From the miscellaneous drawer - Happiness

by Anne Swenson

In early August on a warm evening when Burntside Lake invited admittance to its sparkling waters, some friends embarked on a cruise from the south side of the lake to visit a friend who lives on the far north of the lake. <BR><BR>We dallied first to the east to allow more friends to join us. Then we traveled into bays to see new building sites and marvel at the size of some homes which command views onto secluded bays and rocky islands.<BR><BR>It was a perfect evening where the laughter is comfortable and the conversation relaxes the mind to forget the inanities of working life.<BR><BR>When we arrived at our destination on the North Arm of Burntside we walked through our friends’ gardens and studio, were entertained by music from a neighboring dock, ate good food and talked of art interests we share.<BR><BR>As twilight fell we again departed for home. It seemed most of the boat’s passengers were rapt in the evening’s beauty and the stillness of the water as we creased it. Their thoughts turning again to home and the chores which awaited them there. <BR><BR>It was at that moment that I happened to look at the boat captain’s face. There in the last tinge of twilight I could see the simple happiness on Emily Wahlberg’s face. <BR><BR>Although in past years people who have not known us well have mistaken me for her, Emily’s face is no longer as old as mine. She has survived her bout with a cancer that sought to destroy her. And she has come back with a strength and radiance, tanned by the summer sun, which allows her grasp on life to be shinning and evident.<BR><BR>How lucky you are, I told her, to find this happiness on these waters and she beamed in agreement.<BR><BR>Not long thereafter I happened to be home when RC Roberts came to mow and trim my yard. <BR><BR>As I worked trying to straighten rooms which have been ignored by me for far too long, it was easy to see the yard taking shape under RC’s care. He mowed, trimmed and then tamed the weeds and brush which skirt the property.<BR><BR>As he packed up to leave I went out to thank him for such an amazing job. He told me that if it was possible in this area to mow yards 10 months of the year he would be happy to do so. He so obviously enjoys his work and only wishes he had more customers to allow him to be busy trimming and cutting grass all over the area. <BR><BR>I’ll spread that thought around, I said. <BR><BR>And I marveled to myself that in just a few days I had come into contact with two people who love the work they do. They enable people to be pleased with what might be thought of by others as work.<BR><BR>To these “laborers,” life has created a happiness in which their outlook and acceptance revels. How lucky they are. <BR><BR>For some individuals, happiness is elusive and perceived as rarely attainable. <BR><BR>For the rare few, happiness is contained in work, loving someone or the joy of accomplishing skills. <BR><BR>When we are young contentment with our lot seems acceptable for living, for existing. This unexpected happiness as we age is an unforeseen joy.