I attended a writer’s workshop near Seattle last week. I camped in a little tent in the middle of a beautiful forest. I was camping alone, but I didn’t feel lonely. The frogs of the nearby pond serenaded me nightly. I would lie each night in my tent beneath two huge old spruce trees and revel in their chorus. Here’s what I learned about frogs…
Frog timing is impeccable. Each night, one or two tiny frogs begin the frog chant and then another 2 or 3 will join in echoing the melody of the first perfectly. Then a third group joins, echoing the same melody. They join their voices and build a master symphony piece by piece, until their ultimate harmony rises and falls, undulating and echoing off the pond. Each masterpiece only lasts for one moment, maybe two. And then silence. Each serenade abruptly stops as if a maestro has cut the air with his baton to signal cease! Yet there is no maestro conductor on this pond. Only a few tiny green frogs magically harmonizing together.
At times, the nightly frog serenade would get so loud that I would literally have trouble thinking. But I was actually ok with that. Witnessing their creation up close was my compensation. It was fascinating to me that each frog sang out his piece of the symphony so loud and proud. I sensed zero hesitation and not an ounce of shame. One night as I listened to the symphony, I wondered to myself what I might learn from these little frogs. There had to be a reason my tent was positioned on the front row at this frog concert. It was too serendipitous to be an accident.
On my third night in the front row at frog symphony hall, I finally received the lesson frog was offering. I realized that I had been lying in my tent each night, debating with myself about how much of my story to write. I had been debating how much of me it was safe to share with the world. Meanwhile just outside, a tiny little frog sat on the muddy bank of a tiny little pond and bellowed out his song. He bellowed out his offering to the Gods with joy and gusto, night after night with little hesitation, Frog refused to be silent. He just belted out his creations for all the world to hear.
Frog didn’t waste time worrying about who was listening. He didn’t worry about what his audience would think of his song. He just sang his song night after night. He sang it with gusto. Maybe, just maybe I was lying there in a tent next to frog’s pond to receive a lesson in the art of expressing myself with joyful abandon?
Joyful abandon… I love the sound of that. Juicy green joyful abandon! I could definitely use more of that in my life. 🙂
noun – complete lack of inhibition or restraint