"Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you" Nathaniel Hawthorne
I remember yearning endless days of summer, the smell of fresh cut grass and the promise of fun and adventure. A childhood summer should be so ideal, time off school and no pressure or grown up concerns. Why is it that I also remember a feeling of hollowness; looking around to find something that was missing?
I can remember loads of happy events, many of them centred on my French exchange. She was known as 'The Cabbage' so her beauty, vitality and intelligence may have come as a surprise. Boundaries and structure could not confine her, she egged me on to become the seditious spirit that I had never really dared to be. She had the most supreme generosity of spirit to almost convince me that I was the beauty and we bonded into a powerful team. But ultimately we were just visitors into each others worlds and that hollowness was never far away.
As I lay on the grass this weekend I sighed and tried to remember that feeling. Strangely I could not quite access that void that had been my constant companion. Is it growing up (or worse growing old)? Either way I don't care, between the birdsong, the garden and my wonderful family I have finally found contentment.
One thing that makes this even more poignant is that after a few years of distance The Cabbage is coming over to see us. Even though you could probably say about us both that we 'have a great future behind us', she is embarking on a new phase of her life with a new man and new career projects (when she finds a job). My one hope for this summer is that contentment is truly contagious.