Bird Droppings July 21, 2020
Is there a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?
In the course of a few days several storms passed through quickly each a very definitive front literally flying by and all ending with rainbows, or so I have been told. On one occasion a twin rainbow. On the other hand, my sunrises have been off this summer, in part due to clouds and an inability to scramble out and get photos. Sunrises and sunsets are simple things just numerous clouds blocking the sun and offering just an orange or pink band briefly as the sun enters our reality. So, a few brief moments and just enough to illicit a smile. A brief few moments double checking the rainbow end for that pot of gold it doesn’t hurt to hope.
This has been a different sort of summer for me. Pat and I got in about ten days of serious vacation along the South Carolina Coast. Last year I came home and doing some yard work damaged my Achilles tendon. So, I am still recovering getting strength back, but every day is better. I Live in the water in warm weather and the pool has been a great help. I do not recommend damaging Achilles tendons as a fun thing to do. But still all in all it has been a good couple weeks. Yesterday my wife reminded me about a spur of the moment road trip where we ended up in Nantahochee-Rabun gap. We stopped at Billingsly’s nursery which is a favorite stop. Sitting in the valley or gap the mountains are on both sides. It was a beautiful day and great time. I have not made it up to my favorite spot this summer due to the virus and I miss it.
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln
Perhaps in the scheme of things there are people who are inherently grouchy and or by Lincoln’s view they simply want to be grouchy. Sitting here pondering this morning I can recall bumping into many people like this. They are inherently grouchy. Perhaps we should label these folks and simply walk away. As I look deeper into the simple words above, we all can be happier as I think about Lincoln’s thought it is just wanting to be that way.
“Whatever happiness is in the world has arisen from a wish for the welfare of others; whatever misery there is has arisen from indulging selfishness.” Buddhist Proverb
I had not thought of happiness previously as simply as this idea. Happiness is oriented around others and therefore unhappiness more self-oriented. Lately a series of commercials the focus of the ad is cows in various situations of being happy, as the ads portray; happy cows make California cheese or some such thing. One commercial is a cow escapes from Wisconsin and the other cows are watching and one asks the other how long she has been gone and it has been several days and the cow is only a few feet past the fence. Maybe happy cows can’t make limburger cheese?
“True happiness arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one’s self, and in the next, from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions.” Joseph Addison
“Happiness is a sort of action.” Aristotle
Happiness seems to be different for different people for some it is in doing for others, for others it is friendship. As I read this morning I agree with Aristotle it is a word of action.
“The really happy man never laughs — seldom — though he may smile. He does not need to laugh, for laughter, like weeping is a relief of mental tension — and the happy are not over strung.” Prof. F. A. P. Aveling
“Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response.” Mildred Barthal
As I think of students and occasionally there are some who shift from happy to sad I try and make a point of asking them if everything is ok. I can think of one student I don’t even know her name who always looks unhappy, never a smile and often alone and perhaps it is in the aloneness is the unhappiness. When I am out in large shopping venues which I try and avoid, a mall or such many times I will simply observe people while my wife does whatever women do at malls. That really isn’t a sexist statement but I still am trying to figure out what malls are for other than observation projects for doctoral dissertations. I know there are various stores with goods and literally run the gambit of humankind, perhaps it is a social gathering place to meet other people.
“When one is happy there is no time to be fatigued; being happy engrosses the whole attention.” Edward Frederic Benson
“The world’s literature and folklore are full of stories that point out how futile it can be to seek happiness. Rather, happiness is a blessing that comes to you as you go along; a treasure that you incidentally find.” Louis Binstock
It is difficult to explain a way of seeking happiness. Perhaps we cannot truly seek happiness. I recall several months back even in today’s modern age a rainbow was blazing in the sky and people were parked as close to the end as possible looking for the end and who knows a pot of gold. Thinking about happiness I ponder what makes me happy. It could be as simple as laughing in the hallway with students, and fellow teachers. Back in the day my Para pro and I would stand at my door deliberately talking to students. Often students who are quiet and many times alone we would try and single out. One day we might ask if they were lost or looking for a room. We are not good ones for directions we have been known to give wrong directions around school, but we try and laugh with students. We would try and make passing by our door more than just like everyone else’s. We ask about their weekend or who won last night’s softball game or basketball game. We are actively involved and you know what unintentionally we come back in after the bell and we are happy usually laughing pretty good at least smiling ourselves.
“It is the paradox of life that the way to miss pleasure is to seek it first. The very first condition of lasting happiness is that a life should be full of purpose, aiming at something outside self.” Hugo Black
“The truth is that all of us attain the greatest success and happiness possible in this life whenever we use our native capacities to their greatest extent.” Smiley Blanton
“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world. It is having; someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” Allan K. Chalmers
If only all were so simply and yet maybe life is this simply and as we move through what we do and what we hope for and just seem to grow proportionately. Our needs and wants tend to fluctuate around being wanted and our understanding of that. What would it take for me to be happy and content today may be different than forty years ago and forty years from now more different again if I am still around.
“Happiness comes more from loving than being loved; and often when our affection seems wounded it is only our vanity bleeding. To love, and to be hurt often, and to love again — this is the brave and happy life.” J. E. Buckrose
“When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him; and you are torn by the thought of the unhappiness and night you cast, by the mere fact of living, in the hearts you encounter.” Albert Camus
I remember years ago watching the infectious smiles and happiness in a small church in Macon Georgia, The Church of The exceptional. The church founded in 1971 the idea was a place where mentally and physically impaired children and adults could worship together. Many times parents would leave children home and or not go to church. I recall one fellow Mike Porch who would greet everyone as they came in the door. He had a smile ear to ear and would shake your hand like there was no tomorrow and welcome you to his church. Mike had never been to public school, he had Downs Syndrome which in 1971 meant you would never do well in school. He was at that time a student and employee of The Macon Association for Retarded Citizens workshop.
Mike has passed away since that day, but that smile and joy were infectious and many the people were cheered up by Mike as he greeted people joining him for church services.
“Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.” Dale Carnegie
“A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.” Hugh Downs
I was thinking that I was a creature of routine, after a long weekend it is hard to get sorted out and back on track. I am still getting sorted out from a being off from school a few weeks ago. What is funny our dog is out of sync too. After having my son move home sleeping on his bed and me sleeping late she is a bit mixed up. Mine however is not as much routine as missing contact with students and with people. Interacting is where ideas and thinking permeate. When someone thinks different pulling away is not the answer it is immersing in and offering the differences. Who knows what doors may open or windows close?
“There are two ways of being happy: We must either diminish our wants or augment our means — either may do — the result is the same and it is for each man to decide for himself and to do that which happens to be easier.” Benjamin Franklin
As I close for the day leave it to Ben Franklin to have the solution but for today and please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart namaste.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)