Thursday, November 17, 2005

chestnuts and jellies

In the late afternoon, after classes were done with, I engaged in a (frenzied?) email exchange about happiness. It was one of those one-upmanship things: who is more likely to search, and therefore find happiness – my email-respondent or me?

You aren’t entirely serious when you write about this sort of stuff. In fact, most people shrivel and hide if anyone even asks them about their happiness (what does it mean? there’s no such thing, etc etc). But insofar as we were able to conclude anything during this particular exchange, it was that he had small fluctuations (a little happy, a little sad) and I had great ones (a lot happy and less frequently for sure, a lot sad) and it all added up to pretty much the same bowlful of happiness.

But then we zeroed in to the heart of the matter: can a person who is a little this a little that ever fully appreciate the singular joy that comes with great friendship? Parenthood? Love? Companionship? An adorable Torts class?

I don’t get “little joys” people. My writer friend states: “if the chestnut is gone, there’s always a sweet potato.” (Meaning, there’s always something.) Well yes, but I am not ashamed to admit that I have a hierarchy of preferences on what foods I will place in front of me. Ahead of the pack come my two little chestnuts out in NHaven. It’s a given. But after that, I will chase down a truckload of foods before I settle for the sweet potato.

I look for them, I spend time on them. My friend says (by now the discussion has shifted to the phone) “I’m not a “more” person. I don’t need even more than I already have.” My heart goes out for you. More love and greater happiness seem infinitely better than an average amount. And why waste time on the potato, on the gray sky, on inertia, on fear of failure, when you can indulge yourself and revel in a heart-wrenchingly beautiful sunrise right there, outside your window, or a plateful of jellies at a cafĂ© around the corner? But you need to crave them and expect to find them. Such joy when you do!

Madison Nov 05 286
this afternoon, around the corner, at Jo's

Madison Nov 05 284
this morning, out the loft window