What is happiness to you?

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Autumn leaves crumble as I walk on them. The sunlight dances between the tall trees. I walk up to sit on the old white bench, now stained yellow. I sit there for quite some time   in the silence of the yard and observe the birds, gyrating in the skies . I dust off the filth that has settled on the pants of my suit. The last time I visited this park, it wasn’t as isolated as it is today. I try to contemplate the reasons for its isolation but all I can think about is that nothing seems to be as it had been years ago. Yet I still hear the creaking of the slides, the echo of the children’s laughter from the open grounds and the screech of the swings while little kids squeal with delight.

A gigantic oak tree has grown behind the slide, its branches blocking the slope. The rich grass has become barren ground with patches of green here and there. Weeds have grown around the merry-go-round. The balloon seller no longer roams around and I can’t see any kites in the sky. Now all I can do is think and stare at the wrath  that time has showered upon the park.

An old man sits in one corner of the garden, desperately trying to maintain the hedges. Blind with time, the gardener doesn’t realize that the park he was once proud of, has withered long back. His familiar face tilts towards me. He senses my presence but doesn’t react. He is used to living alone in this little park that has been abandoned by the living. As a kid, I was afraid of him and his surly ways, afraid of harming his fine grasses and shrubs and frightened of his grumpy eyes and croaky voice. Even though I was afraid of him, I mocked at him, his job and his appearance. But today, I see an old man with grave eyes, awaiting his death in a park he loves.

I smile at him and sit on the swing, beckoning him to come and sit on the one beside me. He understands the gesture and shuffles towards the swing beside mine, sunlight bouncing off his bald head. He sits and  stares right ahead of him. I wonder what he sees. Does he see the dead garden or the life it once possessed? Is he happy that he doesn’t have to shout at the kids or does he miss seeing them? “Do you miss its old glory?” I sweep my hand towards the garden. “Yes. But change is the rule of the Universe.” He says in his croaky voice, giving me the smile that one gives only when they’ve made peace with their life. He wears ragged clothes, dirty and stained with mud and dust. His hands are more withered than the leaves of the hedge he was trying to shape. His eyes are half-blind, yet I see boundless hope in them. “How do you still manage to be happy?” He bends down and picks up a dry leaf, so shriveled that one might have mistaken it for a piece of grass. He hands it over to me, saying,”I am as old as this leaf now. Probably even older. But once upon a time, it was young and green. It may not appear as pretty as the flowers but did play a role. I believe it is happy with its life. Just like I am. I may not be wearing a suit today, like you are, but I did contribute to this world in my own way.” He pauses and looks around at the mess the park has become. “A few years back, a company wanted this land. They wanted to remove this park from the maps and construct buildings, instead. I led a petition to prevent that from happening. My grandchild was born that year. My son wears suits like you do. He insists that I stop gardening here. You know what I say to him? I tell him that if I had stopped years ago, my granddaughter wouldn’t have seen this beauty. If I stop now, I might lose the one thing that I’ve done right. I don’t want his money. I don’t need his pity. I feel happy even if it is by gardening here. I don’t stay here all the time. I have to spend time with my family. But whenever I can spare some time, I come here and marvel at nature’s ways.” He points around and says,” Look at that huge oak tree. Years ago, it was just a sapling. On one of its branches, there lived a little sparrow. She gave birth to two babies and I watched them grow. I watched them even as they flew away. Look at this swing. It surprises me that the metal still holds strong. In the morning, squirrels jump up and down the swings and trees, gathering nuts in their little abodes. I think I’ve raised a jungle. How can I not be happy?”

I smile at him and take the leaf. We sit there for a long time, not uttering a word. He was lost in the beauty of the garden he loved and I was lost in the words he said. Happiness for him is much different than it is to me.

The next time I look around, I see a beautiful landscape with trees and bushes swaying with the breeze, their leaves reflecting sunlight and the patches of grasses forming an intricate pattern on the ground. Leaves rustle with the wind, causing a soft symphony in my ears. It may have been my imagination, but I also hear the chirping of a sparrow and the squeaking of squirrels. The gardener was right. Change is the rule of the Universe. Change has occurred. In my surroundings. In my mind.

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I look at the man next to me. For once, I forget our difference of thoughts, age and belief and swing with him till the wind forces tears out of my eyes.



Hey guys!

This post was inspired by a quote that I’d read recently.

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

-Wayne Dyer

Hope you liked this post and if you did then click the “Like” button below. Do share your thoughts with me regarding what you think “happiness” means and tell me what you think about this quote by commenting down below! 

Happy reading!

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23 Comments Add yours

  1. Tom Burton says:

    Beautifully written! You build the scene naturally & I can picture it really well 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rachel Steve says:

      Thank you so much, Tom! For reading and commenting. Your words of motivation mean a lot to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ashley says:

        Well written ! The quote too deeper meanings . When did you come across it?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Rachel Steve says:

        Thank you so much! For reading and commenting.
        Oh, I read it on one of the display boards in school. Inspiration is everywhere, I guess!

