Have you noticed how many people are grumpy at Christmas? Running around like maniacs, tapping their feet impatiently in queues and generally looking fit to bust a gasket.
All the lying around on couches eating bon bons that I have been doing lately has put me in quite the zen mood so you can imagine that when I hit the shops yesterday I was a little befuddled by all the angst in the air. Glum faces, elbows held close to sides to ensure a more aerodynamic movement through the bustling crowds, people being cranky and rude to sales assistants.
What’s going on, people? I wanted to shout. It’s supposed to be the time of peace and goodwill to all men.
The shopping centre I frequent, The Broadway Centre, is situated right next to one of my favourite parks in Sydney, Victoria Park. When I was nearly knocked flat on my face by a red-faced man carrying an enormous plush elephant, then almost stabbed through the heart by a girl carrying two gigantic candlesticks, (Tottering, she was actually tottering and the candlesticks looked ready to fly out of her hands at any moment. I thought she was one of those street performers travelling incognito who couldn’t help but break into her juggling routine wherever she went….) I decided it was time to remove myself from the snarling, ravenous Christmas hordes.
So I went to Victoria Park.
I noticed a curious thing at the park. A number of people who’d come down with me in the lift had actually ended up at the park – drinking coffee, eating sandwiches, closing their eyes and breathing in air unsullied by the 2 for 1 special 15 minute offers being announced at K-Mart.
Looks like I wasn’t the only one who knew the best place to go to hold onto their Zen. Or get it back.
This woman, laden down with shopping bags, placed her bags on the grass and began to feed the birds. Her mouth went from a thin line to a smile within seconds. All those who watched her began to smile too.
See it, feel it, breath it in. The everyday world still goes on even as we dodge the flare of christmas lights and swallow down yet another mince pie. Maybe that’s the secret to banishing the Christmas grumps – getting some grass under your feet, looking at the sky and listening to birds peck about for crumbs.
Flowers, birds and water; keeping the jolly in the festive season.