In Re. Happiness

April 20, 2011

Lately  I’ve been in a long blah mood.  There’s no particular reason for it, it just is.  It’s a fog that blows in, something to be accepted and waited out.  Or not.  I’m always tinkering with it, trying to find methods to disperse it faster, like an atmospheric physicist experimenting with the clouds.

One thing I know to try, good Midwestern girl that I am, is to count my blessings.  I start to list them in my head.  The list gets long fast and I’m tempted to trail off, worn out by the effort.


Okay, fine.  Great moments in the last nineteen days alone, in no particular order, in five hundred words or less:

*Two sandhill cranes flying overhead, their long necks graceful, their huge wings beating the air.

*A double latte first thing on a cold, damp, and generally dreary morning.

*A photo of the Andromeda galaxy sent by a friend.  I stare at it for a long time, wondering what’s going on out there.

*Sitting by the fire at work.  It feels like a chunk of sun captured and burning in captivity, simmering with immense, incalculable heat.

*SOUTH OF SUPERIOR getting selected as an Indie Next Pick and Ingram Premier Pick.

*Sallie’s  high speed gallop around the yard when I let her out in the morning.  After a circuit or two she skids to a stop at my feet, sending leaves and dirt flying.  Also her springing up and down in one spot when she sees something she’s curious and excited about and yet cautious of at the same time.  Also the way she sits with her head slightly tipped, one paw held just off the ground, looking tender and quizzical.  And the way she sleeps sprawled out on the couch.  Or curled up.  Or tipped over with her paws in the air.  Or with her chin resting on a toy.  And so on.

*Seeing a photo of Laura in her prom gown, looking beautiful and poised.  I am speechless.  My little Laura!  She’s so grown up!  She gives me a sweet and tolerant look when I say this.  She pats the seat of her family’s booth and I plop down and scooch up close and bask in the presence of all of them.

*Emails from Amelia, who’s going to study poetry in graduate school in Idaho in the fall.  These notes are full of perfect details about Lemon Heaven Cookies, a muddy walk in the spring woods, Theodore Roethke, the way the roads in Ohio are just before you get to Miami University, and many other things.

*Rick laughing at a funny movie we rented, his head tipped back, the corners of his eyes crinkled.

*A mug Meghan gave me that says, “I drink coffee for your protection.”

*April the cat creeping after a leaf, looking intent and astute, and then dignified and unconcerned when her captured prey turns out to be–a leaf.

*My friend Pamela being kind enough (again!) to say wonderful things about SOUTH OF SUPERIOR at the close of a recent post:

*Tonight’s snow that is so wet and heavy the pines are drooped low with it.  They look as if they belong in an old painting.

*Eating pesto and Italian sausage on a chunk of grilled foccacia bread, a snack I thought up all on my own, impromptu.  Look, Mom, I’m a gourmet Italian chef!  And I’m eating gourmet Italian snacks at bedtime!  Uh oh.

*Wearing my argyle knee socks in neon colors (purple, orange, and lime green) along with my red high top sneakers.

Oh.  Time’s up.  I’m over five hundred words, I’m just getting started, and I do feel better.  Again, hmm.

Category: Life | Tags: , , , 16 comments »

16 Responses to “In Re. Happiness”

  1. Pamela Grath

    Ellen, I would have loved this post even if you hadn’t included me in it. Really. By the time I got to the part about Sallie, I was grinning like a maniac. You are a bright spot in my day, too, and with this morning’s glorious sunshine, that’s saying a lot! Merci beaucoup.

  2. Mary Airgood Vecellio

    Wow! Congrats on the Indie Next Pick and Ingram Premier Pick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is crazy good. I am looking forward to the release date:D I was at Lake McCaslin yesterday helping Cheryl go through the family albums… I saw what I thought were loons.. but when I looked it up on the internet I’m sure they were Merganzers… Too much white and too south for them to be loons. Still lots of fun watching them dive and pop back up!!!
    I’m glad the long winter is over even though it’s still a bit chilly. Today the sun is out and that helps dispel the old doldrums!!!!

  3. Melissa Carothers

    Oh Ellen, You have left us all inspired and renewed with your elegantly written “List of Blessings”. Your words have cheered me on one of my “long blah” days. Miss you and can’t wait to return to the UP.
    P.S. Can’t wait to read “South of Superior”

  4. phil downs

    0 0

    That is my “not surprised at the notice your book is getting face”. By the way, is that free range pesto and organic sausage?

  5. Gwen

    Okay – I absolutely love this because we always lose sight of the important, but little, things in life. Thanks for the reminder!
    P.S. So what movie made Rick laugh?

  6. Janet Senior

    UP’ers came up in a work conversation this week. naturally I thought of you. may the mud give way to blossoms.

  7. ellenair

    Thanks, Gwen! (Office Space. Dumb and Funny).

  8. ellenair

    Thank you Janet!

  9. ellenair

    Thanks, Phil. And I’m surprised you should have to ask in regard to the free range pesto.

  10. ellenair

    Thank you Melissa!

  11. ellenair

    THank you, Mary!

  12. ellenair

    Thank you, Pamela!

  13. Jeanne Regentin

    I loved your list. And laughed a lot. I guess because you’re in the food business you don’t actually starve in April the way we do in the book business in Harbor Springs.
    I also loved your book, and am delighted that it is having such a great send-off.

  14. Gerry

    Late to the party again. These were some good blessings to count, more proof that keeping dogs and cats is good for the spirits. Mostly. And that pesto and sausage thing sounded pretty good too. Hmmm.

  15. ellenair

    Thank you Jeanne–your kind words about the book mean a lot to me. And no, we never lack for food, even in the starving time… : ) (My aunt and uncle and cousins, the Dentels, lived in Harbor for a long time, so I am familiar with your lovely town…)

  16. ellenair

    : ) !

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