Somehow the warmest day of the year so far was also the windiest. It was also, somehow, one of the happiest. There was no reason for my joy, other than the weather, or the fact that the day before had been terrible and I was in need of change. Happiness doesn’t require more reasons than that. Happiness doesn’t require reason at all. It simply arrives when it’s time, over and over, like spring.
On my lunch break, I walked out across the back field. I stood behind the shed, filled with bikes and buckets and shovels – the tools of childhood – where the groundhogs had burrowed a home for themselves beneath. I watched the tree branches wave. I watched the clouds move. I watched airplanes glide through the blue silk of the sky like flying fish, leaving parallel white streams behind them. I reveled in the movement.
The wind wrapped me in its arms. It pushed and it pulled and it demanded my attention. I took off my shoes and planted my feet firmly on the ground, mimicking the trees. I bent. I waved. I moved, but I did not fall.
This is what the trees know. They know how to be flexible in the wind. They know that to stand rigid and unmovable against forces more powerful than themselves is a kind of death. They know that what doesn’t bend, breaks. They know how to gracefully let go of their leaves, to watch them float away as quickly and purposefully as the clouds. They know how to change. This is how they remain.
And so for a while I stood there, barefoot and happy, following their example. I took deep breaths and let go of things. I pictured the wind scooping them up and carrying them further and further away. Meanwhile I stayed, tied to my life by an unbreakable string, rooted in the joy that remained.
So this is happiness, I thought. This is life. It’s as easy as breathing. It’s as easy as bending with the wind. It’s as easy as turning the instability of the world into an example of our own powerful resilience. This is why I am here.
I require no more reasons than that. I am here to grow, and to change, and to make of my life a palace of beautiful leaves to cast out into the wind and to come back to me each spring. I am here to be both constant and moving. I am here to stretch my limbs.
Later that day, I remembered that it was Holi, the Hindu celebration of the arrival of spring. It is my favorite holiday, full of color and life and joy, like spring itself. Six years ago I stood on a rooftop in India and danced beside the trees among a group of strangers I would quickly grow to love. We threw colored powder and painted each other into masterpieces. We threw our arms into the air and laughed. We threw away all of the pieces of ourselves we were trying to leave behind. We watched them float away on the wind.
We welcomed spring, and happiness, and our upcoming adventures. We welcomed the uncertainty. We welcomed change.
On the warmest day of the year so far, I opened the door and walked out across the back field. I stood behind the shed. I pushed and pulled and bent in the wild, insatiable wind. I kicked off my shoes. I watched the trees. I breathed in and out, and let go.
And I swear I could taste it – the Indian air, the sweet constant happiness of spring.