Create and Recreate for Happiness

Thomas Jefferson’s, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” is one of the founding planks of the United States Constitution. Philosopher Aristotle said, “Happiness is not what happens to us, but what we choose to focus on.” It isn’t doing what you like, but liking what you do. Quite likely happiness is not having what you want, but rather wanting what you have. These are tough truisms and it seems to me, one has to have lots of life’s experiences to really appreciate them.

Last Thursday, Oct. 30, Kevin called. “Hi Frank, do you want to test your shotgun tomorrow morning?” Sure enough we met at the Supercenter at 6:00AM. In Northern Alberta Oct. 31 is supposed to be the beginning of winter, not a time for hunting geese. But, geese it was and the clear morning a pleasant 1 degree celsius. The geese on the river started talking about 8:15 and then a half a dozen mallards came to inspect our decoys. Too bad, one was going to make a meal for Doug.

This crisp, clean quiet morning silence was broken by the yelping of a couple coyote packs. Almost silently two large honkers saw our decoys, approached and started spreading their wings to a welcome of shotgun shots. A couple of geese for jerky someone said. Then a small flock of Canadas arrived, two more were taken. Then all of a sudden, it seemed as if the skies opened up with geese, they were everywhere. A large flock of a 100 or more to the west, another couple of flocks to the north. Two more flocks to the south of us, probably a thousand or more. If one was afraid of birds, it wasn’t the place to be, it looked like one of Hitchcock’s movies. The flocks moved over and around us, mostly out of range, even then 4 more geese were taken and then all was quiet.

While we sat in the blind, we thanked our lucky stars, we were born in Canada, able to participate in an ancient sport and appreciate the fresh, cool, crisp air and the feel of recently harvested grain stubble under our feet. The 3 deer that were in the field when we were setting up the blind and decoys, probably wondered what we were doing there so early.

The thought of business or of the financial crisis in the world was the farthest thing from our minds. The aches and pains in the old body had vanished and the feeling of life and happiness is evident to the 4 participants. There is no other place in the world that we would rather be and we wouldn’t trade this experience for love nor money. A cup of coffee and some friendly banter is the final balm of contentment.

It doesn’t have to be hunting or fishing. It can be golf, curling, slow-pitch, hockey. ski-dooing, quadding, biking or just hiking. The secret, I think, is doing something different, something you don’t have to do to make a living. You probably wouldn’t enjoy it as much if you had to do it on a regular basis. So the challenge to happiness, as I see it, is balance. We all know we need to work to create. We should learn, we need to recreate (re-create) for peace of mind and happiness.

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