文章作者 100test 发表时间 2011:08:05 21:42:22
Simple Happiness of Dwelling in the Back Streets
A secluded life has traditionally been deemed, as it seems, the supreme state of happiness, although such aloofness and retirement breed loneliness as well. Few people in fact end up as genuine recluses, whose contentment does not suffice to construe what happiness is for all.
As a common saying goes, while the “lesser hermit” lives in seclusion in the country, the “greater hermit” does so in the city. Not necessarily in solitude does reside true happiness which can be found in busy streets rather than in the woods.
Here in the city lanes the early morning sunshine filters through the carved old-style latticed windows on the walls and faintly gilds the exquisite potted plants in courtyards. As eggs sizzle in frying pans, the morning begins to fill with rising sounds: the soft voices of children, the chugging rhythm of car engines, the sweet exchange of goodbyes between husbands and wives, as well as the brief greetings among neighbors. Such back streets are busy but not chaotic, lively but not clamorous, plain but not wearisome.
Although the green patches at the end of the back streets are not so lushly verdant as those on the mountains, the urban air is permeated with a vitality lacking in the wilderness. Under pale yellow street lamps, each bench embodies diversified feelings—sweetness and happiness, joys and sorrows—all interwoven to slowly ferment in tranquility. No one knows what kind of pleasant surprise may be in store for him around the corner: a uniquely styled and busy cafe? Or a bar emitting jazz music? Or a coffee shop with tall stools and a relaxed atmosphere? Perhaps it is also satisfying just to sit outdoors on a wooden chair under a sunshade, chatting over a cup of tea about daily trifles with new friends.
All these elements, tempered and deposited by time, settled finally into a custom, a tacit understanding and a culture.
When neighbors and friends come, they share witty jokes about personal trivialities, implicitly understanding each other’s eye movements of like astuteness. Family members sit around the dining table, chattering through mouthfuls of food, and no one is bothered by the noise.
Those lanes, narrow as they may be, cannot hold back the pervading happiness...
But as dense, cold high-rises shoot up in the city, woefully accompanied by traffic congestion and air pollution, people’s happiness is little by little being eroded and lost. With more dwelling space and privacy, one has his “self” encircled in a solitary world, careful not to infringe on the souls of others, while also seeking not to be infringed upon. However, when one quiets down, the once tiresome hubbub now may evoke warm feelings and nostalgia.
To Manhattan with soaring skyscrapers, people prefer Florence with sun-bathed ancient alleys by the towering red dome (1). to Lujiazui with dazzling night lights, people prefer Wanhangdu Road with narrow lanes full of rollicking children. Even as one grows old, it is likely that his dreams would be embellished by the serenity of the grey old houses, the calls of vendors in a soft-toned local dialect, and the small lanes filled with soothing memories.
If observed with a perceptive eye, every inch of the walls and corners adorned with moss and ivy becomes a verdurous poem, which, neither elegant nor powerful, represents plain and simple happiness.
Perhaps it is not so difficult to define happiness after all. Happiness is an unfurled scroll of poems, describing ordinary alleys under the city skies.
No one knows how much simple happiness is seeping through those back streets lit up by the scattered lamps as the night falls...
(1) 即佛罗伦萨的Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (圣母百花大教堂）。据说该教堂是世界排名第三的大教堂，坐落在佛罗伦萨的中心地带.是佛罗伦萨最为著名的地标之一。圣母百花大教堂最为著名的是教堂圆 顶.八角圆顶为红色，顶高31米，最大直径为43米，建成时是当时最大的圆顶，圆顶的正中为尖顶塔亭。