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The Tiger's Nest in Bhutan. Photo by Chelsea Ferrel.

What is happiness to us?

Can we see it?
like how our heart fills when we see our dog waiting for us at the door
or the sunset over the lake not far from home
maybe it’s the way calm blue water soothes the eyes
or the ripple made when we throw a rock into it
it could be how we feel upon seeing the faces of our childhood friends and family.

Can we smell it?
like the nostalgia we feel when we smell fresh baked cookies from our grandmother’s house
or rain on hot pavement in the summer
is happiness the smell of our long lost friend’s home, after the memories are long over?
maybe it’s the chemicals of the dark room in our high school
or the Christmas ornaments that only come around once a year

Can we hear it?
like the flutter in our stomachs when we hear the wind in the trees
or the familiar tune of our favorite song
maybe it’s the juxtaposition of cracking thunder while we calmly read
the groggy early sound of morning doves where we grew up
could it be the popping of a campfire in the late night?

Can we touch it?
like the wholeness we feel when someone wraps us up in their arms
or crawling into our fresh fluffy beds after a long day
could happiness be the simplicity of running your fingers over the soft velvet of your aunt’s couch?
or the stiff ballet floor under our pointed shoes
maybe it’s the relief of a cold breeze on our face after baking in the sun

What is happiness to us?
and where did the notion come from that we can’t create it?
if it is what we make it
reach out and take it.

(Note: This poem was created with input from the whole group, after we had a discussion on what happiness means to us.)