This is a place where happiness flourishes!
I am surprised to make this discovery, for during many of my days here, I have encountered others whose happiness was hidden in locations far from where they were looking. And there have been moments when my own happiness has been hard to find.
Yet when I stand between the apple and plantain trees that grow on the lot where I stay, I feel happiness rise up through the soles of my feet as if it comes from within the substance of this very planet!
The trees tell me that this earth is indeed one source of happiness.
And the single sun, too, brings through its rays happiness to all it touches.
Under this sun, with happiness as inspiration, I ventured again to the lane, where residents pass in constant Saturday afternoon parades.
“Do you know?” I asked. “I feel like a grape ripening in the sun!”
And they all laughed!
Perhaps it is the afternoon sun which indeed delivers happiness, for I encountered none of the wrath with which the residents had met me just a few hours before.
I could feel some anger from those who clenched fists while wearing smiles.This was the typical response that I recognize when residents do not trust that which is alien. Yet, the anger seemed to recede while the laughter rose, and none of these afternoon pedestrians threw harsh words towards me.
We stood together. The circle grew, and with it, spread a sense of well-being that comes from feelings of joy passing from one to another.
I am one who relishes solitude. Yet to feel these currents speeding through our circle brought a sensation even more delectable than the serenity that I feel when I am alone.
The circle grew as more and more residents joined in, including my friend and colleague Erick. Through all the layers of emotion that I felt, it was happiness that shone most strongly, casting its bright light over the hint of embarrassment and fear which is always there when my alien origins are first noticed by others and when I am with anyone I do not yet know.
When I returned to the lot where I stay, I felt happiness even in the shade of the giant mesquite tree.
“Is this dew from your leaves tinged with happiness?” I asked.
And the mesquite answered, “Of course! For I drink from the earth and bathe in the sun!”
I recalled something I had read recently in an account by the space explorer Delaney Tesla regarding the coral flowers of the moon N 62.3 near Canoris Majoris which produce a fragrance that triggers the neurotransmitters responsible for empathy in sentient beings. Perhaps this is something similar. Where I’m from, we have very few multicellular plants, yet the single cell organisms which thrive on the Purple Planet emit substances that nurture both physical and emotional well-being.
I realized that here on this planet we imbibe happiness with each bite of apple and carrot. With each breath, too, for on this planet, we breathe in what our dear plant friends exhale!
While I tended the garden, my friend Erin came to visit.
“You’re whistling!” she said.
“Yes?” I replied. “It feels so natural to do so!”
“You must be happy.”
As I finished watering the mushrooms, I looked across the lot to where Erin sat with a book.
She looked happy, too.
“Do you feel this also?” I asked her as we looked over a few chess positions. “Do you feel also that your happiness increases with the happiness of those around you?”
“Of course,” she said. “I’m like you in that way. I pick up on the feelings of those around me, and I ride a little happy buzz when it’s available.”
“But you feel focused now,” I said.
“Well, yeah,” she replied. “I feel focused, but I feel happy, too.”
I felt the planet’s slow rotation as it turned to shade us from the sun. This is what the residents call “sun set,” though I call it “earth turn.”
Fiona and Amber stopped by, too. Amber found amusement on the computer I had just purchased, and Fiona joined us with smiles of delight.
“Will your happiness continue as we are shaded from the sun?” I asked Fiona.
“Our happiness isn’t dependent on the sun!” said Erin. “We can be happy from all sorts of things!”
“Right,” said Fiona. “All I need is to hang out in nature! Or, if I gotta be inside, a video game can bring some pleasure.”
“But we’re not just talking pleasure,” Erin said. “We’re talking happy.”
“Same difference,” said Fiona. “I can get that same kinda feeling from a few good hours gaming that I do from, say, bird-watching or hanging with you guys. Call it pleasure, fun, good times. It feels the same, and it makes me happy.”
Erin said, “And when she’s happy, we’re happy, right, Sil?”
Erick, too, came to visit around the time that the earth turned this hemisphere towards the shade. And now, I had around me my friends from the Science Lab–all except Good Grips, whose bolts prevent him from leaving the laboratory floor. It is a happy evening to be surrounded by friends.
“Sillduun!” Erick said.
When he sees me now, he wraps me in his arms and his eyes grow bright.
This is a way to share happiness, too.
When the planet turned to show us the single moon, I felt all through me how the moon as well delivers happiness. Is it the reflection merely of the sun?
“Erick,” I said, “The moon behind you is a perfect circle on this evening.”
“Ah!” he replied. “The full moon! That must be why everything feels so magical tonight!”
Erin and Amber sat together at the chess board in the light of the single moon.
“What is the source of your happiness?” I asked them, still curious about the fluctuations and flourishings of this emotion which opens the mind, enlivens the blood and vital organs, and spreads well-being through the many cells which compose the community of ourselves and others.
Amber said, “I wake up cheerful almost every day!”
“That’s just your nature, chica,” said Erin. “Why, if it weren’t for things around you that sometimes overshadow that cheerfulness, you’d be smiling all the time!”
Indeed, happiness does seem to be the very nature of these four friends of mine!
I looked at them as we enjoyed a meal together. Could it be that these four individuals are indeed my friends because each has a happy nature, and so we are drawn to each other?
When I am with them, though my alien nature is so clearly an integral part of who I am, it does not form a barrier. My friends do not laugh when I ask questions that reveal my different background and my lack of experience and understanding here. Instead, while our words form the surface of what we share through conversation, there are deeper currents which we feel–connections through these threads of happiness which make us each feel more of who we truly are while simultaneously helping us to feel part of a group.
My friends left. I was alone on the lot. The serenity of solitude settled within and without. Around me, cactus blossoms reflected silver moonlight.
Can it be? Deep inside, there are moments when I begin to feel that I am not so far from home.