A classmate in college wrote a book while a student. I was quite impressed, since I did my best to avoid courses where even term papers were required. I haven’t kept up with him, but the first line of his book stayed with me, “Times are hard, but then times are always hard.” It had a Dickensian ring to it, and also the air of truth. Times are, indeed, always hard in some way or another.
Too often, when I set out to write, my subject is a reflection on troubles. There are many to choose from, but fortunately, they are not all there is to life. Beauty, hope, and even joy can be found beyond the shrill drone of cable news, the daily commute, and the many things that occupy more space and time in our lives than they deserve.
Yesterday, a grandchild came to visit for a time. He learned to use scissors (sorry Mom) and shared the joys of dinosaurs, stencils and eating sprinkles off the sides of a pop cycle. This morning the neighbors’ child proudly announced, as he bounced to the car, that today was his first day of Pre K.
For our own part, we have added a new puppy to our home. She is a Golden Doodle mix, which makes her a Goodle, Google, Pootriever, or just simply cute. At eight weeks and three pounds, she has quickly become the center of attention and activity. She may believe her name is No!, Stop That!, Not Again!, or Trouble (as in here comes…), but her curious innocence usually carries the day for her.
At rest, when not in someone’s lap, she sleeps on our now-older dog’s tail. The elder was a bit at sea after her sister died some months ago. She seems to appreciate the new company and even keeps a motherly watch over her a bit. It is a testament to the unique evolution of dogs that they can adapt almost instantly to a new household, carving a place for themselves and achieving acceptance by innate skills that humans often lack. Dogs even house train more quickly than children, though this particular dog hasn’t caught on quite yet.
Happiness is hard to define and often too brief to notice. When it is there, you don’t stop to recognize, much less reflect, on it. You can see it in others and share in their moment. A puppy lives in an almost constant state of happiness, and as with happy others, it is contagious. Something to think about.
The times are whatever they are, but Charles Schultz captured the word best when wrote, “Happiness is a warm puppy.”