Piebald, the so-called feral cat, finds joy in sunning his tummy.

I’ll confess, fall is coming too soon for me this year. Whether I’ve become a true devotee of highs in the 90s and long strings of evenings comfortable for going without a coat, or if it has more to do with battling the dark moments of widowhood, I’m not sure. Winter was long and bitterly cold this year; perhaps I’m craving more hours of daylight to offset that deficit. Whatever the reason, Lily, my inner fourteen-year-old, prompts me to find the joy.


Cloudy morning?

Let’s have breakfast by candlelight!

Cool afternoon?

We don’t have to sit in the shade on the patio, there’s still plenty of sun on the deck.

Darker than desirable evening?

Plug in the string of white lights above the fireplace.

A blurry depiction of joy. I put these up during home hospice; there they’ve remained, and they cheer me still.

Flame, sun, festive illumination. The key to inter-season survival? Perhaps. Light, light and more light.


A wise friend recently reminded me that lots of people live life in a quest for happiness. Happiness 24/7. Are we there yet?


That’s not how things work. Happiness, like any other human feeling, is not a constant state. News flash: we’re not in charge of everything that affects our lives. Our existence is peppered with contrast- -happiness, sadness, rampant joy and being in the dumps. And that’s okay. Our minds and bodies can’t withstand experiencing a single and exclusive emotion- -that’s my best guess. Humans must need tension and struggle in their lives; after all, we impose a lot of this on ourselves, don’t we? So maybe a quest for happiness isn’t a bad thing. It keeps us striving.


But wait! Is there something going on at this very moment that provides a glimmer of happiness, a flame of joy? Stop, look and listen. As I’ve been writing this, Grizelda, the Only Girl Cat, has crawled up on my lap and draped herself over my right wrist. I’m enjoying her company and the constant battle of readjusting the position of my hand so I can type. My favorite CD of all time, Buena Vista Social Club, is playing. I’ve been looking for it ever since we moved to this house in May 2018, fearing I’d lost it. This Monday, when I scanned the shelves of the CD cabinet looking for Rod Stewart, there it was, hiding in plain sight! I’ve been listening to it all week, spontaneously dancing along when I’m on my feet.

Joy in finding my old friends, the Buena Vista Social Club!

Hey, I like this!


So do I, Lily! Light, cats, a contagious Cuban beat. Minutes of happiness trickle through the day. All you have to do is acknowledge them. Joy. It doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it almost never is.

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