For approximately one month during the summer of my twenty-first year I experienced a continuous state of gentle elation that was nearly religious in nature but not induced by any form of spiritual exercise or experience. Neither was it chemically induced. I felt that no abuse, misfortune or accident could destroy this powerful sense of calm and security.The elation persisted through moments of sobriety as well as evenings of drunkenness and mornings of hangover. It endured more days of cloud than sun. It throve in hours of solitary dullness as well as in hours of madcap company. I cannot remember if it arrived suddenly or if it made itself known by a steady, barely-perceptible increase, one day after another. It occasionally incensed my friends, who found it contrary to my usual nature. At times I was amused by it. Mostly I was just happy to enjoy it, like a child, self-absorbed at play in a sunlit meadow or field. Its great virtue was that it persisted for so long during my waking hours and made everyday life more than bearable, unlike the various forms of ecstasy, which are always brief and inevitably lead to a sense of disappointment when they have worn off. Why this gentle elation arose when it did and what subtle alterations in my brain chemistry produced it I cannot know, but it vanished as mysteriously as it arrived and has never returned.