Monday, June 14, 2004
I choose happiness
How can anyone be sad when there is such beauty in the world?
My little sister emailed with such feelings of sadness and pain that it hurt to read her words. I know she is having a very rough time just getting back to work and into the swing of things and she is unhappy with her life and the rest of the world. I know how that feels, how you feel there is nothing but clouds and rain and pain in your future and it will never end. No homily or bromide, like "tomorrow's another day" or "things will get better" or "time heals all wounds" and such, is going to help. Of course tomorrow's another day. What would it be? Another month? Another week? Another yesterday? Things do get better but they also get worse. And time doesn't heal ALL wounds. Sometimes the wounds get worse and never heal or you die. How's that for reality?
Pain is inevitable. It is inherent in the process of living. So we have to hang on, with our fingernails and teeth if necessary, to every bit of happiness we can find. Pain only lasts as long as you give it space in your mind. Drugs don't help; they just postpone the pain and make it worse when the drugs aren't available any more, adding the pain of withdrawal. Using drugs is like wearing thick socks and heavy shoes to protect your feet and then taking them off and walking over gravel or thorns. If you're not used to it, you're going to be in pain until the calluses form and protect your feet. Why do you think they call it tender foot?
Someone once told me love is a choice. I believe happiness is a choice. Like today, for instance.
I drove down to the post office to mail my DVDs back to Netflix and pick up my mail. The sky was clear and blue and in the distance between the trees the mountains were frosted with snow. The scene was perfect. On the side of the road a doe grazed sweet green shoots and watched me drive by and stop. She grazed on, pricking her ears from time to time, and moving into the shadow of a bush when I didn't move on. A little red fox raced across the road and slipped into the shadows of a low bush. Gary Puckett sang to me and I sang along as I drove. A breeze tickled the loose hairs around my neck and ears and the sun was warm on my skin. Yellow and white flowers spread along the side of the road and aspen tree leaves, lime green now, shook as I drove by. On the way back home, heavy cotton puffs clumped above me, piling up and turning gray, but were unable to cover the sun for long or block out the deep blue of the sky. A foaming surf of cloud horses race toward the blue shores, mares' tails whipping in a wind I cannot feel high above me. Hummingbirds greeted me when I got out of the car and butterflies of all colors flit floated on an errant breeze. The ground glitters with sun struck bits of gold, fool's gold, and the air is warm and redolent of the deep musky scent of pine trees almost ready to let fly with their green pollen.
Inside, the laundry is ready to go into the dryer and it smells clean and fresh. A bunch of yarrow and some yellow lupine-looking sprig go into water in a window to root and another bigger bunch of bright white yarrow with its tiny yellow centers are banded and hung upside down in the bedroom closet to dry and scent the air. On the deck, hummingbirds scold and dog fight, spiraling up into the sky until they are pin point specks of black. At the top of their flight, they jackknife back down to the earth whirring so close I can feel the breath of their blurring wings. I chitter at them and they gather closer, racing in for a quick sip and then back out again, whizzing and whirring by me in all sides like bees around a busy hive. Little white topped weeds straggle along the rocky ground beneath the deck and butterflies dance on the breeze. And I'm happy.
Music greets me inside and there is work to be done, but I can focus happily because I know all this beauty will await me when I am ready to look up and greet it again.
I don't have a lot of money and it will be weeks before I have any more. I don't know where the money will come from, but it doesn't matter; it will come. It doesn't matter when or from where because at this moment I am happy and at peace. I have a wonderful, if spartan, life and I have everything I need. When I need more it will be here.
For today, for this moment, I choose to be happy.