Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What Is Happiness?

Someone on one of my literary boards posted the question, what makes you happy? That got me to thinking: what does make me happy?

There are the usual things, like my husband, my children and my grandchildren, but there are other, more subtle, things, too. My Corgi, Dylan, for example. He is the most loving puppy we've ever had, and by far the smartest of all our smart dogs. He figures things out for himself, and generally stays one step ahead of us. What makes me happy about him, though, is when he sits in front of me and "talks." Little sounds low in his throat that mean, 'can I sit in your lap?' or 'will you take me out for a walk?' It makes me happy to see how others respond to him, and how they will say "Oh what a well-behaved puppy he is."

It makes me happy to see the myriad of hummingbirds who flock to the feeders in front of my study window, and who fight each other to see who is going to feed first. One, in particular, always has to have the same feeder tube, no matter who else is there. Their brilliance is breathtaking, and it is amazing that their tiny bodies, which appear so fragile, have the strength to take them hundreds of miles in migration.

I live on the Central Coast of California, and being close to the ocean means we have breathtaking sunsets. It makes me happy to see the many colors of the sky as the sun begins its journey to a different part of the world. It makes me laugh to point out to my husband the pink clouds that are so often in our sky, because he used to say there was no such thing as a 'pink cloud!'

I love the rain, and it makes me happy to feel the cool gentleness of rain upon my face. I rode many miles in the rain when we had our ranch, and although my horses weren't always so happy about it, it was always one of the highlights of the season for me.

It makes me happy to pick up my brush and watch the paint come to life on my canvas as a seascape, a landscape, or one of the many animals of the African woodlands that I love so dearly.

It makes me happy to write: to see an image in my head become a character as real to me as one of my children; to be able to create a life, a family, friends and enemies for that character; and to be able to put that character into a sometimes untenable situation and yet find totally believable ways for her to extract herself, and grow emotionally and spiritually in the process.

These are some of the things that make me happy. What are yours?

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