Simple Happiness

There was some magic at the farmers market yesterday, and I woke with tingling remnants of it this morning.

First, a sweet older man with a fiddle case asked politely if he could set up his stool and do a bit of fidd’lin’. And soon, the music from his bow set a new mood for the day. I’m sure he stayed longer than he thought he would, but he was enjoying talking to the vendors and shoppers too. Turns out, he is a member of Old Time Fiddlers. He just loves to play, and, he said: “It just makes me happy, so maybe I can spread a bit of that.” And there was dancing.

But wait, there’s more. Sometime later, a woman bearing a huge backpack and carrying a weathered walking stick, wandered the market. She stopped to talk to fiddler Truman, now a friend of the market, and ended up taking a video of him.

As she came in my direction, I said I wanted to know her story. Now, understand, I don’t think I’ve ever greeted a person that way. Her story is incredible. She has been “walking for happiness,” and was on about mile 5,400…walking…alone! She will continue on across the top of the country to home in Massachesetts.

Why? I asked her. And she told me of her quest. In a troubled, troubling world, she and some friends were asking people what makes them happy and recording answers. She is the only one walking the country. When she asked me if she could record my answer, I said yes. We talked some more and she said she had to be on her way.

Irony alert: While Paula is searching the country to find what makes people happy, she is also spreading some. Her open, friendly curiousity opens people to seek their own.

So, what makes me happy? I told Paula that, after more than 30 years of professional life, which sometimes felt like constantly fighting to be heard because I knew stuff, I found happiness in running a bed and breakfast. Following that, it is the very fundamental task of baking. Bottom line, it’s about the serving, of providing comfort and good food, and finding that these are the things that connect and nurture people.

It’s not money; it’s not power; and it’s certainly not the things we acquire. I’ve written here about why I bake, and I find truth in it nearly every day.

There’s magic in the connections we make.

What makes YOU happy?