A short thought on happy

I wish…

It is said that any given night if you look up into the dark long enough you will see a shooting star.  Being a creature of habit it is rare I am out, I must fear turning into a pumpkin as I have often tucked myself away indoors by nightfall.  When I do find myself outside though I always stare up.  The wonder of those millions, billions of stars, distant galaxies, things we don’t know, things we think we do, never fail to make me stay a little longer.  Starry night

No surprise then that many of my makes reference pieces of the night or creatures awake and stargazing.

I see a distant trail of light so faint, passing so quickly, barely there in the blackness, more like an echo.  It must be far, further than the other stars to appear more like a memory of itself I think.  I am prone to seeing the trails of shooting stars.  To know if it comes from what I thought was there, a trick, or was it really there.  I wonder whether it really matters, either way, I am only fooling myself.

Bird and birch from the side
Bird navigating the stars

I used to wish ‘to be happy’.  For many years I wished singly ‘to be happy’, on blowing out birthday candles, pennies thrown in wells, on the tracks of imagined shooting stars.


“The earliest stories of candles and cakes are linked to the ancient Greeks. Once a month, they would celebrate the birth of Artemis, goddess of the moon by making round cakes. Lit candles would be placed on the cake to represent a glowing moon and their smoke would carry wishes and prayers to the sky-dwelling gods.”

(From The cake Filled History of the Birthday candle)

I want.

In my twenties, I was walking into a place of work, when I worked among people.  The smokers would all walk through the back door packing into the staff car park. I joined a circle, us all little human chimneys,  “why are you always so happy?” one person demanded. It stung at the time. I smiled, shrugged my shoulders as a response, thought my wish must have come true and wondered if I should tell them that they could also wish ‘to be happy’.  Be careful though…

In my thirties I had a sort of epiphany.  It seemed silly thing to wish for this thing, to smile beatifically if at any time the world could crumble about your ears.  I stopped wishing to be happy and became more specific.  I wish to be successful in this thing and that, I wish this thing to go my way, I wish that wouldn’t happen and I wish that would.

I’m where?

I’m in my forties now and was stood outside recently, leaning into the dark, watching, waiting.  The moon a slither, the sky so full of stars they looked as if they might flow over rim of the black bowl that held them and trickle down the sides. There, quick and gone was a ffffffffffph – the sound I imagine a shooting star makes.  

I thought about happy then.  What is ‘happy’?  It means content.  To be content. To find contentment.  I am not sure that means you have to have a smile plastered on your face at all times, I like it more now.    


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