Happy Sounds

Are you a ceraunophile? That is: are you deeply fond of thunder and lightning?

Do ‘swinter’ (enough with the swinter) storms have you plugging your ears under a mound of blankets? Or, are you ears wide open – relaxed, inspired, loving the crack and rumble of the thunder?

Most of us can quickly identify our favourite songs. But, what are your favourite sounds? Perhaps these are sounds you have consciously or unconsciously sought out to calm your nerves over the stress of the last few years.



In a broad 2019 survey, Heathrow Airport polled travelers around their favourite sounds. Their goal? To create a relaxing soundtrack. And what did Brits choose? As you’ll see below, thunder did come in at #5.

Britain’s Favourite Sounds
i. A crackling open fire
ii. Waves crashing on a beach
iii. Babies laughing
iv. Rain against the window
v. Thunderstorms
vi. Birds singing
vii. The crunch of boots on fresh snow
viii. Wind through the trees
ix. The crunch of leaves in the forest
x. Cats purring
xi. Hearing the sound of the ‘sea’ in a shell
xii. Sizzling bacon
xiii. Church bells ringing


Richard Diebenkorn. Women Outside. 1957


Perhaps some of your favourite sounds reflect the happy memories they invoke. In another poll, 2,000 British adults aged 50 plus were asked to identify the sounds that were most likely to trigger happy, nostalgic memories. Their top choices?

Top Sounds To Trigger Happy Memories
1. A specific song or piece of music
2. Waves crashing on the beach
3. Singing birds
4. A crackling fireplace
5. Walking on fresh snow
6. A waterfall
7. A Cat purring
8. Trees blowing in the wind
9. Rain on the window pane
10. Rustling leaves
11. Church bells
12. Bees buzzing
13. A thunderstorm
14. Rain falling on leaves
15. Children playing outside
16. Lawns being mown
17. A fountain
18. The radio playing
19. Sheep baaing
20. Seagulls squawking


Richard Diebenkorn. Girl On a Terrace. 1956

21. A train going over tracks
22. Cows mooing
23. A cork popping
24. Dinner being served
25. Pouring a drink
26. Mail being delivered
27. Food cooking on the stove
28. Cicadas humming
29. Sports stadium
30. A kettle boiling
31. An airplane flying overhead
32. A crowd cheering
33. Horses galloping
34. A beer bottle or can being opened
35. Dog barking
36. Fish jumping out of water
37. Street entertainers
38. A toaster popping out toast
39. A coffee grinder
40. A garden sprinkler

Header: Richard Diebenkorn. Coffee. 1959


With This Wedding Cake


Leap Less

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton