They Are Who We Thought They Were

An hour ago, my husband was in our den, sitting on the floor inside a brand-new Fun-series Jackson Kayak.  On the floor, in his kayak, with his paddle, practicing his bracing.




And he couldn't have been more excited.  He was over-the-moon, more-than-a-clam, teenager-in-love happy.

Why is it that things make us feel good?  Even as I write it, I have this instinctual desire to turn up my nose at the idea that a kayak could spark inner cheer.  I want to make some qualifying statement, like

"it only seems like happiness",

or, spoken like a true New Englander,

"material things will always let us down".

Don't you feel it?  We're fixed in a mantra that trains us to overlook the little things.  We don't even take a proper moment to revel in the small delights that are easy to come by, simply because they are just as easy for us to lose.  

Yes, you're right - a fresh flower bouquet is sort of already dead.  
Yes, that glue on the back of your new insurance card will lose it's stickiness after a minute or two.  
Yes, the tiny marshmallows on your hot cocoa will get squishy.

But they're crunchy right now, aren't they?

So come on, admit it - it's possible that this kind of thing can make us happy.  I'm talking about simple satisfaction, high spirits, endorphins -  stuff that makes you laugh and shoot Jello out of your nose (not that I've done that).  I'm not going to give material goods some crazy qualitative value, because hopefully we all know that the better part of life is not actually found in what we see and touch, but is beyond and around it. However, in the day-to-day of walking this earth, there are lots of things that make me sprout a smile:

  • Kiwi, the black cat, who's off licking her hindquarters somewhere
  • Vanilla soft-serve ice cream
  • Daffodils, and imagining the existence of spring somewhere 
  • Large animals with small legs
We went to find this guy ten minutes later and he was gone... but how?
  • Mixing stuff with my hands
  • Nights when it's so dark that you can't even see your arms in front of you
  • Temperatures above 30* F 
  • Wicked awesome cards that my friend Jenn makes

  • Freeze-dried bananas
  • Mud [that I can mix with my hands]

Now, I know what you might be thinking: But M, finding happiness in temporal things can really mess us up, and yeah, you're right.  I totally agree.  Lets each hope that our small delights are the right ones, like puppies and pine trees rather than crack cocaine and cheap gin.  Or Jersey Shore and circus peanuts, for that matter.  If those are your happy things, you should call someone.

Right now.

By this point, C has finished his stint as an indoor kayak dynamo, and is washing a steel pot which held the beef stew we had for dinner.  A fire is crackling in the woodstove, Kiwi has returned to languish on a chair in the corner, and the marshmallows in my hot cocoa are still crunchy.  These are good things.  Temporary, but good.

And I am going to enjoy them.   One happy, crunchy bite at a time.


  1. This is a good one. And yes. I kayaked on the floor. But I wasn't alone. You know who you are.

  2. C I'd have been there...maybe you could have shown me a few moves!


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