Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tangerine stilletoes, Lipizzaners & happiness

Fred, today, in the Los Angeles national forest, looking noble

I might have discovered too late that I am a happy person even when I am on my own.  It dawned on me this weekend, the first in many months where I didn't feel wretched nor was I filled with the desire to understand what I had done to cause my marriage to end. Quite quickly, in fact, it came to me that not only was this not about me, but that as I sat on the horse who was hopping and skipping and jumping his way through the lime green path in the Tujunga wash ("That's a lot of pony to have to stop" said a Western rider as I halted for her on a narrow trail and Fred snorted, rather imperiously I thought, like a Lipizzaner), that I was happy. And not just for a moment. Moments strung together with other moments creating, quite oddly, a garland of happiness.  In other time I would've been called a flower child. I am happy in the woods, in the garden, surrounded by green and birdsong, with the spotteds, the white horse, and even, if I can admit it, on my own.

And so today at a very pleasant brunch with girlfriends (how long, dear reader, do you have to be in America when you started referring to brunch instead of breakfast or lunch at the weekends?) atop a very civilized building in West Hollywood, surrounded by olive trees and geraniums, I admitted that I was happy.

"It's what you do" said a friend "you always try to make everything happy." She says this with a smirk as if, just faintly, it's a bad thing.  There is a Pollyanna quality to it, I know.  I don't really know any other way to negotiate these waters. I have a board on Pinterest called "Satori" (a pretentious name from a line in a Bowie song, but it is what I hope for) and on it I collect bon mots -- little bits of jollyness to cheer me up.

One of the things that happens as you get older is you find that your proclivities become stronger. I only like to drink tea out of thin china cups.  I like food on white plates. I like to slice my pears with a small knife before I eat them.  I dislike dull children. My love for high-heeled stilettos knows no bounds.

Neon tangerine Jimmy Choos
But why do we do these things? Because they make us happy.

My lovely Mamma, telling a joke

Don't you dare take a picture.

Okay, I'll do my picture face.

Last weekend I spent two too-short days with my mother in England.  It was Easter and there was, of course, roast lamb, with both mint sauce and redcurrant jelly, and delicious wine, and the whole of the Chiltern Hills spread out before us. Her small dog and I walked for miles, through Berkhamsted Common, down the Roman road to Cold Harbour, and back by Ashridge Monument. Another day we walked into the village and visited the grave on Easter Sunday, and went illegally through our old wood which was carpeted in bluebells and wood anemone. There were deer grazing and a white hart which I took as a sign of enormous good luck.  The sun doesn't set until after 7 in England now.  It's already feeling like summer.  There is so much optimism, so much burgeoning anticipation, things waiting to happen, a sense of well-being, latent it-will-be-all-right-ness in those woods. Perhaps we go there for refueling, like others go to church.

Near Cold Harbour Farm, England

Having hidden myself for seven months in my work -- and I love going into work each day to see my other family; the incredible men and women I'm in the trenches with -- I'm happy to say that I've started to go out again.  This is the first time I've written the blog in as long as I can remember.  Writing is a challenge. My fingers don't feel particularly poetic. And last night, I had dinner with friends I hadn't seen in a long, long time. There were little oysters shucked by hand in the kitchen, and a feast of spaghetti and clams, a spring green table and bright, amusing children.  Jetlagged and exhausted, I fell asleep on an incredibly comfortable pile sofa which had been gently gnawed upon by two young dogs and it was only when I was accused of snoring I woke up, mortified.  "We were glad you could sleep" said my friend. "It's the old you. The one that is comfortable with us." 

I'm planning on painting a wall pink in my sitting room.  The house, I've decided, is feeling a little worn.  It needs some spring cleaning. Perhaps something the color of this rose I found in my garden on Wednesday morning.


materfamilias said...

Moved to delurk as this is such a wonderful post -- your friends and family are lucky to enjoy your happy presence! And hip, hip, hooray for tangerine stilettos!

nancyblackett said...

Welcome back to the true Miss Whistle, the one with unbridled joy in the small beauties around her, the one with breathless optimism, the one whose delights cause her readers to pause and reflect on what delights them. I, too, have endless faith in the restorative properties of the English countryside. That white hart was a sign, you know.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Miss Whistle. Love your post. It is so good that you are getting back to your own happiness. Thank you for sharing.

Susan Champlin said...

It's wonderful to think of you wearing a garland of happiness. You create beauty and happiness—you deserve it for yourself. xx

Eric said...

Welcome back to life, Bumble. We're happy to have you. Everyone deserves happiness, and stilettos.

Jessie said...

I smiled when I read this- that you had this revelation. You deserve all the happiness, and I seriously hope you are rocking those amazing shoes!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Love this post! You are one of the coolest (and hottest) mamasitas I know. Let's meet for a drink at that "civilized place" soon. :) xxx

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the baby steps worked out for you , you've done your time welcome back to yourself and the world, we are all the better for having you.

thelma said...

It's lovely to see you writing again and coming back to this wonderful old world. Your blog is so full of colour and life. xxx