Friday, May 15, 2009

Happiness is...

I had a conversation with a friend the other day about different perceptions of happiness. My happinesses are a bit strange to some, and they come in small bursts, several times each day. There are also unhappy moments in my days, but I realize that when I choose to photograph something, most of the time, it is because it in some way gives me that little surge of a kind of joyful energy that isn't very easy to describe. I have known people who never, or at least very rarely, appear to be happy. My sister and I once talked about that and came to the conclusion that some people enjoy their unhappy state. Maybe that is their happiness.

Here are a few of my happy moments from the past couple of days. I realize this is a very Pollyannaish post, but hope I'll be forgiven. If anyone reads this and has time to describe or show a few of their happinesses (or even one) in their own blog, or in comments to this one, that would be great.

I was looking over the river by my school, when a dog suddenly raced down the little bank, flew into the water, and began swimming.
A young fellow came along, looking for his dog. The dog heard him call, and turned to come out of the water. The fellow then saw his dog, and told him it was okay. It could go back in the water.
My pictures caught some of the dog's energy.These flowers are in front of the building where I live. As we walked by on Thursday evening, the sun shone directly on them. Bill held Black Jack and encouraged me to take photos.
We went to the rabbit bushes at Jericho, and I've never seen so many little ones. Again, Bill held Black Jack while I snapped away. The sun was shining and the birds were singing. The rabbits seemed very content.
These two rabbits were chasing each other around and around at great speeds. I think they were playing.  Bill and I saw them again on Friday evening when we had supper at the sailing club.  I forgot my camera!  Can you believe it?  But, there was beautiful light over the water as the sun went down. This little white one came running out of the thickets.
This one seemed to be enjoying the sun.
Bill and I wondered about the rabbits' diet, and what they eat when people don't bring veggies.  This fellow stood up and answered our question.
The light over the pond was magnificent.
On the way back to my apartment, we passed these flowers.  I can't remember if I mentioned this, but I have lived before in the building I am presently living in.  It was when I first moved to Vancouver, about ten years ago.  I had Scott at that time, and we used to walk down to Jericho every morning.  I always loved this corner because of the colorful flowers.  On Thursday, I took pictures of the same bushes I had admired and photographed years ago.
I was having trouble catching the brilliance of the colors, and Bill suggested I try from another angle.
Bill remarked on these trees, just around the corner from the bushes. 
Bill has been coming over every afternoon to take Black Jack for long walks.  The last couple of days, he has taken pictures, added captions, and sent them in e-mails.
"What are you looking at?"
"Ok, maybe 10 lamps and 2 coffee tables." (referring to how we could use that log)
"Oh no, he's gonna stick me on a log again." (Black Jack's thoughts.)
(That log has been around for at least the 10 years I've been in Vancouver.  I also took pictures of it when I first moved here.)
"I spy with my little eye."
"Everybody, get in a straight row for that guy with the camera."  
Bill pointed out the baby geese for me.  His pictures are in small format, so clicking won't enlarge them. 
Finally, this last picture was taken a couple of weeks ago.  I have already posted about this walk, and the seagull eating the chicken neck.  That night, the sunset was spectacular, the seagulls were flying in and out of camera range, and I was on a high trying to capture them.  I didn't get any great photos, but I sure had a lot of fun trying.  Bill was holding Black Jack, and encouraging me to take as many pictures as I wanted.  Two young girls were watching us, and asked if they could take our picture.  I include this because it was a happy moment, but also so Phyllis can see a picture of her handsome brother.


  1. Happiness is reading Carol's blog and seeing pictures of bunnies, geese and goslings, Black Jack, Carol and my favourite and only brother!! I think little moments of joy add up to the larger idea of contentment which for me is a more powerful feeling than happiness! I am content that the sun is shining, that I have just met some wonderful students at the National Science Fair and that I will see one of my best friends this afternoon. Adding to the contentment is responding to this wonderful blog. Phyllis

  2. Happiness is an elusive concept, often appreciated after the fact. When it occurs you are too busy enjoying the moment and have no time for abstract concepts. Walking through Jericho Park is cause for happiness and the Sailing Club Pub is one of the reasons. Add a wild Salmon Burger to the views of mountains, ocean and wildlife and you have bliss.

  3. Goslings! That's the word I wanted:) Thanks for that, and also for the kind thoughts, Phyllis. You sure spread a lot of happiness yourself. I appreciated your comment; it made me think a bit about the subtle differences between contentment and happiness.

    Thanks for the comment, Bill:) It made me realize that thinking too much about happiness probably drains a bit of the spontaneity. I do have flashes, though, right in the midst of the action, when there is tangible awareness of contentment. One was as the ducks flew in and scrounged for food right along with the rabbits, Black Jack was cuddled in your arms, the sun was casting a golden light, and I heard birdsong in the surrounding bushes.

  4. I've been thinking about this blog entry for a couple of days now, because coincidentally, I first read it just after sending an email response to a friend who had asked me "Are you happy?".
    Like you, my happiness is experienced as moments of intense joy deep within my core, joy that brings a smile of pleasure to my face even when I am by myself grinning like a fool. Most often, it is at a sight or sound in nature or at an action of one or more of the dogs.
    Most of the rest of the time, I am content. Contentment is the "at peace with the world" feeling that I have, the satisfaction of making the right choices for myself, whether it is a momentary choice like fixing a healthy meal, or a life-changing choice like retiring and moving. I am content...and that contentment is sprinkled with much happiness.

  5. Carol you said: 'My sister and I once talked about that and came to the conclusion that some people enjoy their unhappy state. Maybe that is their happiness.; - you are so so right on this one, I met many people like that too, make big problems out of nothing. Carol this is such a nice refreshing post, I reall enjoyed reading it, and btw love your all photos, and especially the bunnies. Thanks for sharing. Anna :) Oh, almost forgot, now days everything makes me happy, life is too short for not to enjoy it!