The feeling of joy is a strange emotion. It can derive from momentous events – winning the great championship, realising a long-nourished ambition, owning one’s own home at last. The safe birth of a child is a supreme example of joy unconfined. But joy can also derive from the most inconsequential of discoveries – the moon, for example, suddenly appearing from behind clouds to flood the great Essequibo with shimmering light.
I remember with what delight, to give one odd instance, I read about the South African dung beetle which navigates by the Milky Way – somehow it opened in me a joyful realisation of the infinite and marvellous variety of life to know that there are these insects which use not only the sun and moon to find their way but even on pitch-black moonless nights can use the Milky Way galaxy to go in the right direction. It simply gave me great pleasure to learn that these splendid beetles which, observant scientists have revealed, perform wonderfully intricate orientation dances on the dung balls they extrude, are enabled to go straight guided by that great God-glitter in the night sky.