Last night, I blamed the chiggers for my insomnia. Sometime before 3:00 a.m., the chigger bites, too numerous to count, made sleep impossible. They. Itched. Like. Crazy. I thought I had discarded the outdated chigger-bite-relief-goo that I bought a few years ago at HealthMart. But last night, in an act of desperation, I went searching under the cabinets in the guest bathroom, where I found the remnants of the goo in a tiny plastic bottle. I put tiny dabs of the slimy stuff on every bite I could reach. With the application of the goo to each bite, I felt a sting. But before long, the itching declined in intensity to tolerable levels. Yet the places I cannot comfortably reach remain brutal reminders of last night’s pest-induced insomnia.  The little monsters have been feeding on my flesh for the last umpteen hours. I wonder whether, when I showered the last two days, I  failed to let the water get hot enough. Or, perhaps, I simply “rinsed” my skin when I should have repeatedly sprayed in, then scoured it with stainless steel brushes. Followed, of course, by an alcohol wash  finished with flames. It’s too late now to do much other than complain. The bites are there. Eventually, if they are like the other chigger bites I have suffered since moving to Arkansas, they will heal. But they will leave small scars, reminders that it is unsafe to go outside in Arkansas (when temperatures surpass 72°F) without drenching one’s skin and clothes with chigger-repelling poison.


Yesterday’s lunch with friends was enjoyable. It was the sort of long, leisurely engagement that can yield positive results simply because of the conversation that can take place in a buffet restaurant. Yes, I realize that sentence could be interpreted to suggest that certain conversations can take place no where else BUT in buffet restaurants. The only way to know whether that was the intent, though, would be to ask the formulator of the sentence to expound on his reasons for writing it. The danger of doing that is that he might produce a multi-volume book on the effects of buffet lines on conversations in Chinese restaurants. The contents of the book would be his opinions, presented as if they were indisputable facts, and could well change from day to day, depending on the way the sun’s light is refracted through windows coated with dust.


Even with the chigger bites, I felt pretty damn good last night. I feel like my little piece of the world is evolving as it should; even better than I expected. What have I done to deserve this…what shall I call it…onslaught of happiness? I don’t necessarily deserve it; but I should take full advantage of the mood when it strikes and should be appropriately appreciative…massively grateful…that I am so fortunate

I suppose what it’s all about may be this: I’m in the midst of a reboot. I expect this reboot will refresh my appreciation for experience and otherwise enable me to perform better as a human being. This reboot might well spur me on to lose weight, gain knowledge, be kinder and gentler, and give my undivided attention to someone who has important, worthwhile, powerful things to teach me. Yes, I realize I haven’t fully explained. It’s because I cannot fully explain. It seems I’ve just recognized how vitally important it is to acknowledge good fortune. It’s never too late to be better until it’s too late.


Every single day in 2014 and again in 2015, I posted at least one “thought for the day” in addition to whatever “real” writing I was doing at the time. Occasionally, I refer back to the collection of 2014 Thoughts for the Day (I actually collected them as if I were going to publish them as a book). This morning, I looked back seven years to see what “thought for the day” I posted. I didn’t like much of what I read. But I liked one part of what I wrote, this: “Care. Really care. Act on it.” And I think that’s exactly what I’ve been doing these last few days. I’m acting on something I really care about. It feels good.

The next day, my words continued on the theme, in a sense: “If I had one thing I could change about my life so far, it would be this: I would like to have been a better, more caring, more compassionate and empathetic person.” I like to think I’ve made progress there, as well; not in the years leading up to the time I wrote that, but since then. At least I hope so.


There’s a great deal on my mind this morning that I want to share with the world (that is, the world reading my posts). But I have things to do. Do laundry, take out the trash, make myself into a more appealing, loveable person, change the world…that sort of stuff. So I’ll stop writing and get to work.

About John Swinburn

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