Sunday, May 9, 2010
The first time it happened was I don’t know how long ago – but I was hanging washing, on a crispy, autumn, Sunday afternoon, knowing that the bright sun was all show, no action. The washing would be as damp by sundown and damper still in the morning. One kid was asleep, one pottering in the sandpit, one not even the faintest twinkle in an eye. The Mr squinted against the slanting bright light, finally finding time for a Saturday newspaper. Somewhere the planets aligned and there was a bit of quiet and a bit of space and I thought, I am happy.
I was a bit caught out. Are you supposed to find happy in the mundane? Aren’t you supposed to win Tattslotto, or at a bare minimum, a world cruise, or become a reality TV show winner, or own a multi-bazillion dollar business? Newly arrived back in Melbourne, finding our feet, looking for work, small anklebiters, hiccups and setbacks and comedy-of-error days – an ordinary life no worse than most and certainly infinitely luckier than a kazillion others inhabiting this planet and, that day, pegging wet odd socks on the line: happy. Grateful.
Most of the time, I play catch up. Family stuff, friend stuff, household stuff, work stuff, stuff-stuff. There isn’t usually much leftover head space to contemplate where things are at, where I am at. I’ve had a lovely three days filled with a Stitches & Craft Show and putting faces to bloggy names, a Saturday evening soirée, a family trip to the Camberwell Market today, then over to Mum’s to celebrate a few generations of women. Away from usual routines, I found some think space. As well as ordinary, sneak-up-on-you happy. Covered in a layer of Monday morning stuff in a matter of minutes, (no one has any clean underwear for tomorrow), it’s a happy that isn’t twee or smug, although I imagine this is precisely how it sounds. The reason it isn’t, is because I am clangingly aware how the flap of a butterfly wing, or a tiny twist of fate, can turn someone’s world on its head.
This weekend I didn’t photograph places or events or people but I did take a photo of some ordinary, spent flowers rescued from a garden tidy, that make beautiful shadows on my wall at 4pm, the mossy seat furniture offering in our gnarled and magic apple tree – and lemons. Because when life gives you lemons, make lemon curd. Ordinary, everyone-lick-the-bowl, happy.