Happiness is a state of mind, and its approach on cats paws is hardly noticed. To awake to the sounds of birds chirping, and the sun flowing into the room through the window, sunlight spilling on to the table, catching bits and pieces of the immediate environment… when the heart is calm… How simple it is. How difficult to describe.
On an evening, a few days ago, after Janne returned from work, after exchanging stories of our separate days… music in the dining room… she’d brought some groceries with her. Are you hungry, she asked, taking a sip of the red wine we had bought earlier, two for the price of one. Not hungry, I said… but I could enjoy a bite to eat. It’s been so long since I’ve been hungry. It’s enough to have appetite these days.
And then I saw the fish. Two reddish fish, complete. With heads and tails, on the cutting board. Patiently, she removed the last of the scales on the fish, and then covered them with flour. There was a sense of the complete, looking at the image of the fishes. Not slices… not pieces, meant to be objects of food… but the actual creature we were about to eat. The fire warmed the kitchen. The corn oil heating up in the pan. The thoughts that had saddened me in past weeks had slipped out the door… and the beauty of the neighborhood, the calm which enveloped me, and Janne’s decision to go back to painting after years of being ‘just too busy’ filled our little world with happiness.
My senses were wide awake. The feeling was that of being surrounded by good. Our celebration wasn’t noisy. No fireworks, no shouts… Just the smells of the kitchen, the soft purr of the potatoes boiling in the background, and the fish sizzling in the pan… sweet music coming from the speakers in the corner of the dining room and an awareness of the whole. That all encompassing feeling of completeness is peace. And peace is one of the major ingredients of happiness.
It was the first time for both of us that we ate that particular fish. It’s called Admonit in Hebrew, Tilapia Rossa in English. The taste was an unqualified delight. When I first looked at all the food on my plate, I didn’t think I could finish it. It seemed half of it would be fine for me. But I ate it all… the fish, potatoes and yams. The experience was one of sensitivity, lightness and satisfaction, and … a harmony of the senses, including love and friendship. The fish’s skin was tastily devoured by Charley the cat.
To my friends and readers, my best wishes for a happy weekend. May we enjoy all our five senses, with peace in our hearts. The days go by… whether appreciated or not. How blessed it is to enjoy an hour.