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Being Content

May 31, 2011

Contentment, for all its seeming simplicity, can’t be bottled and commercialized like excitement or cheerfulness or elation.   It isn’t as loud as delight or exuberance or ecstasy.  It is quieter than joy or Abderian abandon.  Contentment might be seen as the mildest form of happiness, but I also posit that it is the most rare, at least in its purest form.  For true contentment derives only from having every aspect of one’s life working perfectly for that one moment in time.

It was Sunday evening on Memorial Day weekend. The sun was starting to set, and its reddish beams still filtered through the trees.   It was hot, yes, but not brutally so, and it had that warm stillness of indolent summer.  The mosquitoes were even giving us a break, a mini miracle in and of itself.  We sat in outside deck chairs, my father across from me, my brothers to my left and right, the cat curled up on a chair near us, eyes watching.  James dealt the cards while Billy munched on tortilla chips.  My father carefully laid two Cuban cigars on the table in front of us, signalling the rare pleasure he soon was going to enjoy.  He even had a glass of beer to accompany, complete with the mini condensation beads forming and slipping down the sides of his mug.  We began to play Spades, with the usual gentle trash talk, bantering and fake giving of hints (my father points to his finger when he wants diamonds, and pats his chest knowingly for hearts).  My father lit up the cigar and we shared it together.  It was balanced, with a light aftertaste.  It went well with the white wine I was drinking.  James got himself a beer.  Billy decided on a slice of watermelon.  The cat decided to investigate the undefended chip bowl. She licked a chip.  Billy laughed.  The sun continued to set.

As we sat there, a family, completely at ease with one another and the world, a wave of contentment hit me.  There was nowhere else I’d rather be than with these people, in this moment.  There was nothing preying on my mind, nothing unwholesome about the pleasure I was experiencing.

Totally content.

Okay, a photo I took from my time in the Cape, but it will have to do.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, World.

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