Considering the Prospect of Happiness on an Icy Day in The Month of Febuary

Once I thought knowledge of the world's many sorrows made happiness impossible.  I have been ashamed of happiness and my desire for it in the face of the deep and seemingly relentless suffering we call modern life. The only meaningful response to the miseries of the world seemed to be endless dirge.

Extended dirge at least lent a certain dignity to the human procession that was,for me,ultimately funereal.  Peccata mundi. Sorrows of the world became the world. All the same, some part of me refused to submit. Refused to surrender the desire to dance, to sing and be joyful. Buried deep but still alive, these desires.

Surrender desire and find contentment.  How often have I heard these words.  How little they have worked despite how noble. How sage. How obvious. How righteous. But how very not how-now-brown cow.

What about a brown cow?  The brown cow, she saved me, the how-now-brown cow. Living in the country, right up against cow and crow, neighbor to fox and finch, I have begun to regain a sense of myself as one of many creatures on this planet.  A mammal creature locked into a wild and crazy species filled with disappointment, greed and uncertainty but a creature of the earth all the same.

My rights. My responsibilities. My numbers. Language and the encyclopedic data base of prejudice it carries.  Cars, cartoons and cracker jacks.  I won't escape them, not this particular living I. But the woods, the meadow, the streams are part of my passage as well.  Trees.  I breath, in and out, while the brown cow makes it clear whatever else my species has in mind the basics remain eternal.  Non-negotiable, the air we breath.

Grim Febuary is bringing this year's winter to an end with a teasing display of yellow tipped daffodils under the snow. The small red buds of bush and tree will soon spring from their wrappings and become green.  When they do the brown cow will come running down the hillside. She will kick her heels. She will dance. And I may join her if I wish. How now brown cow.  How now?