nice walk and my legs (for the first time in three years or so) reported (hopefully not over-confidently) – “yeah, we can get back in shape again, no problem – just USE us more often, dummy!” Working on it.
One of the worst things about our years long fear festival (entirely aside from all technical and policy questions) is that fear is self-evidently toxic and bad for us, and we have all been put in a position where we had to adopt it as righteous.
Again – not saying that was wrong, only that it was a GIGANTIC stressor on absolutely everyone. So I bet I’m not alone in finding things that used to be easy action-choices suddenly much more difficult and filled with new doubts.
Doris Lessing’s line returns to me often “Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now – conditions are always impossible” – and indeed, her life proved the value of that sort of spirit and courage like few other literary lives of the twentieth century.
But OMG – the first step can really be a freakin’ lulu, right?
So, along with lighting the boilers under dormant projects, I’m trying to re-learn the presumption of entitlement to momentary joy. Not as an intoxicant or escape, but as a sweetener to help the difficult stuff go down easier.
“Happiness” is a big ask (and crikey can we ever get in trouble framing it).
But today I had a really nice little conversation with a sweet old lady who was having trouble with a heavy door (even nearing sixty, one still needs to earn one’s good-citizen points, whenever possible), and to make Catherine smile I got some sublime chocolate tarts from the awesome new Brazilian bakery which opened up during lockdown (great time to sign a lease, but wow was steely nerve ever required for that move, right?)
I did curse once – as an SUV almost mowed down some pedestrians pulling out of a driveway and the driver got angry at the pedestrians – on the sidewalk – for not getting out of her way fast enough. (can’t help that one – pedestrian duty)
But then the squirrels in the park cracked me up again. We’re the poor cousins on the edge of a tony neighbourhood, so the wildlife in our park are used to eating unusually well (not just pate, bagels and baguettes, I swear we’ve seen at least a half a dozen racoons eating gourmet pizza – and even holding the crust with both hands and eating it like we do). Recycling day – our building is mostly beer cans, but our street is champagne! (quality shit, too)
Anyhow – the city recently passed a by-law which makes it illegal to feed any wildlife. Again, like the fear stuff above, I could but don’t want to mess about in the arguments (and there are sincere feelings on both sides, to be sure).
The point is that there was a lovely fellow in an electric wheelchair who used to sit in the park for hours radiating peace and love to everyone, while feeding the pigeons and squirrels every afternoon, and at the far end of the path, at least three different older folk who did the same, mornings and evenings.
I even got yelled-at one time in the park, because I was taking a close-up picture of a squirrel, and I didn’t have any nuts to give him in payment.
A middle aged woman stomped by me on the path and practically spat at me “You are stealing from him! He is supposed to have treat!”
All of which brings me to today – when I swear, all the squirrels in the park were watching each and every person who walked down the path, me included, with a faint glimmer of hope hidden behind a listless resignation.
“Is he? Is he? Is he? Nah, told you, they’ve ALL finked out on us at once!”