Happiness and a day with rain

by Jennifer on November 16, 2010

If you asked what I think about happiness, I would have to say that it’s never been my natural default setting. That’s probably true for most of us, though I can only speak for myself and say that my hard-wiring and experiences have made it hard to cross the room from shadow to light and to stay there.

Life has its moments of happiness and reaches of time that stand out, overall, as good times, and I’m all for increasing the number and lifespan of those. (Also, I’m fascinated with Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project.)  But happiness is not a constant state that I’ve ever sought to achieve. I need to experience and examine all the shades of things, opaque against light, the middle grays. What’s bright is brighter against what’s dark.

But today was flush with happy moments, and I noticed them all.

The obvious pick for #1.: Meeting Veronica in Occoquan, Virginia for a stroll through town,  a yummy lunch and – best of all – a long chat. She’s gorgeous, interesting, talented and funny – all in such generous measure that you won’t even hold a grudge over her to-die-for curls.

2. Pretty river towns. They get you with all their history and charm, quaint houses and shops. I fall for it every time.

3. The rain. There’s this: I love rainy days, but usually prefer to watch from inside, where it’s warm and I’m folded into a sweater or an afghan. But I didn’t mind walking in the drizzle today – though, admittedly, that may be a tribute to the fantastic company.

4. On the way to meet my daughter at the bus, I crossed a vast bed of yellow leaves. Some lay face down as the rain fell on their pale backs. Moons. But the rest were face up, small suns against the gloom of all that weather, as though they had captured all the day’s light just so they could give it back.

5. This label in one of the shops: “Wood tasting spoon.” Mmm, this one’s maple. What did you get? Told you she was funny.

6. Laughing when we realized that we didn’t even go raunchy with #5. Until we did. Really laughed.

7. Looking back and realizing that I didn’t take photos of any of it. I think, at times, taking pictures can distract from the experience of a moment. Not always, but sometimes. I almost got out my camera when I passed the park with the white gazebo set against a fire of leaves. But then I thought, no. I just stood and took it all in. The pretty gazebo. The pear tree with its dark trunk and branches wet with rain under a parachute of yellow leaves. The river in the background. No photos, but I recorded what I saw – you can be sure of that – and it will stay with me.

8. Wait. I did take one photo, at the Blue Arbor Cafe (Try the BLT.). These may be my favorite bathroom signs.

Bathroom signs - Setters and pointers

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Life in Eden November 16, 2010 at 10:39 pm

It sounds lovely. I often feel that way about my photography. Which seems so strange, but there are time where I really would rather just be fully in the moment.

Jenn @ Juggling Life November 17, 2010 at 2:12 am

I consider myself a happy person–though I qualify a happy person as one who is happier more frequently than they are unhappy. I think having unrealistic standards of how much of the time should be happy makes people unhappy.

Daryl November 17, 2010 at 11:47 am

Grinning .. I am not wired to be happy but I am wired

Veronica aka V-Grrrl November 17, 2010 at 11:59 am

{Blushing. Smiling}

I’m so glad you made time for an outing. Afterwards I thought of all the things we didn’t talk about (writing! songwriting! blogging!), and yes, I’ve smirked over the memory of the wood tasting spoons. (“They seem awfully small. They might need to be longer? Are they up to the task? Do you think they’re hard wood? We need something that lasts.”)

Yes, I carried my camera in my purse and never pulled it out either. Sometimes I feel a camera spoils a moment and doesn’t capture it. It intrudes…

But I did wish for one when I was walking the dog and saw leaves on wet pavement. I love how you described them as sun and moon. Perfect word picture.

Some day I hope to see you in my river town. And maybe I’ll be kicking dust in your desert place. We can hope for that. : )

Jane November 17, 2010 at 12:11 pm

I agree about the taking photos thing. I have family members who view the world through their lenses–and insist we stay put in the moment for the shot…and a backup shot.

flutter November 18, 2010 at 12:19 am

the thought of you smiling does my heart good

Kathryn (@kat1124) November 19, 2010 at 1:27 pm

It’s not my default setting, either, though I am pretty…unstressed about the big things. I think that we overrate happiness. There is no happy without it’s opposite, and everything in between.

I so agree with you on cameras. It’s hard to be fully in the moment and photograph it at the same time.

Loved this post, glad you two got to meet up.

anymommy November 19, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Love it. Finding happiness in small things is a necessary life skill, I think. Those door signs are fantastic.

magpie November 20, 2010 at 4:52 pm

yes – those signs are excellent.

JCK (Motherscribe) November 22, 2010 at 12:30 am

I agree with Jenn. I think somehow we have this expectation now that we are supposed to always be in this state of HAPPY, and if we aren’t there is something wrong. Finding the happiness in your day, as you did here, opens up your heart. And, that’s contagious.

the mama bird diaries November 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Love the sign. So glad you had such a wonderful day.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: