After my four mile speed run/walk, I’m sitting on the front porch cooling down, enjoying the high I generally feel after the exertion stops. Something pops into my head and I note that it’s a thought I’ve had kicking around for a while now. What, I ask myself, would constitute the moment of peace and happiness I crave? Usually my mind wanders, coincidentally now, to a front porch, but at a time in my childhood, in the cool shade, with a collection of small toy airplanes or cars or even just some marbles or bottle caps, my imagination fully engaged, my head most likely just propped up on one hand as I lay there “seeing” the planes take off and fly, land, crash, or the cars wind along roads and streets, the bottle caps magic shoes on my index and middle fingers…
But it would be difficult to recapture that kind of moment. I’m a little afraid to try, too, although I guess if I could arrange a time, all alone, secure that nobody might observe me, maybe I could do it. No, I’m looking for an equivalent, not a revisiting. My youth is gone, and playing with little toys is probably not going to do it for me anyway. So I think about camping trips, riding my motorcycle, listening to music, taking a vacation to someplace. It occurs to me that happiness (in that sense of a moment, not some indefinable general happiness) might involve some situation I don’t experience – wealth, for example. Then I realize I could do just about anything I can imagine that a wealthy person could do. I could ride on a yacht, travel anywhere in the world that I might want to, wear expensive clothes, live in a mansion – although any of those things would just be momentary, of course. But would any of them make me happy? I decide that none of those things are necessary. I’m happy right here, sitting on the porch. Still, there is an elusive vision of something, some moment, that I’d like to identify, create, and enjoy.
One such vision I have long identified. It consists of my sitting under a shade tree on a summer day, drinking a bottle of Coke, reading a Donald Duck comic book. With Phoebe’s help (she bought me the comic book) I created this moment last year. It was pleasant, I was happy, but it did not create the magic it was supposed to. Nothing would, I suppose. I think what I’m after only occurs in those happy dreams from which one can awaken with a big stretch and broad smile.