Monday, July 21, 2008

Happiness is...

Whether I am happy is a question I rarely ask myself. It's not hard to know I have happy moments, can readily remember many of them, but am I in general a happy person? That's where I am less sure. I think throughout my life, I haven't thought about it much until something comes along like this article from Huffington Post: Happiness is a Choice. I read it, contemplated the ideas, and asked myself am I happy?

If I wasn't happy, would that be a clue for why I don't ask more frequently, or do even happy people rarely contemplate whether they are happy? It's not hard to find moments in a lifetime where everything seems to be flowing like a bubbling brook and you know, yes, I am so happy; but what about the less than flowing moments?

When I look at the political world right now, I find a lot to be unhappy about. First it is not guaranteed that the person I want for president (Barack Obama) will actually win. For that matter there are those who still hope to deny him the nomination. As for whether my favoring someone is a good omen... it's not. I rarely have voted for a winner.

Losing side though I might have been on, I have had to suffer along with all the 'winners' when the leaders do things like go against all the ethics we thought we believed in and torture [read Christopher Hitchens in Vanity Fair: Believe me, It's torture]; like fall into one economic disaster after another [read Frank Rich in New York Times: It's the Economic Stupidity, Stupid]; like fight a war with people who had nothing to do with the attack we experienced (while ignoring those who did. This would be like attacking China for Pearl Harbor); like ignore any possibility of dealing with global climate change until it will be too late (not to mention the funds available for such have already been spent); like... Well, heck, who could be happy when they think about things like these and so many more; plus my mini list hasn't even touched on the world problems?

Then there is the other side of the coin if the person you want to win, does win. Sounds like that would be the answer to all problems. Wahoo we elected him, now it's his job!

Given the problems we are facing today, we are the solution-- or there won't be one. It's not just getting Obama elected, because once he gets in, the work will have just begun. There is not going to be time to sit back and feel good or to hope someone will take care of it all for us. They won't. No matter who they are, they can't. This is what Obama has been trying to say over and over, but a lot of people still don't get it. He's not a messiah. He's a leader who is good at organizing people and inspiring them. We have to work to make this country turn around and to solve these problems. Does that thought make anyone happy?

The hummingbird pictures were all taken by Farm Boss Saturday evening while he was letting his dinner digest and before he went back out to get more hay, came back with a trailer load that broke apart as he turned onto our gravel road causing three large, round bales to roll off the back. That necessitated a quick run to the barns to get the backhoe and back out he went to scoop two bales off the highway before someone hit them; then push the broken bale into the pasture (most of it) for the cows to get an early, unexpected treat.

Farm Boss was likely happy taking the pictures of the hummingbird, but not sure he had time to think about whether he was happy while getting the hay off the road. There was definitely no time to figure out who was to blame for it happening. That wouldn't make anybody happier.

So where is all this going? Well, I don't think we ever can be happier for ignoring broken bales in the highway even if we wish we could make them go away by not seeing them. We sure aren't happier while cleaning them up, and there is risk attached when it's on a public highway as this was. Overall though maybe it's only through such moments that we do find happiness (well at least relief). This is true for our personal problems, local ones, federal, and worldwide.

As for the hummingbird, those series of photos are so beautiful for how they start with outlines of the bird as it hovered and sipped, then the colors grew and so did the detail rather like how it is for us as we gradually see things more clearly in our lives. The bird stayed with the task until it had finished. Perhaps it knew no other way.

Hummingbirds bring such joy to watch. There is not much more satisfying in the bird world than their whizzing wings, their dive bomb flying, their snipping at us if we are in their way, their zipping from sweetness to sweetness. Do they feel joy in what they do, or just give it?

I printed off the article, 'Happiness is a Choice' because it's something of which I need to remind myself more than today.

(All hummingbird and tractor photos taken with Canon Rebel using 400mm stabilized telephoto. The one alongside here was with EFS 18-55mm lens and taken for those who don't live in the country and have no idea how difficult it would be to remove bales this size from the highway. Click on any image to enlarge.)

6 comments:

Sylvia K said...

As always, Rain, what you have to say is so relevant and you say it so beautifully! I was looking forward to your blog this morning since you had told me you were working on it yesterday. It was worth the wait.

drsowest said...

Very well thought out and written.

I think that you touched on a very key point to happiness.

"There was definitely no time to figure out who was to blame for it happening. That wouldn't make anybody happier."

When something happens that (at the time) seems like a calamity, the best thing to do is correct the problem, not sit around and figure out who to blame. That does not get anything accomplished.

I firmly believe that happiness is a choice and write about that at http://happynessisachoice.com.

Thanks
Dave

Parapluie said...

I had a fortune cookie that siad, "There is no way a person can be happy without thinking of themselves as being happy."
Sorry about the hay bail accident. I supoose no matter what trailer you have, bails the size of yours could start rolling.

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

I definitely believe that happiness is choice. A Course in Miracles asks, "Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?"

My nephew once asked me, about 10 years after I was divorced, "Would you say that you are happy?" That's a really loaded question. Happy almost seems giddy to me and I'm not a giddy kind of person unless I'm drinking, which I rarely do anymore. What I replied was, "Ted, I would say that I am contented."

I love your photos taken by the Farm Boss and of you by the hay bales.

As for the politics, I agree with everything you say, but giving money is the only way I've made a difference. I donated $500 to the Obama campaign, and for this frugal woman, that was a very big deal.

Dick said...

As usual I find your writing to be good, as are the photos. What is the reason farming has gone to those large rolls of hay rather than the older traditional rectangular bales? They were hand manageable while I's think those large rolls would have to be handled by machinery. And I often see those rolls wrapped in what looks like plastic. I'd think moisture inside those rolls would be a problem.

Rain said...

Thanks everyone for the comments.

Dick, the round bales save a lot of time and generally cost less than individual ones. Last winter we were feeding 30 cattle which was too many for this place, but even cutting it back, there are 15 out there. An 80 lb. bale of hay doesn't last long. The big round ones (these average around 800 lbs. go into round bale feeders and it does definitely take a tractor but we already had that. I enjoy feeding sometimes by the bale but it is more of a fun thing than a real way to feed them once winter sets in and the grass loses its value.