Wednesday, March 29, 2017


What makes you happy? You know, so that you can't help but smile, feel all warm inside, breathe a deep sigh of contentment? I always thought that most people's lists are long and varied. There are the basics, there are the unusual pleasant surprises, there are the planned events and then of course all those little moments of beauty, peace, tranquility. So lots, no?

Ed, however, claims that his list is short. And he firmly disavows my suggestions that certain tasks that he has undertaken and which he pursues with dedication and hard work are sources of great joy. On the other hand, spending time together laughing at a clip of a late night monologue -- that pretty much tops his list. That, or working side by side on a beautiful day on some farmette project. And, he adds sheepishly last night, playing with me and Snowdrop.

People like that are rare, I think. Sure, many of us would say that spending time with loved ones or good friends are up there, but they're closely followed by other pursuits: reading, traveling, eating chocolate. Dancing, painting, baking, growing flowers. Work accomplishments. Success. Mastering the piano. Collecting antiques. Fishing. Perhaps not all these make your list, but some surely do?

I have always admired Ed's very modest approach to life and it is absolutely the case that I have simplified every aspect of my day as a result of spending time with him. And yes, what tops his list tops mine too. And still, I am the restless one. Despite Ed's reluctance to travel, I still get a thrill stepping off an airplane at some destination that I've come to love. Buying summer dresses for Snowdrop, grabbing a drink with my daughters and their beloveds, swimming at Franqui beach -- these things cling stubbornly to my list of happy moments.

Still, the more exotic stuff doesn't happen every day and I am so on board with the idea that the things around us are what gives us both copious amounts of happiness.

(I offer you a photo from last evening, taken just a few hours before we meandered toward the subject of happiness; the sun came in through the western kitchen window as it always does in the warmer months, the flowers positively danced, the little blue vase once purchased in Istanbul glowed and I smiled a genuine big smile of contentment.)

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This morning, as predicted, is both cool and gray. The cheepers come early toward the farmhouse, perhaps looking for the little girl who was so willing to give them a ride in the cart.

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As I prepare breakfast, I see that Trumpian real estate mogul in my day lily bed. Our resident groundhog has condos and vacation homes all over the farmette! Why can't he leave my flowers alone?!

As he scurries into his newly dug palace, I ask Ed if I would harm him if I shoveled some dirt on top.
Yep, he'll die laughing at you! -- Ed answers.

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We have breakfast in the sun room just because it's brighter there, even if the sun stays behind clouds.

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The morning -- the first one without appointments or must-do chores in  many a week -- flies. We linger too long over the morning meal and we continue to talk about work and play and all such stuff and before long it's time for me to go and pick up Snowdrop.

But first, a stop at the bakery. Here we go: her favorite snack waits for her.

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Snowdrop, of course, is both predictable and unpredictable. Yes, she eats her favorites, but seeing Ed munch on a bunch of cheddar bunnies brings out the longing for that which is his. (Snowdrop is thrilled if you give her some of your food to try. Plateful of snails? Great! Yum! Can I have another?!)

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Cheddar bunnies. A new pleasure.

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Snowdrop, of course, finds great pleasure and true joy in very simple everyday stuff. Ed comments -- of course she is happy! Two people are dancing polka with her and offering her a box of cheddar bunnies! 

Yep. The basic requirements for true joy.

(Can you touch the ceiling? Almost!)

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(Watching polka dancers.)

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A funny TV moment watched together, a shovelful of dirt, youtube polka and cheddar bunnies. Yep: happiness.

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