Don’t miss the elusive bluebird of happiness

Spring should be the happiest time of the year. And then, of course, close behind would be early summer.
Everything is green and lush. Bursting buds are followed by gorgeous pink and yellow blossoms. Birds warble and sing, and dart about with brightly-coloured feathers.
The days are long. The nights are short. Rains are brief and refreshing, and often rainbows follow. The sun shines. The clouds are fluffy white, floating in a bright blue sky. And the death and decay of late summer and autumn are months away.
Who can keep from being happy with spring days like that!
Well, as it turns out, there are lots of people for whom happiness is elusive in the spring. People who instead of vibrant joy feel a gnawing sense of sadness. And my mother was one of them.
How well I remember her saying, “I always feel kind of depressed in the spring.” This from a woman who rarely spoke the word “depressed.” A woman who for as long as I can remember had always made life fun. A woman who loved to laugh and giggle, especially with her sisters.
Somehow, it never quite made sense for her to feel so sad in the spring. And in later years when she had migrated to the prairie, she tried to blame “tornado alley.” Things would have been different if she could just have gone back east for March, April, and May each year.
Maybe, but I doubt it. Because there’s a natural poignancy in the human soul that causes us to remember sadness just at the times when we should be happiest.
At Christmas we even have a name for it. “The holiday blues.” There we are in the midst of the singing of carols and giving of gifts. The laughter and the parties. The good food and the good fun. And yet sometimes true happiness eludes us.
I don’t think it’s just an accident that we speak of “the bluebird of happiness,” and not “the cardinal of happiness” or “the goldfinch of happiness.” All three birds are uncommonly beautiful and sing their hearts out.
But only the bluebird is rarely seen, and like happiness seems elusive.
In the 1940 movie, “The Blue Bird,” a very unhappy and frustrated Shirley Temple searched everywhere for the bluebird of happiness. She went to the past and the future, and to the land of luxury. She went to places where everything was bright and shiny and beautiful.
But still, the elusive bluebird was nowhere to be found.
Imagine Shirley’s surprise the next morning when she came to the breakfast table of her simple peasant home and discovered that the bluebird of happiness had been right there in her own kitchen all the time.
And that’s the way it usually is. The bluebird of happiness is right in your own backyard, right now. And if you don’t find it there, you’ll probably never find it.
So why not get started today. Give thanks for friends and family. Admire the flowers and trees. Experience the music and art. Watch the funny television shows and read the good books. Savour the plenty on your dining room table.
There’s no better time than now to capture the bluebird of happiness. Think about it. If you don’t find happiness in the spring of the year, how can you possibly hope to find it in summer, autumn, and winter?
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist.

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