Artwork by Jenn Powers
People vary somewhat in what makes them happy, but the longevity expert Dan Buettner has found some general lessons. His research shows that the world’s happiest people, in an average day, spend less than 30 minutes watching TV, devote just 30 to 60 minutes to social media, listen to music for at least two hours and get six to nine hours of sleep. They also volunteer two to four hours a week, practice relaxation techniques, take at least four weeks of vacation a year, read a book at least every other month, engage in sexual activity (the more, the merrier, Mr. Buettner says), and have close friends who are racially and ethnically diverse.
A Poem by Michael Estabrook
In Studio Grow Children’s Play Space
with our two granddaughters:
stacking blocks into barns, buildings and bridges
knocking them down again
climbing over the wooden slat bridge then crawling
through the long slinky plastic tunnel to freedom
making salads and waffles and triple-decker burgers
in the play kitchen then play-eating them
assembling a tall chimney on Tom the Builder’s Lego House
that he shares with Nurse Betty and sometimes Dr. John
doing a dinosaur puzzle and a farm animal puzzle
sometimes mixing them up into a confused clutter
playing a turtle, a seagull, and a tiger
in the Make Believe Puppet Theatre laughing
uncontrollably as the bar holding the curtains
Then Peter, Paul and Mary’s Puff
comes on over the studio stereo
and suddenly I’m struggling
to hold back tears no idea why
A Poem by Marsha Posz
Daddy fell from a tree and
done snapped his wrist.
I was five years old and
tied his boots every morning.
His cast was in the way.
Mommy fretted a lot about the bills.
How could they pay for it all?
Money was sparse.
Then I went plumb crazy one day,
swallowed pills and drew razors
through my teenaged wrists.
Mommy fretted again.
I was labeled for life.
Who would pay for the pills and doctors
that kept me alive?
Doctors are sparse.
Daddy needs heart medicine and
Mommy still frets about us all and
worries about death panels.
All I know is sometimes I want to live and
sometimes I want to die and sometime
it seems like I can’t do either one.
If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more bullets.
–Secretary of Defense James Mattis under President Trump
A Work of Prose by Michael Estabrook
Last spring the bees were swarming searching for a new place to build a hive. Such a rare and special event you are so blessed the Bee Huggers tell us. And it is a marvel, almost romantic, watching them collect, 40,000 workers strong surrounding their Queen.
But we should have them removed: “They could sting the grandchildren or end up in your eaves or walls or chimney and then you’ll have real problems.” So we pay $525 to have the soccer ball sized swarm hanging from a branch above our driveway removed. The Bee Busters don’t use chemicals, don’t kill them, that’s a very good thing. Instead at dusk they vacuum them up in their torpid state and move them to a hive in another town kind of like a witness protection program for bees.
Photo by Jenn Powers