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June 13th, 2008
Hap Mansfield’s Blog: The sun, the heat, the hell and happiness

I’m sure some paleoclimatologist could tell me why an orb broiling with hydrogen and helium reactions 93 million miles away can give Texas an edge on the light market.

But it seems to me that the sunshine in Texas is remarkable. I have lived and traveled all over the country and I am firmly convinced that the sun in Texas is, somehow, well, sunnier.

Yeah, it’s hot here. It can be very dry here, too. So why is it that the sun feels so darn happy?

I hate heat. I lived in Minnesota very happily (and coldly) for twenty some years. I like gray skies, cool weather and a few snowflakes. I’m not one of those sun-loving individuals who seek out tropical paradise locations for vacation.

I’m a born and bred Midwesterner; I don’t think I’ve even had a vacation for the last couple of decades. When I moved here I was pretty sure I would hate the weather and loathe the sunshine.

I moved here to be closer to a family member who moved here and has always loved it. I love him, but I was sure I would hate the sun with its constant, hot, pounding-down-on-your- head rays, burning your neck. Oh, that awful relentless sun that heats up your car (mine has no air conditioning) with the hot breath of hell. And this amazing thing happened—I immediately enjoyed the sun.

I kid you not, there is something about Texas sunshine that makes one happy. My finances (such as they are) are in a wreck, every project I’ve worked on the last two years has ended in failure, I can’t find a job (outside of this writing gig), I feel rudderless since my mom died and I am steeped in a pool of depression as deep as a human can be, yet the minute I step out the door and that Texas sun hits me in the face I feel better. In fact, I feel good.

So what if I’m a failure. Isn’t everybody at one time or another? So what if I’m broke. I’ll find some cash somewhere, eventually. So what if life seems a bit black, isn’t black an edgy, slimming color? Just look at that big blue Texas sky, look at those massive clouds, feel that wonderful happy sun! Life is good.

I wish I could bottle this sunshine and give it to you if you’re not lucky enough to be in Texas (They tried that once. I think it’s called Tecate. It’s good but it’s not as good as the sun.) But to those that live here, I urge you to think back on all the places you’ve ever felt the warm sunlight; L.A., San Diego, Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, Montgomery, Atlanta, Phoenix; and compare it with the sun right here, deep in the heart of Texas.

You know what I mean? Texas has a corner on the light market. Of course it’s still as hot as hell’s frying pan. But I’m so cheery from the sunshine that I don’t care.

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