Family: Happiness can be found in many ways

Treena Mielke

I’ve heard it said that necessity is the mother of invention.

I truly believe these to be wise words.

And now with the third wave of the pandemic holding us all in its deadly grip, we are once again facing restrictions that keep us from being ‘the way we were.’

And it seems the pandemic has made it necessary for us to invent other ways and means for each of us to create our own new normal.

It has been so long, and the world is so weary of this pandemic it is so easy to slip into a melancholy state of remembering when.

Remember when indoor gatherings were a given.

Remember when we sang and laughed together just because we could.

Remember! Remember! Remember!

As for me, I said to myself the other day in my stern ‘self talk’ voice.

“Okay, Treen. That was then and this is now. You need to focus on now.”

I have been told, more than once, that I am a social person. That I like to fill my house with people.

It is true. I do. “Stop by,” I always say and the words, soft and easy, come easily to me.

But COVID has, of course, forced me to put my hospitable self on hold, and, simply put, just shut up.

It is true that I was moping over the COVID case numbers that were rising higher than a kite in a strong wind and the fact that my favourite restaurant did not have a patio and I kept hearing this other little voice in my head that muttered ‘life sucks.’

But I determinedly stilled the inner child voice and put my walking shoes on.

Actually, I put on these pink runners that used to belong to my granddaughter before she outgrew them. You know the ones with ridiculously sparkly laces, not at all befitting a grandmotherly type such as myself, and I went for a walk.

And in so doing, I once again discovered that there is joy in the morning, the birds do sing despite a pandemic and there is nothing in the world quite like a solitary walk in a quiet and still world that is just waking up for the day.

Of course, the trees are still stark and dark statues, and you must look closely at the branches to see the promise of what is to come, but it is there in the soft grey buds shyly beginning to show themselves.

I also saw lurking in the roadside ditches patches of snow reminding me that winter has not quite yet released its icy footprint.

But, then much to my delight and amazement, I saw a red breasted robin hopping about on the crusty snow-covered patch singing its little heart out.

“I heard a robin sing,” I mused to myself in quiet wonder. “How lucky I am.”

And as I walked along it seemed like the woods became alive with the songs of birds. Of course, I have no idea which one of the winged creatures sang what song being my expertise in that field is sorely lacking.

But I do know one thing for sure.

I heard a robin sing.

And that in itself brought me joy.

And hope.

And it also reminded me that happiness can be found in many ways, not the least of which is a solitary walk with only the songs of birds to break the absolute and perfect silence of a new day.

Treena Mielke is a central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.

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