I thought of happiness, how it is woven
Out of the silence in the empty house each day
And how it is not sudden and it is not given
But is creation itself like the growth of a tree.
No one has seen it happen, but inside the bark
Another circle is growing in the expanding ring.
No one has heard the root go deeper in the dark,
But the tree is lifted by this inward work
And its plumes shine, and its leaves are glittering.
So happiness is woven out of the peace of hours
And strikes its roots deep in the house alone:
The old chest in the corner, cool waxed floors,
White curtains softly and continually blown
As the free air moves quietly about the room;
A shelf of books, a table, and the white-washed wall—
These are the dear familiar gods of home,
And here the work of faith can best be done,
The growing tree is green and musical.
For what is happiness but growth in peace,
The timeless sense of time when furniture
Has stood a life’s span in a single place,
And as the air moves, so the old dreams stir
The shining leaves of present happiness?
No one has heard thought or listened to a mind,
But where people have lived in inwardness
The air is charged with blessing and does bless;
Windows look out on mountains and the walls are kind.
~May Sarton “The Work of Happiness”
Some are eager to travel and roam, experiencing new places and unfamiliar scenery.
I leave home reluctantly now. Having settled in during the COVID years, I find happiness forming concentric rings around the core of this farm with my roots growing deeper in this fertile soil. It is where I belong.
Certainly, I have belonged to other places during my life. Each built a new ring in my history, growing me taller and stronger over the years. As I have moved, I have carried along furniture from my grandparents’ homes – a rocking chair, a round top antique trunk. My great aunt’s baby grand piano followed me through three moves. My parents’ things are scattered throughout this house, storing their memories in the wood and polish and fabric.
There is peace to be found in this inwardness. When I open our windows, I sense in every way how the air is charged with blessing. There is kindness here. There is happiness woven out of time and memory and love.
No matter where I shall roam, I will always find the road home.
Tell me where is the road I can call my own,
That I left, that I lost, so long ago.
All these years I have wondered,
oh when will I know,
There’s a way, there’s a road that will lead me home.
After wind, After rain, when the dark is done,
As I wake from a dream, in the gold of day,
Through the air there’s a calling from far away,
There’s a voice I can hear that will lead me home.
Rise up, follow me, come away is the call
With (the) love in your heart as the only song
There is no such beauty as where you belong
Rise up, follow me, I will lead you home.
~Michael Dennis Browne
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