Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Happiest Places

Isn't it a gift, those times when the happiest place on earth is your own backyard? I'm not being overly sentimental... it's not all a bed of thornless roses. But sometimes, hopefully quite often, we look around, smile, and feel happy because our friends are playing with us, the sky is bigger, there are ideas to share, views to marvel at. We recognize the happiness, appreciate the laughter, and connections, and the many ways it lightens our loads... and we just love it.

My heart is full, grateful for this very kind of happiness I have been enjoying. I try to get smart, wisen up, about misinformation I carry around in my head, the little stresses and habits of weakness I practice, and when I can suppress the naysayers and belittling voices in my head... I find that I am free to enjoy some truly blessed moments and occasions.

It helps, a great deal, to be in the company of kindred spirits... the kind of friends who naturally, instinctively, put you at ease, and join in the play.

Hello Dean! Hello Maria!
On the trail, at Torrey Pines.

Our friends came west, just as planned. Some plans are almost too good to be believed, when they are happening, unfolding... you think you might be dreaming. Jennifer and I have been exchanging notes, comments, gifts, encouragement, smiles, connections, all with three thousand miles between our front doors. And I know, some will find this all doubtful, dangerous, daring, weird, or wild, but Jennifer and I know... kindred spirits are out there, and you can find them, even through blogs.

Blogging. It's such a funny, new frontier. I'm sure it is not entirely understood or appreciated, for the good it can do, for the connections it can make. I cannot say enough, or fully express the tremendous joy it has brought me. Maybe it's what pen pals enjoyed, before Internet and email. Maybe it's what old families, living in the same town, the same house for a generation, or two, have the privilege of experiencing. For me, blogging has been a global gathering, at the computer, where I have found friends, acceptance, reassurance, new perspectives, and a novel sense of belonging, an uncanny reunion... sometimes in person.

This is my friend, Jennifer. She brought her family to California, and we've just enjoyed a really dear and happy few days together. I am full of deep thoughts, and other musings, about how special this has been, even about being sad, because we live far apart, and meetings like this are bound to be very few, and far between. I want to say how very pretty and serene she is, how I felt fine when we were quiet, and how I felt charged when we were talking. How delightful it was to experience the same feeling of connectedness in person, that we've enjoyed online.

Yes, so there is a lot I am feeling and thinking on these topics, but it also feels too special, too sacred. And I wouldn't want to mess it up with words. Some things are too great to be pinned down.

Pinch me, I must be dreaming. It is such a funny, dear feeling, seeing someone you recognize and know only from images on a screen, and they look back at you, and there is mutual recognition, motion, sound... real life! Someone should write about that... about meeting blogging friends, and the new phenomena of blog culture, and the relationships founded there, because it is fascinating stuff.

Gosh. Where was I? I knew this would be a twisty turny, wibbly wobbly post. I get sentimental and thinky, and... ah, yes, happiest places!

I have felt happy. And Dean's message on our wall, put me in mind of trying to describe some of the happiness we have been enjoying.

Alex, Dean, and Ken

We all met in the Panda place, at the Zoo. And then we kept finding other things to do, and places to meet. I am so glad Jennifer decided to celebrate her birthday like this, coming west.

Familiar places are fun to share with friends. I enjoy seeing it through their eyes, hearing their reactions. Come to think of it, I equally enjoy being introduced to new places with friends, and having a sense of their neighborhoods and stomping grounds.

Dean, with the map. Torrey Pines has many trails to choose from, and it was a gorgeous day... so any direction looked inviting... even the trail back to the Bird House.

We love our teeter-totter.

I am developing a theory of hope that practicing balance here will transfer into our daily activities, and we will gain skills in managing to balance our lives... laundry, clutter, schedules, etc... that would be marvelous. Me, never at a loss for wishful thinking.

The reality is, our teeter-totter makes us happy, and that is marvelous, indeed.

Play. Play is happiness.
Is it the other way around?
No matter.

Happiness is fun.

Speaking of balance... Alex is demonstrating his hover board.
Something he has been prototyping and experimenting with.

Q: What can you do with a second-hand leaf blower, plywood, duct tape, and a shower curtain?

A: Play, which is fun happiness.

Maria set the table, and declared this the occasion to celebrate the nearly completed barn.

So I zip tied a lot of lemon geraniums to an old and battered wreath, which we hung from the ridge beam. If we were supposed to do anything more than play, be happy, and eat a lot of food with friends and families, to properly bless the barn... well, then oh well. But I like to think the barn feels warmed, welcomed, and blessed.

Kind of a long post. All over the place. Sort of. Still, I cannot apologize. It's a blog. My blog, and one can hardly be expected to edit, or trim the content when sharing happiness, right? Good. Forward!

Jennifer and Ken wanted to help with the preparations, and since this wasn't our first date, naturally I put them right to work! Michal was over, too, and we were all gathered around the stove, making tortillas together.

Then Jess, and Eli, and Homer joined us. And yes, many hands do make light work, and in no time we had a feast prepared, complete with fresh, hot tortillas.

This, seeing my friend, and recalling how happy I was in her company... well, this is going to last in my heart and memory, forever.

No words. Just Happiness.


Kim said...

Awesome! This post really made me tear up; so touching. I know the feeling of finding a friend; it's a lucky thing indeed. Enjoy the rest of your visit!

Anonymous said...

I think it's great that you found another blogger to befriend in person. I don't think it's strange at all. I often follow blogs and think; Gosh, I'd like to meet that person! I often find that the people around me are the foundation for so much. They provide a shoulder, an ear, inspiration, muscle, and so, so much more.

Alison said...

One word: wowza! :)

Laura Jane said...

OH!!!!! I am THRILLED to see you two together!!!!! (I think I have something in my eye)

What a touching post. It is a miracle and a dream come true to discover the friend you have only just met, but KNEW would be a true soulmate all along. And to see your children together, and you all balancing around in the same yard, and cooking together!!

We are ALL happy. Love to all <3

nikkipolani said...

Oh my goodness! Happiness indeed! What a wonderful time you all had being together in Real Life ;-) And I love the broader views of your backyard. It's great to see where the barn is sited in relation to the house, etc.

judy in ky said...

I want to come and live in your back yard!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

More friends!!
You never know when we may meet!
First one of us to win a lottery should book
the Blogging Friends Cruise!

Jennifer said...

Oh hurray, so totally and completely HURRAY! I'm all in my red-eye/jet lag/what-day-is-it? mode, emerging from the wonderful dream that was our real, live visit with you. It's unanimous here -- our time with you was our favorite time of our trip. Yes, you all trumped Disneyland by a long-shot! (Dean keeps wondering what fun is breaking out, and is sorry to be missing it.) It's going to take me a while to process it all but I'm looking forward to my own blogging on this amazing blog-induced experience, and it's lovely to have this first glimpse through your eyes of what the trip meant. It couldn't possibly have been more wonderful, unless it were all just a few less miles (well, many less miles) away from us....

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

My desktop has a screenshot of the Google Map showing a route from my home to yours...