Monday, December 21, 2020

What's making you happy?

Many of the things that made me happy a year ago are now impossible – things such as sharing a memorable meal in a faraway place with some or all of my family. 

Today, my happy moments come in the everyday unfolding of life here at Farm Dover. They are usually triggered by a sensation – something seen, heard, smelled or tasted.  Here are some of the small joys that have revealed themselves in recent days. 

Coffee in bed/early morning light: On these dark December mornings, Ed, who usually gets up before me, makes coffee and brings me a hot mug of it along with my iPad. I wake slowly, often staying snuggled in until I see dawn breaking against a flaming horizon and eventually, the first light on our bedroom wall.

Owl hoots and starling murmurations: A Great Horned Owl has taken up residence at Farm Dover. We saw it for the first time at dusk as Ed and I drove up to the house after my Dad's funeral. He flew up from the driveway and perched on an eave, silhouetted against the darkening sky. I now listen for his evening hoots and find strange comfort in them. 

Most nights – just before dusk – huge groups of European Starlings come together to roost. Before settling in for the night, they will twist, turn, swoop and swirl across the sky in beautiful shape-shifting murmurations. 

Photo by

Snail mail: Most afternoons Ed and I walk the half-mile drive out to the mailbox, where I get great pleasure from finding a stack of holiday cards or handwritten letters of condolence. 

Cheesestraws sliding off the baking sheet: This year, granddaughter Hazel is my cheesestraw apprentice, and a worthy one at that. She helps mix the ingredients then tries her very best to turn out the squiggly dough onto the ancient baking sheets, which once belonged to my Grandmommy. The sheets are rimless on two sides allowing the baked and cooled cheesestraws to easily slide off – with a swoosh – into ever-growing mounds.  Hazel and I sample one from every batch.

FaceTime calls: Many mornings of the week we get a call from Hazel wanting to say "hi" or show us what treat she discovered in her Advent calendar box for that day. Such a great way to start the day. The highlights of our Sunday are always calls from Mary, Brian and Saltie from Brooklyn and Jack and Kasia from Berlin. Just seeing their faces and hearing their voices make me happy. 

Saltie, waiting patiently for her turn to FaceTime

Winter fires and tangerines: We keep a wood fire burning most evenings. Ed splits the wood and brings it up from the woodpile out by the garden and then feeds it to the fire all evening long. I love to peel a tangerine and toss the peel into fire which sends the citrus fragrance out into the room. 

Dressing as twins with a two-year old: When Hazel was visiting last week, we dressed as twins. It completely satisfied my happiness quotient. 

Happily wedded couples and healthy newborn babies: As hard as 2020 has been, there have been bright spots that include the marriage of Dan and Allie, and Jeananne and Justin, and the birth of baby boy Tripp to Claire and Donald.  Life does go on and I hope 2021 finds us spending time with the newlyweds and rocking newborn babies. 

Photo by Tara D Photos

So my question for you is: What makes you happy these days? I hope you can find ways to include more small joys into your everyday life. Sending love your way...