Weathering the Storm

Last night, as we watched another episode of The Sopranos, we heard the shriek of the NOAA weather radio  from the other end of the house. It was too far away to catch what the automated voice said after hearing the disruptive alert. We paused playback and checked our phones for weather warnings. Nothing. Back to watching the television screen. A few minutes later, though, we heard distant growls of thunder. I paused the show again and ran out to my car, in the driveway, to close the windows; beastly heat of late has prompted me to leave them cracked a bit. Not long afterward, we heard wind whipping the trees outside the window; then, the sound of raindrops pelting the house. Suddenly, all hell broke loose. Jagged lightning bolts, coupled instantaneously with explosive cracks of thunder, bathed the darkened house in blue flashes of light. In concert with an especially fierce lightning strike someplace close by, electric power to the house was cut. Though it was off for only a few moments, the outage was long enough to reset the WiFi modem and otherwise play havoc with electric-powered devices. Outside, the rain and wind—punctuated by claps of thunder and flashes of lightning—continued to display Nature’s intense power for quite some time. We wandered from window to window, watching leaves and twigs and branches, ripped from trees surrounding the house, and flung into the air.

We continued watching The Sopranos after the lightshow and booming symphony settled down. And, when we tired of the tension and drama of that show, I watched an episode of The Lincoln Lawyer. That series is by no means high art, but it was sufficiently distracting to keep my mind off the more unpleasant aspects of life in a society gone stark-raving mad.

Even as light begins to fill the sky as the time nears 6 a.m., I cannot see outside well enough to know whether any significant storm damage was done to trees close to the house. I suspect forest flora that, yesterday, were struggling to survive a lack of water in almost unbearable heat have been given an opportunity to live at least a little longer. I look forward to having a better look at how they respond as the day progresses.


Old age is like a plane flying through a storm. Once you’re aboard, there’s nothing you can do.

~ Golda Meir ~


My visit yesterday to an orthopedist was positive…basically. He said the pain in my knee was simply a natural response to the wear and tear of almost sixty-nine years of use. Nothing particularly troubling. Given that the pain I feel is infrequent and not unbearably severe, he said if he were me he would do nothing about it. And so that’s exactly what I shall do about it. Nothing.

After visiting the orthopedist and stopping at Michael‘s to allow mi novia to select a frame for a piece of art she bought during our recent road trip, we stopped for brunch at Cafe Kahlo on Central Avenue in Hot Springs. I recommend the place. Good service and good food. I like supporting a small, family-operated business like Cafe Kahlo. It helps that images of Frida Kahlo adorn the walls.

My follow-up with the surgeon’s (for my November 2018 lung cancer surgery) nurse practitioner was, as expected, positive. She scheduled me for a follow-up visit one year from now. Assuming the CT scan done in preparation for that visit shows nothing new, next year’s visit will be the last one scheduled; I will be free of another physician’s care. Hallelujah!


Advice to myself:

Anger is like a storm rising up from the bottom of your consciousness. When you feel it coming, turn your focus to your breath.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Generally speaking, I have been reasonably successful of late in remaking certain aspects of myself. I have tried to follow Thich Nhat Hanh’s advice and, more often than not, I have been successful. I have to remember, though, that this is not a situation of fix it and forget it; it will require constant, lifelong attention. And I have to be willing to accept missteps not as evidence that I have failed but as evidence that I always will need to continue to strive for something outside my grasp: perfection.


And here I am, ready to face whatever the day brings.

About John Swinburn

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