The Invincible Green Stick of Happiness

Tolstoy’s grave on the edge of the ravine at his estate Yasnaya Polyana
“Ясная поляна, могила Л.Н. Толстого 2” by Alexxx1979 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

After a night of haunting dreams that flowed as if they were written like running water, written on air, as the Roman poet Catullus once said, in the depth of a dark winter morning, I decided that I would take a walk in the afternoon, hoping that the sun would then appear, and it did, so I went walking toward the woods through deep white new-fallen snow all around me and entered a path into the woods across from my house that led toward a deep ravine below which were deep dark caves that once sheltered runaway slaves searching for the happiness of freedom, and I thought of them as I poked under the snow on the odd chance that I might find the green stick of happiness that Leo Tolstoy’s beloved brother, ten-year-old Nikolai, had once told the five-year-old Leo was buried by a ravine on the edge of the forest, a stick upon which were written the secret words that would bring love, peace, and happiness to everyone, and would do away with death, for their mother had died three years earlier and their father would die four years later, but I saw nothing and continued deeper into the forest to try to shed a sad feeling from a lock-down that had brought my spirits low as I tried to understand why so many people I knew were so enslaved, their minds forged in manacles, and how sad and dispirited it made me knowing that they were locked away from me in some conventional reality sold to them by liars, but perhaps you like the word depressed and you can use it if you want, but all I know is that the spirit of happiness had escaped me as I trudged deeper into the forest between the high pine trees until the trail I walked was intersected by another and a man met me there, as if he knew I was coming, a man with a long white beard and piercing eyes and we nodded and then he continued beside me and asked me what I was looking for, which startled me, and I was speechless and he said he’s been through here many times, especially by the ravine, and Leo told me he never could find the green stick of happiness his brother once told him was buried there but he was not giving up, he never would do that since he loved his brother who would never lie, he knew the stick existed and that’s why he himself was buried there, and he told me to continue seeking, because the stick was real and yes, those slaves knew it and were in that ravine for a reason, so we walked on as a man approached us who said his name was Albert, and I said Camus, and he said yes, let’s walk together guys, for these woods are dark and deep I know, but look up at the sky, the clouds have parted and the sparkling sky is speaking to us, right Leo, who said yes, I remember when Andrei in my book War and Peace lay wounded on the battlefield and looked at the sky, I wrote that he realized then that that lofty sky was infinite and that happiness was possible, that especially in the midst of battle you have to look up and realize that, that there are deeper reasons for things and petty concerns shield the spirit of truth and that even in the midst of war you can glimpse that reality, and it sounded good, I had heard their spiels before, or had read them to be accurate, they were great writers but this was my life and I couldn’t live in their books, but I wasn’t reading, I was walking, or was I dreaming, and then we came to the end of the path leading out of the woods and the sky opened out from the vast tree cover and they were gone and I was all alone again as usual, dispirited and heading back home on the road by the lake when I looked up at the sparkling blue sky and light that radiated off the snowy frozen lake and rose back to the sky in columns of undulating glory and felt the sun that had warmed the day and heard birds in the trees and was overwhelmed with a rush of happiness I can’t describe but it was not a dream and I walked in joy for a few minutes, knowing I had found the stick and that in the depth of winter, as Albert said, I had finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer, but that it came and went like running water, like flowing air, but it was enough for now.

  Albert Camus with his best friend Michel Gallimard, both of whom died from a car crash on  4 January 1960. On the right is Jeannine, Michel’s wife, who survived the crash.
“Albert Camus, Michel y Jeannine Gallimard” by Antonio Marín Segovia is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

11 thoughts on “The Invincible Green Stick of Happiness”

  1. For sure there are unicorns in the woods, elves are riding them. 🙂
    And it is a pleasure reading texts from american authors mentioning european writers. Tolstoi and Camus are the ones digging into the society deeper as many others. Their tool was the written word as nowadays the written word should be a tool to give us a chance to understand the reasons. But we all are far away from the goal. 🙂
    Here in Germany we have many of these stick searchers. 🙂 We are movin’ and maybe we can be a peacefull reaction to this global takeover. At least we try and we won’t surrender. Give the days always a smile. 🙂
    Greetings from the other side of the Atlantic

  2. This is a bit off-topic to this article, but there is a great review of Ed’s book, Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies, on by Ray McGinnis. It is a nice preview for me, as I have ordered the book and am anticipating its arrival. It looks like Ed ties a wide range of the deceptions to which Americans are subject together via his essays, including some topics I either had not heard from him or forgot about, notably the strange stuff which happened around the Laurel Canyon in the 60’s with a large number of the newly minted folk rock stars having family or personal connections to military intelligence or high ranking military officers – apparently being used as controlled opposition to thwart the antiwar movement of the time. This is one of the hardest topics for many of us to digest, especially if we are not already accustomed to finding out that everything we know is wrong. I look forward now to reading the actual book.

    1. I would like to pursue the Laurel Canyon story further. There are several clusters of retired intelligence folk. There are plausible explanations for some.

  3. In this world of madness I’m often surprised what lifts me now and gain out of the ether of humanity. Reading excellent articles is often uplifting and more recently I now listen to the lyrics of some forgotten songs and realise that they mean something:

    David Bowie “Heroes”

    Standing by the wall (by the wall)
    And the guns shot above our heads (over our heads)
    And we kissed, as though nothing could fall (nothing could fall)
    And the shame was on the other side
    Oh we can beat them, for ever and ever
    Then we could be Heroes, just for one day

    Interpreted for me to recall the murder of Jewish couple circa 1942.

    Billy Joel “River of Dreams”

    I don’t know why I go walking at night
    But now I’m tired and I don’t want to walk anymore
    I hope it doesn’t take the rest of my life
    Until I find what it is that I’ve been looking for

    Carly Simon “Life Is Eternal”

    But just how long and who knows
    And how and where my spirit will go
    Will it soar like Jazz on a saxophone
    Or evaporate on a breeze
    Won’t you tell me please
    That life is eternal
    And love is immortal

    Well I’ll keep looking.,

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