What Do I Say?

What do you say after 24 years of not seeing somebody who was a friend? Times, people, places--everything--changes. There is much to say. But what?

You ask me how I am after 24 years, and this is what I want to say:

This morning I saw a frog at the edge of the pond. I crouched down and watched him. He watched me. Time passed. It was all we had.I watched the flies flit around the green muck that would have disguised his life from me if it weren't for those eyes and the smile. I think he smiled. And time passed. I thought I'd leave him be after a little while. I moved on and there was a muskrat making his steady and straight way through a couple of Canada geese. And on up the hill. There were so many cigarette butts. I picked them up. There were 30 today. If I don't pick them up, they wind up in the water, in the animals, in the corpses of the animals in the water. So I pick them up.

I don't know where to begin to tell you why it is important to me to notice everything, to love everything, to give everything time. The past 24 years have brougth me to this place where one frog in the green slime of the pond is the universe to me, infinitely more interesting and exciting than anything else at all.

I want you to know why this is so. How do I tell you?

I have learned, finally, that all we have is right here, right now. There is infinite beauty in each and every one of these things. This is all I see, all I know, all I care about. There are reasons. But they are nothing alongside the smiling face of the frog in the muck. Come here a minute and have a look.