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Happiness

. . . I could be spring’s wet rupture under a blossom moon  Ellen Crow

I know that happiness is an inside job, that we can’t buy it and no one else can give it to us either.  I know that it springs from an ever-present inner well and it is up to each one of us to draw from our own flowing waters.  I know this with my whole Being.  And it doesn’t need to be a sunny seventy-degree day and the harbor doesn’t need to be sparkling with a million gleaming diamonds and you don’t need to be on a vacation to feel it, this happiness that grows inside of you.  It’s there for you always.  And . . . and, oh my goodness, to feel the sun on your sun-hungry skin!  And to revel in a day that is yours, yours from beginning to end, to plan it in a way that feels good to you!  And to be on an adventure in a land far away!  That, that is a recipe that feeds your inner happiness!

It was such a day, two weeks ago, in Sydney, Australia, for Cam and I, and for the countless others who were outside enjoying this Sunday of unusually warm autumn weather.  In the morning, at Central Quay, we had climbed aboard the Manly Ferry, had reveled in the sparkle and the deep cobalt blue and the sun shining down on us as the ferry cut through the harbor’s waters on its way toward the open sea and the point of land and bay that makes up Manly.  As we had leaned over the side of the ferry, we had watched the sailboats fly on by with their spinnakers billowing, and the dragger boats heading out to sea, and the sleek white yachts anchored in coves and bays.  It was a high-flying breathe-in-the-salt-air-of-a-thirty-minute ride to Manly and a spacious afternoon of exploration.  We had soaked it all in.  How could you not?  On the open ocean side of the town, the white-sand beach had been speckled with people, some in bikinis, some in long pants, some riding those curling splashing waves on their boards.  We had walked barefoot in the sand, dipped our feet in the waves, eaten the best-tasting falafel sandwiches at a corner café called Alchemy, and, all afternoon, we had hiked on a trail along the cliffs overlooking ocean and harbor, had dipped down into coves and up into juniper thickets, through forest and over the rock.  It had been glorious, and all along the way we had met other people who also seemed to be feeding their inner happiness.

So, it was no surprise that, in the early evening, when we squished ourselves into the bulging crowd that was about to board the ferry back to Central Quay, we were bumping up against happy people, people filled with waves and sand and sun and memories of a day well-spent.  And it was in the open bow of the ferry that we now found ourselves as the sun was setting and we were heading back to the city.  And that was good enough.  That was desert for me, and, I suspect for the other passengers as well, as we faced east away from the direction the boat was heading, as we instead turned our heads back toward the breeze and the point of now-shrinking land and the open sea.  The blue sky was deepening as evening set in, and I was standing by now, leaning up against some piece of this massive ferry, just soaking it all in.  I was feeling pure happiness in that breezy moment, and that is when it happened, something new, something glowing and golden that was lighting that point of land where we had played all afternoon, something radiant now and growing, something bulging and exploding.  All of this happened in a matter of seconds, this huge round ball of orange blazing light that lifted itself, lifted itself right out of that ocean and up over that point of land and just hung there, huge and suspended, for all of us to see.

It was a reflex action.  Pure and unbridled.  It bubbled up and over from that deep well-spring inside of us!  The moon!!!  The moon!!! People, probably thirty of us in the bow of that ferry, people from all over the world, yelling and laughing and pointing our fingers.  The moon!!!  The moon!!!  In English, in Chinese, in some European language I couldn’t identify, we were calling out, to this glorious super-sized ball of orange, calling out and laughing as it floated over the horizon.  We were calling out to each other, we were snapping photos on cell phones and cameras, we were following this giant yellow perfectly round ball that was now hanging over the land and now hanging over the sea and now rising above the land again and over the harbor, that was now lifting itself above Sydney’s glorious harbor, lifting itself above the Opera House, lifting itself up into the wide open sky, lifting us up into wide open sky in a glorious aria of group happiness.

Moon Over Sydney

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