Daily Dose of Green

January 19, 2010

I read this great editorial last night and it got me thinking about those moments of “absolute and perfect happiness — the ten to twelve that comprise a whole life.”  What resonated with me is the truth that it is only a few moments of happiness that define our lives — the moments no one can take away from us.

Some of mine are what you’d expect: my first conversation with the man who become my husband; nursing my son in the early hours of the morning this summer in Vermont and watching the lacy top of the treeline emerge from the darkness; the day I was promoted to Vice President in my old job. Others are smaller, maybe more unexpected: closing up the video department at the Putney General Store (my first job as teenager) and then driving home with all the windows rolled down on a warm summer night; learning to pan fry steak.  Certainly some of them are prosaic and not so unusual.  But they are my moments. What are your yours?

I’ve also been thinking about this quote I found on Diana’s beautiful blog:

“life is not easy for any of us. but what of that? we must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. we must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”Marie Curie

PS I took this photograph in Paris in 2006, when all there was to think about was my next meal.

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

wishful nals January 19, 2010 at 2:55 pm

wonderful. thank you for sharing!

abigail January 19, 2010 at 3:52 pm

what a beautiful quote by marie curie.

Jenny January 19, 2010 at 4:06 pm

What a lovely post, Abbey. Thanks for reminding me to stop and take a quiet moment today. Life is good.


joanna goddard January 19, 2010 at 4:11 pm

what a beautiful post. i love your chosen moments.

The Lil Bee January 19, 2010 at 4:25 pm

You took this photo? It’s beautiful. I was just about to comment that it’s one of my favorite in your series. So simple and yet there’s so much detail. I suppose it is the perfect photograph for a post on life’s sweetest moments. Mine are quite similar to yours, and they also include conversations I’ve had with my grandfather, as well as my fifth birthday party. I remember it so vividly. There were so many people there and I remember feeling very loved.

joslyn January 19, 2010 at 5:43 pm

oh abbey…this is one of my favorite posts ever. i love it. + love your chosen moments.

one of my favorites is a sunny january afternoon a few years ago…slow dancing with millie age 2 weeks.

it was perfection.

lillie January 19, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Love these thoughts – and the quote, Abbey. Perfect ideas to reflect back on, especially at the beginning of a new year!

Anne January 19, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Thanks for the link to that essay. I had to laugh at the description that Swedish detectives are “depressed, drink too much coffee, smoke too many cigarettes, and have a constant cold.” I know a few of those Swedish folks. I can also identify with the fear in knowing that a perfect moment is finite. I guess the art of a happy life is focusing on enjoying the moment and not the knowledge that it will pass.

One of my moments was hitchhiking in the outer Hebrides of Scotland when I was in college and feeling completely in charge of my own life.

cate January 19, 2010 at 6:51 pm

oh abbey, le petit pontoise is itself one of my very favorite moments. a perfect place and a perfect moment in time. i can’t believe it’s one of yours too. thanks for reminding me of such a lovely place.

RachelP January 19, 2010 at 7:32 pm

My high school biology teacher gave me that quote printed on business card-size stock, and I’ve had it on my desk ever since. It’s such a lovely quote, and running into it on your blog made me see it anew.

Estelle January 19, 2010 at 8:06 pm

This ia an amazingly thoughtful post. I will spend the rest of the evening, maybe the rest of the week thinking about this. I really appreciate what you shared and now I’m off to read that editorial. Thank you.

Laurie January 19, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Woah. Maybe one of the best posts ever. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. (also glad to know that cook illustrated has a website with recipes, hee, hee :))

Oh, and you featured my little nursery (Julia Rothman ceiling) awhile back on your baby blog. Pretty cool to see my work on one of my favorite blogs. Thanks!

Emily B-W January 19, 2010 at 8:41 pm

I’m thinking of a summer day (15 years ago!!) when I sat under a tree reading and you came up and introduced yourself. I am so glad you did or there would be many more wonderful moments that I would have missed out on!

Anonymous January 19, 2010 at 8:52 pm

It’s so true. A friend of mine says that true happiness happens in little snippets and it’s true but those snippets are priceless.

For me, convincing my grandmother to toboggan down a snowy hill with me when she was in her 70’s. Digging up potatoes with my grandfather. Sharing an inside joke with my siblings. The moment that I knew my husband and I were meant for each other and watching my children sleep. There are so many more. I am lucky.

Thanks for this.


