At the risk of sounding like a whingeing pom, Wellingtonians must develop SAS-style resilience and Buddhist-like optimism to deal with Wellington’s schizophrenic weather. They prepare themselves for the worst and embrace those “great days” that seduce us to Wellington’s charms all over again.
Wellington’s legendary winds are highly entertaining or gut wrenching depending on whether you are in the plane landing at the airport or just watching the gusty drama unfold on YouTube. You can always tell Wellington residents from visitors by the ease they navigate streets to shelter out of the worst of the weather and know when to hug street lampposts at certain intersections so you can keep your feet on the ground. The biggest signal of an out of towner is that you will rarely find a Wellingtonian carrying an umbrella; they know from bitter experience of their uselessness against Wellington’s inclement winds.
Recent analysis shows that Wellington’s reputation as a meteorological challenging place to live is largely misplaced. It seems that we fair about the same as most other parts of New Zealand, even if listening to the weather forecasts you’d be forgiven for believing Wellingtonians get a raw deal.
Long time readers of this blog will know how the state of the weather affects my mental well-being . Although after 8 years of living in Wellington I have developed a range of meteorological meditations that keep me sane and forsake all sartorial elegance when it comes to staying warm and dry. Living in the country amplifies the weather and can make nature attractive and repellant in ways that urban living seems to moderate the impacts of our climate.
The addictive qualities of sunshine always leave me craving. A hint of blue sky or a glint of sunlight bouncing on the top of the hills around us can transform my mood, even if for a few minutes. I can forgive days of pounding wind and driving rain the moment the clouds part and open up a giant blue sky. Just the other day I was almost dumbstruck by how the morning sunlight hit the top of Wellington station façade shining a golden light on the hoards of commuters spilling out. When rainbows span the skies and catch the beauty of fine showers its hard not to dash off in search of treasure.
For all playfulness of sunshine it is the mysterious qualities of the darker seasons that mesmerise. Rising mists and swaddling clouds make the hills, rivers and Wellington harbour into secretive enclave. Such weather brings natural entertainment to what might otherwise be a dull and lifeless commute along the Hutt Valley to Wellington City. It is nature at its poetic best.
Note: Written on 9 June and published retrospectively on 13 June 2014 as part of Jottings Challenge