Euphoria (eu-phor-ia): noun. A feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness
Euphoria is probably the most powerful—and rare—of pleasurable human emotions. It grabs you by the chest and squeezes your heart.
Romantic love—especially new love—is probably the single most universal source of euphoria, and I've been lucky enough to have experienced it more than once. But beyond that, what produces euphoria in any individual is largely based on his or her own personal experiences and emotional makeup. Since I am unable to tell what sparks euphoria in you, I'll give you some examples of those things which have produced it—and still produces it in reflection—in me, and hopefully that may spark recollections of your own euphoric moments.
Looking back, the first one that comes to mind is of, as a Naval Aviation Cadet on one of my first solo flights, flying through the top of a cloud and finding myself in a vast “valley” created and surrounded by whipped-cream-cloud mountains. Of the hundreds of training planes in the air at that same time, mine was the only one in that valley, with the pure blue sky above, the clouds all around me, and the patchwork green and brown quilt of the earth below. As I soared and dove and climbed and rolled, all alone, through this valley, I experienced an indescribable joy and wonder I'd never experienced before.
It was not until I was seventeen years old that my suspicion that I was not the only guy in the world not simply experimenting with homosexuality was confirmed in a movie theater in Rockford, Illinois. Even so, it was still many years later, after the military and college, that I experienced attending my first gay pride parade in San Francisco. Surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people like me, the knowledge that I belonged was truly euphoric.
My two recent trips to Europe produced several incidents of euphoria. The first trip, in 2011, I think of as a memories tour to revisit places I'd been while in the Navy 55 years before. But to find the battered concrete quay from which I'd dived and swum and laughed with two young Germans and two young Frenchmen so many years ago...euphoria. Instantly I was transported back in time to what I think of as possibly the happiest single week of my life. To find it again, to stand on the edge of that very quay and look down into the clear waters through all those years was...extraordinary.
During that same trip, in Venice...Venice!...I, Roger Margason, sat in the Piazza San Marco (!) on a warm April day drinking a beer while a six-piece orchestra in front of the restaurant played a waltz. The sense of pure joy and happiness cannot be put into words.
Also on the same trip, I revisited Pompeii and, in the garden of a 2,000 year old home, sat on a small broken column and listened to the whispers of the ghosts of people dead for two millennia. The sensation of euphoria was like a dry sponge suddenly immersed in water.
On my second trip, this year, while on a river cruise of the Rhine and Danube from Budapest to Amsterdam (Budapest? Amsterdam? Me?) I spent an evening in the ballroom of a 15th-century palace in Vienna (!), listening to an amazing nine-piece orchestra—the concert master was playing a Stradivarius—performing music Mozart wrote in that very building, followed by Strauss waltzes. Total euphoria!
How can I possibly devote so many of these blogs to bitching and moaning over the fact that life is not what I would have it be? I should be ashamed of myself and, on rereading this blog, I am.
Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1).