Melanie January 19, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Nicely said Abbey. I love to think of these little moments in life where everything seems so happy. One moment that comes to mind is a warm summer night watching fireworks in my backyard sitting next to my husband.

Ashley January 20, 2010 at 2:12 am

This is so lovely–I will be thinking about it. I just love that you found this on Cook’s Illustrated! I wasn’t expecting to find that when I opened the link. Fun surprise!

callen January 20, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Some of those moments happen to be so simple that I fear I let them slide from memory too easily. But those one or two you always remember? They are enough. 🙂
I just watched a Japanese movie called After Life, which reminds me of this…people having to recall the one perfect memory they’d want to keep forever. It was wonderful.

Ann H. January 20, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Abbey, thanks so much for the info and link to the editorial. Although I subscribe to Cooks Illustrated, I hadn’t read that piece. How very happy and inspiring at the same time. Your post has got me thinking of my own moments. What a wonderful opportunity to remember and to record them.

Michelle January 22, 2010 at 11:04 am

what a lovely post and I enjoyed reading through the editorial.
Hope you dissertation went well and you are relived to have it behind you.
PS let me know a good time to meet up for coffee and baby down low!

Nancy January 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm

This post went straight to my heart and opened it, thank you for that.

Some of mine: the third day after I met Dan in Laos, laughing and hatching crazy schemes and falling in love; holding Oskar in the minutes following his amazing birth; and almost every time I give an acupuncture treatment.

Life is good.

Joanna January 22, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Thank you for sharing your moments with us, Abbey! What a beautiful & inspiring post. Marie Curie’s words are ones to live by.

G. January 23, 2010 at 6:35 pm

such beauty and inspiration in those words. thank u.

pam robinson January 23, 2010 at 7:30 pm

this is so lovely… i am so happy to have found your blog… have a wonderful weekend x pam

Ellen January 24, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Thank you! You have made me think….what a wonderful list to make in January! I think I will get started…smiles.

dianamuse January 25, 2010 at 11:26 am

What a lovely post, Abbey. And that article is chock-a-block full of glorious (and beautifully documented – such writing!) remembrances. (Marie Curie’s courage and fortitude are ongoing inspirations to me. That quote is worth committing to memory.)

We’re cheering you on to the finish line!

Heather January 25, 2010 at 4:53 pm

charming, charming and lovely! Thank you so much for this post. Will finishing your thesis be one of yours!? I still remember strutting my stuff so happily past Boston Common to deliver my thesis presentation in grad school. That would definitely be one of my moments! The other will require more thought. Interesting and fun exercise.

Nina January 25, 2010 at 10:17 pm

lots of moments with my son. when I first saw his adorable face breathing – crying – living after a terrifying week in the hospital hoping he would survive being born 7 weeks early (he did). playing, talking, watching him grow…its all magical.

erin January 29, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Hi Abbey. This is my first time commenting on your site, but I’ve been a reader for a long time. This post was really so wonderful, thanks for sharing.

Megan January 29, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Beautiful, Abbey. I love this.

Dog-Eared January 30, 2010 at 11:22 am

I lived alone in California last summer doing an internship and could seriously feel myself growing up.

greenvillegirl January 31, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Was this photo by any chance taken outside the Rodin Museum?
I too love this post. Sometimes it’s too easy to get so caught up in everything else that you forget to recognize and appreciate those moments. 🙂

Elizabeth February 1, 2010 at 9:48 am

Thanks so much for the reflective post! It’s really helpful! x

Erin February 6, 2010 at 1:35 am

Lovely post! This reminds me of a question I heard last year that really got me thinking (though I can’t remember where I heard it): “What are the seven most amazing things your eyes have seen? Describe the places, objects, people or accomplishments in your life that are the most meaningful and life-affirming experiences of your existence.”

gia September 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm

1. going overseas for the first time
2. going to NY for the first time
3. going to college

I guess I like to travel. 🙂

gia September 15, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Oh, and seeing Rembrandt’s paintings in Holland, were a moment of godliness.

Danie at Pasadya April 13, 2012 at 4:48 pm

This is so inspiring. Thank you for this.

pamela April 13, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Beautiful beautiful beautiful. Three beautifuls means the beauty is deep past the ears & eyes, the flesh, into the heart. This post is fulfilling. Thank you.

hind April 18, 2012 at 1:47 am

My moments of joy are those when I travel and explore new places, new lifestyle and cultures. As an Arab woman my happiness is my freedom which I struggle to keep! I like your blog very much. Thanks to A CUP OF JO, I found a link to this post in it. Cheers

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