Hiding in Happiness


It is strange how we humans ever strive looking for happiness, especially in the wrong places. This is especially because more often than not, we have everything we need to be happy.

My 13-year journey in painting has taught me a lot. I have learnt how to observe the tiniest of details and draw lessons from them. To the painter, beauty exists in the oddest of all places; in the places considered dull and unattractive. One day in my community, there happened to be a hard drought and there was a looming threat of crop failure and high food prices. I attended a retreat organized by a charity organization which hired me for my artistic services, and soon we got to share life experiences, emphasizing on what one found deeply touching; and had reasons to be thankful for. It was a dry, windy and dusty season, so I related the beauty in nature to the atmospheric effects and hinted on the dust.

“Dust?” members asked and stared at me, amused and curious to find learn more about how on earth I found dust attractive.

So, I took a long moment to explain …

What about the dust of cloud rising ever so lazily during dawn while a herd of cattle went out to look for bigger grazing meadows? The dust creates shadows that contain depth. The animals are in a progressive density of atmospheric particles that “grab” their shadows, suspending them in the air like tall 3-dimesional ghosts; and as the sun rays shine warm golden light through the dust cloud, the air assumes a solemn feel of wonder and intrigue. I can stare at such dust for hours—till the sun changes direction and the dust loses the enchanted look.

And what about the automobile headlights; casting the sharp, prominent and powerful beams of light though the dusty pitch-black African night? You can’t resist the 3-D illusion of shadows rushing in the air as a crowd of citizens hurry home, walking in the dust-clouds that cars keep blowing. The only regret is that the effect is so short-lived.


Still, what about the glorious sunrises and sunsets which hijack the entire sky, setting it ablaze with the most awesome colors a human could ever dream of gazing at? The dust in the atmosphere particularly facilitates this display. Rain clouds especially produce the loveliest look; these entirely dark clouds have a sharp, brilliant silver outline on the top and burning gloriously at the bottom as the sun illuminates its irregular belly. Down below, the horizon is awash with a golden bath … hills turn to gold, plains follow suit, trees sing a beautiful golden song as herons fly west for the evening. Looking at the birds, I smile at their snow-white underbellies, shining in the sky as the sun glitters on. Up above the thick cumulonimbus clouds, amazingly beautiful ‘god rays’ spread out and fade into the atmosphere.

These elements don’t just happen; phenomena don’t just occur: they also whisper, sometimes shout out to people who are too busy either thinking of how to earn their daily bread—or scheming of how to get richer. However, once the heart opens up to listen to the sky, the grass, the trees and the rocks; once the mind clears of all concerns and seeks to watch, observe and understand the movement and behaviors of the tiny living things, peace and happiness springs from inside.

Environment | Ecology

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