The Wise Novelist

Comfort vs. Happiness

Life is never perfect. There always something that needs to be fixed or tweaked. Something always breaks at the worst time and needs to be replaced. There is always that unexpected bill that screws up your budget.

For example, the other day, half way through my work day, my keyboard gave up the ghost. No warning. Just expired mid-word. I guess the recent early morning mini-marathons putting WTLLM on the screen got the better of it. So, I had to run out to Walmart and pick up a replacement. No biggie, just annoying.

When I walked out to my driveway to hop into my Toyota, also named Stella — the same SUV from the books which appears under the rainbow on Beverly Drive on the opening page of this website (we get excellent rainbows here) — so I could drive the ten miles to the store to get the keyboard, I spotted Claire and Honey standing in the shade under a tree in my front yard, having a nosh. Of course, by the time I got my iPhone out they had turned to check me out. Synchronicity. As I have said in the past, whenever I look at them, wherever they may be standing on my property, they stop what they are doing and look back at me. They can be a bit like the Children of the Corn.

Anyway, in spite of the afternoon heat, they were obviously comfortable. They had shade and clean, fresh water, and lots of high grass to munch on. They were safe, and healthy, and they have the freedom to move anywhere on the property at their whim and leisure. They get lots of snacks. They have each other’s company.

That is all I can guaranty. Comfort.

Are they happy? I hope so. I know that seeing them enjoying the little freedom I can provide them makes me happy. That is not my reason for doing it. I reflexively try and offer comfort to any creature I meet. My happiness is just one of those unintended selfish pleasures that is a byproduct of my decision making process. I’ll take it.

And that happiness was a perfect antidote to my annoyance of having to replace my keyboard.

I get the same feeling when I see Blue snoring on the couch, after a busy day racing back and forth along the fence lines with the neighbors’ dogs (everyone has a dog out here), or rolling around in the dust with the mules, or just wandering the property like a night watchman, making sure all is right with the world. Jeter wanders outside a few times each day just to relieve himself. He doesn’t have the range of Blue. He slowly wanders along well marked routes, sniffing and remarking, and then wanders back inside, stops for a drink of water and then drops into one of two possible beds he has on the living room floor, for a nap. Jeter is an old dog.

Both dogs have the freedom to go in an out of the house when they please. They like to go out the door closest to my recliner. This can be annoying after a while, as they seem to go to the door whenever they see me sit down. But I get up each time and open the door for them. Sometimes the bastards don’t even go out, they just poke their head out the door for a second, take a sniff, then turn around and go back inside. I believe they sometimes do this just to ensure I remain a well trained monkey.

They have not suffered the restraint of being walked on a leash since we moved out here. Are they happy? I hope so. But they are comfortable for sure.

I know when I see both sleeping comfortably in the evenings, I am happy.

Same with my feral cats. They have the freedom to come and go as they please. I offer them food, water and a stand alone roof over their heads. A feral cat hostel if you will. An occasional cuddle. A magical grotto to hang in. Comfort.

So, does comfort equate with happiness? Not sure. But wherever you find comfort, you usually find happiness in the same room. And it seems freedom is never far away from either happiness or comfort.

Well, today is Friday and that always makes me happy.

I hope you fine, five readers have some fun planned for the weekend. After all, summer is on the wane.

I will head out for my kitty cuddle and my rounds, then execute the mule’s second seating for breakfast in the back yard dining area. I have the freedom to do that. And doing all of that makes me happy.

But whatever we do, let’s make today a great one. And be happy. Be free.

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