Snatching at Happiness

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People have to snatch at happiness when they can, in this world. It is always easier to lose than to find . . . “

Willa Cather, O Pioneers!

Some memories are realities and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.

Willa Cather, My Ántonìa

Good Day, friends.  My blog has been quiet for several days. I left St. Louis last Monday, and drove all afternoon and into the night, arriving at my Texas home with 90-degree temperatures indoors.  Yeah.  The third time in a decade I’ve returned from a vacation to discover a central air conditioning unit on the fritz. The good thing about a home maintenance contract is the cost of only a service call.  The bad things include waiting (this time four days and counting) for a contractor to arrive, who frequently puts a band-aid on the unit rather than replacing it. So I’ve spent this entire week in air conditioned businesses by day and hotels or dear friends’ homes by night. Hence not much to express on the blog.

But I came across these Willa Cather quotes this morning while reading from a novel I just purchased, a piece of the world. The narrative explores the life of Christina Olson, the forlorn subject of Andrew Wyeth’s iconic painting Christina’s World. Since high school, I have known this workand brooded over its layers of possible interpretation. In this engaging literary, piece, Christina muses over these quotes, and my heart was stirred as I recorded them in my journal and pondered their messages.

I won’t pretend to understand the notion of happiness, and have always wondered whether or not I myself could be regarded as a “happy” individual. Frankly, I’ve considered myself serious and (most of the time) contented. But happy?  I’m not sure. Throughout my life I have known multitudes of friends who exude a happy exterior that I feel I have never projected. During several occasions of my classroom encounters, when the subject was raised, I would muse aloud whether or not happiness was overrated.

Already, I feel that I am rambling, but I want to get this out: I have known countless moments of unspeakable happiness in my life. But the bursts of happiness were always ephemeral, and I always had to cope with the moments that were low or just benign. But I’ve never complained that life was overall unhappy. I guess what I am saying is that I agree with the first quote–happiness is easier lost than found. And oftentimes I feel that happiness finds me, surprises me, visits me, rather than claim that I successfully found it.

As to the second quote, I offer a resounding Yes. My memories are among my greatest sources of happiness. My life has been abundantly blessed with a myriad of memories that will never evaporate. And the memories are always there for the recall.  Unlike happiness that I find at will, the memories I can indeed call up anytime I need them.

Thanks for reading. I just wanted to get this off my chest, while I flit from place to place, seeking an air-conditioned environment!


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