Elizabeth Von Arnim on Contentment

Living face to face with nature makes it difficult for one to be discouraged.  Moles and late frosts, both of which are here in abundance, have often grieved and disappointed me, but even these, my worst enemies, have not succeeded in making me feel discouraged.  Not once till now have I for farther in that direction than the purely negative state of not being encouraged; and whenever I reach that state I go for a brisk walk in the sunshine and come back cured.  It makes one so healthy to live in a garden, so healthy in mind as well as body, and when I say moles and late frosts are my worst enemies, it only shows how I could not now if I tried sit down and brood over my own or my neighbour’s sins, and how the breezes in my garden have blown away all those worries and vexations and bitternesses that are the lot of those who live in a crowd.  The most severe frost that ever nipped the hopes of a year is better to my thinking than having to listen to one malignant truth or lie, and I would rather have a mole busy burrowing tunnels under each of my rose trees and letting the air get at their roots than face a single greeting where no kindness is.  How can you help being happy if you are healthy and in the place you want to be?

~ Elizabeth von Arnim, The Solitary Summer

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