The Gentleness of Contentment

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It tiptoes in so lightly you hardly notice it. Not if you’re accustomed to gyrating mosh pits and rock stars screaming into sound systems that boom through stadiums. Not even if you’ve simply learned to read a paperback novel over friends shouting about Jane’s breakup across city streets or have learned to carry on conversations around the shimmering din of sirens or to fall asleep to the night-long rumble of highway traffic.

Happiness is so quiet we can hardly hear it anymore. Is it really that we Americans are a happiness-obsessed society? Or is it that the fabric of our lives isn’t cotton anymore so much as noise? And that through this heavy curtain of noise, we can no longer detect happiness when it arrives?

Are we happiness-obsessed because we worry we’ll never be happy again?

I just spent two hours on a bench beside the man I love. Sometimes we talked about technology and art and novelty. But sometimes we just sat in companionable silence and watched a great blue heron hunt through a shallow backwater at low tide. And I realized this was happiness. Full. Complete.

And utterly quiet.

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