The Order of the Day
A morning after a week of rain
and the sun shot down through the branches
into the tall, bare windows.
The brindled cat rolled over on his back,
and I could hear you in the kitchen
grinding coffee beans into a powder.
Everything seemed especially vivid
because I knew we were all going to die,
first the cat, then you, then me,
then somewhat later the liquefied sun
was the order I was envisioning.
But then again, you never really know.
The cat had a fiercely healthy look,
his coat so bristling and electric
I wondered what you had been feeding him
and what you had been feeding me
as I turned a corner
and beheld you out there on the sunny deck
lost in exercise, running in place,
knees lifted high, skin glistening—
and that toothy, immortal-looking smile of yours.
~ By Billy Collins, from The Trouble with Poetry.
Copyright Random House, 2005. Reprinted by permission.
I’ve been thinking about happiness lately – how to study it, how to know and appreciate its presence. Happiness is on a different scale here in Thailand; I feel that people are generally happier with less, but I don’t know if this is true. Perhaps happiness is measured according to what is known and not known; for instance, how would one know the feeling of heartbreak without first experiencing love?
Happiness and love. Certainly, they’re different things, but sometimes they feel too closely linked for my heart to take.
I watched this beautiful film the other day, and the short blurb written by the film-maker Kelly O’Brien struck a chord.
“Kids are endlessly curious and ask about how life works, the ineffable mystery of it, all the time. Their questions reflect that time between innocence and experience as they try to figure out who they are in relation to the world around them.
One day the flow of questions will stop, but of course even as adults we’re still searching for the answers.
There is a line from a T. S. Eliot poem that reads: “This is one moment,/But know that another/Shall pierce you with a sudden painful joy.” Seeing the world again through a child’s eyes is full of paradoxical moments of “painful joy.” I wanted this short film to capture that feeling.”
Painful joy. It so beautifully sums up fleeting, albeit thoroughly appreciated, moments of happiness.
Here are a few things I’ve found recently that I hope you’ll love just as much as I did:
- What do you think about body neutrality?
- Love is “What did you have for lunch?“
- Obsessed with Ed Sheeran’s new album, but most especially this song.
- Breaking up is hard to do.
- The impossibility of capturing this comforting smell.
I wish you moments of “sudden joy” this week! Ask some new questions, search for new answers, and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts.