Why is this man smiling?
Because he’s just spent an entire week with family: wife, son, and son’s girlfriend. Never mind that he also drove out of a forest one day to discover that the Adriatic had been waiting with open arms to greet him. Never mind that one day he stood on ground at the top of a fortified hill, in an alley so narrow that he could almost touch the walls on either side, at a spot where people have been living continuously since ca. 1600 B.C. Never mind that one day he climbed up to the ruins of a cramped Byzantine-era fort, just stone stacked on stone at the peak of hump-backed island, and tried to imagine the life of an ancient watchman who woke every morning to that impossibly scenic view. Never mind that he was witness to the marvel of pristine lakes pooled on a series of natural terraces, such that the one lake cascaded into its companion below, while it in turn poured into the next. Never mind that he and his wife had an entire lunch one day on a working farm — bread still warm from the oven, local olive oil and white wine, a plate of meats and cheeses and olives and marinated mushrooms, bean soup with corn niblets, handmade ravioli in a sage sauce — for the equivalent of twenty U.S. dollars. Never mind that every day he was immersed in a babble of languages — Croatian, German, Italian, French, English — which served as a pleasing reminder that when we’re not killing each other, we humans can be wonderfully inventive and variously beautiful.
Never mind all that. He was with his own beloved people. That’s why he’s smiling.