        Like

  2. inkytalons says:

    Lovely piece and inspiring quote!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rachel Steve says:

      Thank you so much for reading! Glad the quote inspired you.

      Like

  3. MANISHA SINGH says:

    Great work! Keep it up!😁

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Pensieve says:

    What an amazing post! The most emotional one you have written by far! Loved it! And those last lines… They remind me of one of my own posts named ‘Perception’. Rings true indeed.

    Happiness for me…. Well it’s not how it is for most people. No. For me, happiness is not simply laughing at anything that comes my way. (As it is for most)

    Nope. Because I see that as insanity, or a tendency to simply refuse to accept things for what they truly are. Happiness, for me, is exactly like your gardener. It lies in knowing that at the end of the day I have truly done something of use in this universe.

    And I may not be laughing at the end of it. A small, content smile may be all that I possess as I lie deep in thought. And people ask me

    “Why the long face, dude? Be happy! Laugh a little!”

    To them, I only smile. Not because I am sad but because I am really fed up explaining them how my feelings are a million times more intense than their fake laughters.

    Sorry for sounding intense. It just came out. From desperation… 😅

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rachel Steve says:

      Thank you! I’m glad you like it so much! Yeah, I remember that post. The one with the half filled glass.
      Yes, I truly agree with you and so does my gardener 😅 but I wonder at times…why is it advised to find happiness in the smallest of things? I mean, happiness is serving a purpose and feeling satisfied and fulfilled but doesn’t craziness give you a thrill that no sense of purpose can buy? But then thrill isn’t the same as happines, is it? No. But without it, don’t you feel like you’re missing out? But then, to do great things, you need to miss out on things that don’t matter in the long run.
      And serving a purpose that you are passionate about is great and something that I aspire to do. But that is happiness and success in long term. What about now?
      I guess, now, we can just be happy doing small good deeds that satisfy us and help others…
      Sorry for rambling. 😅
      Hey, it’s ok to let things out. And I think I do understand how you feel. You know, there are times when your friends are laughing about some trivial matter but you are just content about how things have turned out or you are just deep in thought…Actually, I’d appreciate if you’d elaborate on that.😅😀
      Anyway, I’m glad we’re discussing this. For this post, I even searched up what happiness is defined as and boy, I wasn’t happy with Google’s definition. So it’s good to know what it means to people…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Pensieve says:

        Hi!

        Well… To answer your question, the very reason it is advised to find happiness in the smallest of things is because of the very thing that you have asked yourself at the end of the paragraph….

        “But that is happiness and success in long term. What about now?”

        If you want to get to your goal as quick as possible, then it’s very important that you stay satisfied/happy with what you are/have right now. Because only when you are happy with what you have will you be able to proceed with the fullest potential that you possess. And hence, one should find happiness in the small, mundane things that is life, so as to finally paint the big picture one day.

        But happiness doesn’t mean laughter. That’s all that I meant to say.

        A tip:- If you want me to elaborate further, can we take this conversation on to gmail? We’ll be able to talk smoother there. Answer yes if so and I’ll mail you.

        Have a happy Sunday! 😊✌️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Rachel Steve says:

        Hey!
        I sort of get it now…although I think an email conversation would be better. I don’t understand…not being satisfied makes one crave for more, right? Isn’t that the push required to proceed with one’s full potential?
        Yeah, happiness is way different than laughter. I had understood the first time. 🙂
        It’s just that I had some doubts regarding it and wanted your views…
        Yes, that would be great, bhaiya!
        You, too, enjoy your Sunday!

        Like

      3. The Pensieve says:

        I have sent you a mail. It’s pretty long and ‘proffesional’ though😅 Hope that helps! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Rachel Steve says:

        Will check it as soon as I can. I’m sure it will help.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Riya Singh says:

    Happiness is like a choice. If you want you can be happy in the moment (which isn’t always necessary) or you can stress about the future or the past or the present itself. For me, it’s more like things that have happened or is happening or will happen that satisfies my needs or excites me or makes me anticipate for something to happen. Things can’t be described in black or white and neither can happiness.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rachel Steve says:

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. That sort of removes the conflict of my thoughts. I think that is a great way to describe happiness. Thanks for sharing your insights!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Mr Vinayak Singh says:

    This is simply superb…!! While reading, the complete scene was moving infront of my eyes..Well written.!!! Keep Writing…We will eagarly wait for your next post…!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rachel Steve says:

      Thanks a ton. I’m glad you like it so much. Stay tuned for my next post.

      Like

  7. Shweta Kher says:

    And, this! 😍 I feel in love with it the first time I read it. I love how descriptive it is. Opens your heart to feelings and nature. I can feel it within. 💓

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rachel Steve says:

      Aww! Thank you so much! This brings such a huge smile on my face.😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Shweta Kher says:

    Keep writing and sharing your beautiful work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rachel Steve says:

      Thank you, Shweta!

      Liked by 1 person

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