They told us it would be windy. I expected that much. But I didn’t expect to experience the same whirling gales that I’d felt in Florida, when the outer bands of a passing hurricane brushed up against the coast. And I didn’t expect to experience them daily.
But here we are three months later — Wellington is still standing and the world has not ended, despite the best attempts of frequent and forceful gusts that often lead us to believe so. We’ve gotten used to the wind, almost. We’ve gotten used to the swirly graphics on the 5-day forecast that tell us the only weather predicted for the week is wind. We’ve grown accustomed to digging in and biking harder, each foray on a windy day like pedaling through a pond of molasses. We’ve gotten better at guarding our things while we sit on the beach — takeaway lids and hats and anything not anchored to the ground, and thus prone to blowing away in a instant.
But we haven’t gotten used to the immense beauty that surrounds us each time we walk out the door. That still feels new. The fact that the beach is a five-minute stroll from our house, and the mountains are close too. That we can hop on our bikes and in less than a half hour we are out of the city and on the summits of mountains with sweeping vistas of aquamarine water below.
We still get excited that on a sunny day, we can see the snow-capped peaks of the South Island all the way across the Cook Strait. That we might see penguins or seals or even orca whales whenever we take a walk along the seaside. That we wake up to birdsong and bright red pōhutukawa flowers that seemed to have bloomed overnight, just in time for Christmas. We are still surprised every time we realize that we gave up nothing by living in this city — we are still so close to nature, living on the edge of Wellington’s raw and rugged south coast.
That part still blows us away, more than the wind could ever hope to.