Small Happiness

The happiness you seek can be found all around you —even in a plate of soybeans.

| Spring 2016

  • Soybeans
    This morning I took a container of cooked soybeans from the freezer and placed it on the deck behind my house to thaw in the sun. Twenty minutes later, passing the soybeans, I noticed that they resembled an abstract painting from 1962—a series of beige ovals trapped in white ice.
    Photo by Flickr/UnitedSoybean
  • Tall Tree
    You must learn to build a wall around your small happiness.
    Photo by Flickr/Joonas Tikkanen

  • Soybeans
  • Tall Tree

Happiness starts small; learn to recognize it. It’s like a weed we see every day but cannot identify.

Small happiness is generous. If you win $12 million, you’ll hide it from your friends, but if you’re given a free pizza, you’ll share it with everyone.

If you want big happiness, take drugs. If you want small happiness, wake up early. At 6 a.m. the world hasn’t had time to make trouble. The birds tentatively sing. The sun tentatively rises in the sky. The day starts small.

When you get tested at a doctor’s office, the results may be a “false negative”: the test might say you don’t have Lyme disease, when actually you do.

If you believe your life is tragic, pointless, and wasted, remember: your “test” may also be inaccurate. Beware the philosophical false negative!

Last night I sat on the sofa during a thunderstorm, flossing my teeth. Every minute or two lightning would flash, and through the glass door in the kitchen I could see the backyard brilliantly lit. The bushes and trees were illuminated as bright as afternoon, but with an eerie light, cold and white. It was like a horror movie without characters.

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