Happiness Observations

Seeing and Sawing

Seeing and SawingOne of my happiest memories of late was the time Tami and I went over to Rock Ridge Park and tried out the new playground equipment there. The see saw was our favorite. The feeling of being up in the air, looking down at the other, and the next second looking up from our seat on the ground was intoxicating. We laughed and laughed.

Not long after that, Lyle bought Tami a see saw which he placed beside her swing set at The Plant. Because it takes two to operate, I have yet to try it out or see it in use. But every time I look at it, I remember the fun I had at Rock Ridge.

The See Saw is a fitting metaphor for the ups and downs of life and relationships. As Tami and I traded places that day, we talked about how we balance out our spouses and vice versa. When one of us is anxious, the other assumes an air of calmness. If I worry, Bob assures me everything will be alright. When he runs out of social energy, I step up to represent the Trouts. Naturally, we do the same for the people around us. When you walk into a room and sense tension, it’s natural to try and lighten things up. We are social animals, after all.

A few weeks ago I started asking myself what were the high and low points of my day. My email buddies are happy to play this game with me even though it isn’t easy to come up with the answer right away. After a little thought the answers do come, though and they are often surprisingly little events. One one day, for example, my low point was being lost in the morass of QuickBooks payroll hell and the high point, the moment after when I walked outside to bring in a handful of Spring flowers.

My high points can be something someone said, a gift given or received, a small epiphany or a breath of sweetly scented Spring air. Perhaps it’s enough to take note of the high points. Maybe trying to recall my low points is just looking for trouble. But I think it’s important to look at both. Not only does it give me a yardstick with which to measure my days, they balance each other out.

Everyone who has ever played on a see saw has reached that moment when the rhythm of ups and downs becomes too predictable and so they sit on the ground for a few extra seconds, their partner on the up side. For a moment, being stuck on the high side is a pleasant surprise, and then the smile begins to fade. Life is not meant to be lived perpetually up or down. We crave the movement between the two. Without one there would be no other.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

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