Sunday, December 10, 2017


Look: It’s the star of Bethlehem over the little barn 
with the manger! Actually is sunlight streaming through 
the thin fog over my studio.

The first thing I look at when I wake up is Sheba. Her bed, hijacked now by Fred, is at the foot of mine where I can see it.  When I got up this morning I melted at the sight of Fred and Sheba all curled up together. They are the best of friends and their closeness moves my soul.
It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday. The morning was a challenge, however, because Miss Thing (Sheba) wouldn’t stop whining. So I took some treats in a bag in my pocket and set out with her to walk the trail at the end of the street. She does not like going for walks but she loves treats.
It was very successful. The walk was beautiful and, of course, there was no one else on the trail. For all the loss of blood on my part, for all the poop scooping, patience and understanding, all I want from Sheba is for her to enjoy walking with me. By summer, I’m sure I can get her to like our walks together; she’s still young and we can build up safe walking experiences together through the winter.
I notice the phrase, “here in Paradise,” has disappeared from my posts as I become acclimatized to this place.

I got my outdoor table out of the shed and set it up in my dining room to be a pinecone project workplace. I started cleaning them and laying them out to dry. I keep my house warm and the heat is dry so they should dry quite fairly quickly — but they are dense. It’s awesome to have so much space in my house in which to work.
There are three panels facing the entrance to Pinecone Park. I think I’ll do them all.  It’s wonderful being so excited about a project — especially one that is coming out of my experience here. There are a lot of fence panels so this project can go on as long as I want. But I think three or four will be enough.
Things did not go as I’d originally planned. I built up several shelves of wood and Styrofoam left over from the furniture I bought and I loaded the shelves with cones. But Fred and Ethel destroyed the shelves; an hour’s careful work wound up on the floor. Clearly, my studio has to be a cat-free zone. Now I’m just using the table (see above).
Today will be about turning the cones I put out to dry yesterday and laying out a large batch of new ones. I’ll keep doing this all week. I’m not going to do any work on the fence because the weather is supposed to suck. I’m going to wait for a sunny day and amass a lot of dry cones.
This week, while I mull over the cone design I want for the fence panels, I’ll be busy supporting Darrell during a busy week in the studio. The wood stove and chimney go in and the ceiling and walls get finished so I’ll be removing the offcuts and detritus each evening.
Dr. Shoja asked me if I was happy. She wanted a ‘deep’ answer and so I told her I’d have to get back to her. ‘Deep’ answers don’t come quickly and easily.
Did you know that “the pursuit of happiness” is a fundamental right of every American? It’s defined as such in the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
I think the key word is “pursuit.” The great writers of the D of I recognized, I think, that we never achieve a happy state. They realized that as soon as we get what we want, we want more. These were the minds that created the policy infrastructure for exponential materialism. So we have the right to pursue happiness.
Am I happy? Are you happy?
What the Hell is happiness? Is it a worthy goal? Is it an achievable goal or is it the carrot in front of the horse?
Is the pursuit of happiness fundamental to our character as a way to drive us forward as individuals and as a society? Is it, perhaps, unobtainable — a false God? I’ve decided it is and that I needed a different objective. I chose ‘contentment.’
For me to be truly happy cats and dogs would shit Kibble into their food bowls and eat it again, it’d be sunny every day but not too hot and I’d have a swimming pool and staff. Would the staff be happy?
That seems to be the trouble with happiness — everyone is pursuing it but no one know what or where it is and the pursuit of it is driving many of us mad.
Contentment reeks, for me, of acceptance of what is. The right to the pursuit of happiness, with that emphasis on pursuit, says to me that great minds new it was not attainable. Contentment is attainable if, as it does for me, it connotes acceptance of what we have, who we are and what we are.
I can honestly tell Dr. S. that I’m content. I’m particularly content in my hot tub and when I’m with Fred, Ethel and Sheba. And come Spring I’ll also be particularly content in my hammock, studio and sunroom.

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