Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Three short quotes

This is not really a gardening post. I don’t feel like writing only about gardening right now, now that I’ve gotten in the habit of posting my day to day thoughts. (There’s vacation for you, always screwing up your complacent routines.) What I feel like posting about today is an odd summary of things:

1. Marriage. Just saw this quote on the FAQ for Dooce’s blog, which I’m addicted to:

I used to use a Nikon Coolpix 990 to take all of my photographs. It’s a few years old, and it’s something I inherited when I married my husband. When you get married you should make sure that the person you’re about to swear your life to comes with great gear. In addition to the camera I inherited a really big flat screen TV, some lamps, a big area rug...

Just kind of made me laugh because I’ve been thinking lately about stuff like this. I’ve been realizing lately how deeply I hit the jackpot on the husband front. Not only did I get a great, funny, kind man who not only wanted to get married but seemingly loves being married now that we are, I got one who is completely enthusiastic and welcoming about the idea of my parents moving to Seattle. His in laws. Living in the same town with him. Somehow this does not fill him with the fear that it would most stereotypical married men – he invited them himself, and meant it. How, how, how did I get so lucky?

He also came with good gear, as Deuce says above. Mainly a nice little craftsman house, room to garden, and a clawfoot tub. And he did buy a nice camera shortly thereafter that I probably use more than he does. But all that’s just frosting.


2. A quote and a phrase that have been on my mind lately – ran across this little bit in a book a few days ago, and it was one of those things that leapt off the page in recognition. Colin Wilson, in another of my husband’s crazy conspiracy books (I’m temporarily obsessed), was talking about his early enlightenment into the fact that the world was broader than he thought it was, and about how that shook him up:

”Even so, periods of intense depression were interrupted by flashes of feeling I called – after a phrase of G.K. Chesterton – “absurd good news”. It often happened early on a summer morning, when I set out on a long cycle ride, with a bag of sandwiches and a bottle of lemonade in a knapsack: the feeling that the world was infinitely rich, and that the problem lay [elsewhere]…”

I love this label for an emotion I very frequently experience: “absurd good news.” This happens to me all the time – I’ll be in the midst of a perfectly ordinary day and I have a moment of such intense joy and overall well-being that I can hardly stop myself from turning a cartwheel. (In fact, I’m not now nor have I ever been able to turn a cartwheel, which is what actually does stop me.) Sometimes there’s a definite cause for it, and sometimes there isn’t, but either way I love the feeling.

Happened today at work – there I was doing my job, like normal, having meetings, talking with people, not particularly having a great or even a good day, but not having a bad one either -- and I walked to the bathroom and suddenly realized I was smiling so big that my face was about to crack and just feeling so incredibly… happy. Just for that one thirty second moment, when my mind was wandering, before I noticed. And believe me, I don’t love my job anywhere near enough for that to explain it.

Am I manic depressive? No, no. I certainly don’t have the opposite crashes into depression, and I don’t really have all the accoutrements of a manic phase either - no massive bursts of energy or productivity, no fast talking or suspiciously sped up movements. It’s just a quick and blinding happiness, an overwhelming sense of good will that comes over me and then goes. Certain folks I know would call it grace. I don’t really have a label for it. But it’s nice to have these little peak experiences in my life on a semi-frequent basis. From now on, I’m going to shamelessly use Mr. Wilson’s label for it.

Husband: ”What are you so happy about?”
Me: “Oh, nothing, just another moment of Absurd Good News.”


3. Which brings me to another related quote, a favorite of mine that I’ve had hanging over my desk for five or six years now. This also sums up something quite fundamental in my experience of the world:

    “Happiness lies in small things, passing experiences, accidental encounters, and yes, I think that some people have it in their nature to walk out the door in the morning and, even though beset by deadlines and anxieties, take a certain exhilaration from the dew on the grass, birdsong, a dog going about his dog business, the herd of children waiting patiently for the school bus, the aroma of sod. And other people, even in the flush of success and ease and booming good health, brood over old resentments and anticipate disaster.”
    - Garrison Keillor

    A tip of the hat to Mr. Keillor, who as usual puts everything simply, perfectly, beautifully. I wish I could write like this – such grace and clarity, and such spareness.

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