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Friday, July 29, 2011


(Red Roofs, Corner of the Village, Winter Effect by Camille
Pissarro, 1830-1903, West Indies-born French Impressionist

“Happiness is an activity,” Aristotle tells us in Nicomachean Ethics. “Happiness lies in living and being active, and the good man’s activity is virtuous and pleasant in itself.”

For the good man alone, on his own, life would be difficult. Joined by others, however, he will find his activity to be more continuous and pleasant. “A certain training in virtue also arises from the company of the good. . . . If we look deeper into the nature of things, a virtuous friend seems to be naturally desirable for a virtuous man.”

Happiness requires true friendship.


So early it’s still almost dark out.
I’m near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren’t saying anything, these boys.

I think if they could, they would take
each other’s arm.
It’s early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.

They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn’t enter into this.

Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.

~ Raymond Carver (1938-1998), American short story writer and poet

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