Happiness Within Our Grasp, Thunderously So

I mistakenly posted something I called “Thunder” a little while ago. It was an accident. Ignore it. But if you don’t, you’ll see I intended to incorporate it here. I think I’m a little distracted this morning; you know, giddy with the sense that happiness is within our grasp!


Yesterday began like too many days lately, a day soaked in the negativity of the world around me; a negativity, I might add, to which I have been contributing. The day got better, though. After I took my wife to her physical therapy appointment, I came home and got some things done. Nothing earth-shattering, but good. Later, I spent part of the afternoon preparing last night’s dinner of Tilapia Veracruz, accompanied by rice and steamed zucchini. Good stuff! And then, last night, I watched a few episodes of the second season of Dead to Me, a Netflix series. The first season was excellent; the second season, so far…meh. But by the time I watched it, I had mellowed.

Sometime during the day yesterday, I decided I could not continue twisting myself into knot about things over which I have little or no immediate control. This is not a new thing; I often reach such an epiphany. One of these days I’ll figure out how to keep it going. In the interim, I’m enjoying the realization that I have almost innumerable things about which to be happy. Happiness is within my grasp! It’s true of almost everyone, actually, though it requires a different, highly personal, perspective for each person. I won’t go into any of this for now. Suffice it to say each one of us who has at least one person in our lives who matters deeply has something about which to be grateful and, therefore, happy.


We are rightfully impressed by the ingenuity that led to the development of air conditioning. Willis Carrier is widely regarded as the inventor of the modern air conditioner. What brilliance!  Carrier invented a device to cool the rooms of a lithograph company in Brooklyn, New York. One hundred and eighteen years ago; our lives changed.

Now, consider that vast expanses of Earth’s surface can be cooled or heated as a result of slight changes in the direction or speed of the jet stream. I remember, when I was a child, the thrill of watching and feeling a powerful cold front, which we called a “blue norther,” sweep through Corpus Christi, Texas. A hot, humid day changed in an instant to an adventure in which the air was cold and dry and the sky turned an ominous obsidian blue.

If we thought Mother Nature was a sentient being, we would worship her ability to cool or heat entire hemispheres. But we don’t see her that way; she is simply an expression of complex physics too intricate and complex for us to understand, so we pretend we are far more advanced and capable than she. “She.” Why don’t we say Father Nature instead, or refer to it as “it,” instead? Or “him.” Those questions exceed my ability to understand. Besides, what does it matter, in practical terms? In the abstract, I am happy that Nature has more control than do humans. That makes me happy. Happiness is within my grasp!


The dictionary might define thunder as follows:

A loud, explosive, resounding noise produced by the violent expansion of air heated by a lightning discharge.

I have a different idea about thunder. It is a mystical, magical, wondrous CRACK!, followed by glorious rumbling growls that shake the foundations of the universe. Thunder explains, in an instant, the pointlessness of attempting to harness Nature. Yes, back to Nature. That wonderful, inexplicable something utterly outside of humankind’s meaningful influence. If I were a dictionary, I would define thunder thusly:

A loud, explosive, resounding symphony of immense sound, followed by glorious rumbling growls that shake the foundations of the universe and give enormous joy to all who listen and feel the unfathomable happiness it brings. Thunder is caused by the clash of lightning gods engaged in intense but enjoyable conversation.


I have errands to run this morning, errands that I will pursue with aggressive intent. That’s aggressive as in bold or assertive, not as in offensive, aggressive, or attacking.

And that’s that. I shall embark on this day with renewed enthusiasm and a sense that I can change the world when it is my time to do so.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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