What gives happiness?

What gives happiness?

I am sitting quietly in the garden searching for happiness after the late afternoon exercise with the three dogs that have somehow attached themselves to my irrelevance.

I have placed a chair on the stone path from the house to the dog kennel, drawn a 5 litre bottle of cheap Ciociarian white from the refrigerator, and I sit sipping the nectar and dreaming of some great whites of the past. One of the dogs chooses to sit with me and share the feelings, but not the wine.

I look up to the sky and see a gold and orange vapour trail streaming across the mid sky from my right. The aeroplane passes over a brand new moon that is just sitting in a valley between two grey cloud-banks. This ‘valley’ designates the mountain range of clouds spread across the sky. Two bats wing across the scene jerking, swooping and swirling in apparent chaotic flight, bringing me back to the present and the locale.

Allowing my gaze to fall I see in the low distance the cement works of Colleferro damning the vista and behind it the lights coming on in hillside Segni. Closer is the forest of Selva, a prince’s dream that reality nearly destroyed. Just below us and across the valley are the other gardens, mini olive plantations and ‘orto’ of south Paliano. All a deep green and a darkened shade as dusk settles.

I recall the question that haunts me. What gives you happiness?

It comes to me from the depths - a rich and joyous song, “The Blind Ploughman” sung by Feodor Chaliapin, a song that never leaves my being though for some periods it hides deep in my soul. A song that ends:

“God who made the sun to shine on both you and me, God who took away my eyes so that I can see”

Find it and suffer tears of joy. For me the joy of sight is what gives me happiness. It is wordless and wonderful.

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