Once again he could feel its approach. The great dread, the great tiredness. The overwhelming urge to quit, to retire. It was the feeling that told him that all his efforts were vanity, that wisdom was a trap.
The black dread came like the lapping of a tide, always it seemed inevitable, at most he was throwing rocks against the sea, beating it off for a time, yet knowing it would return again in force.
Nin sat on a log in the middle of a foul, smelly bog and pondered these things. The air was thick, a hot sticky moisture stuck to his fur. The sky was grey and lumpy, heavy clouds full with rain lingered above. The log was covered with a thin, viscous slime that found its way between his paws. “How positively terrible,” thought Nin. It was the perfect place to brood.
Just then a large green frog jumped out of the water and plopped down beside him. “Good day, fellow hopper,” said the frog cheerfully.
“Is it?” asked Nin. “If it is I cannot see it so. I am a mere rabbit, unfamiliar with bogs and swamps, but this place—and this day—seem particularly unpleasant to me.”
The frog took a quick look around; at the sky, at the water, at the log. “It is, in my summation, a lovely day,” he said. “Quite lovely.”
“The air is thick and foul,” protested Nin. “Dank and distasteful.”
The frog inhaled deeply. “The scent of life! The swamp is full of it! A change of pace for you, yes, from the flowers and the sweet summer grass? Enjoy the contrast.”
Nin looked up. “The sky is a horrible miserable grey,” he said.
“Soon a wonderful, refreshing rain will fall!” replied the frog. “And all will be washed and made fresh again.”
“This log is wet and slimy.”
“Would you prefer it to be dry and dusty?” asked the frog.
A reluctant smile crept across Nin’s face. “You are a very wise frog. How did you achieve such peace of mind?”
“Hmm,” thought the frog, “mainly I sit on my log and think about how lovely a day it is.”
“That’s it?” asked Nin.
“That is really all I do. That is all anyone has to do.”
Nin reflected on these words. “To sit still and admire the scenery—you make life sound simple, friend.”
“Hardly! I have purposefully structured my life this way. I have cut and pruned out many distractions and frivolities! But now I can sit for hours! Sometimes I lie so still that big tasty flies come land on my head, and then I flick my tongue and eat them!”
“Would you like to join me?” asked the frog.
“How long?” asked Nin. “A week? A month? A year?”
“How long does it take to learn this skill?” asked Nin.
The frog considered the question. “A lifetime I suppose, well, at least, that’s how long it has taken me. But I would not classify it as a skill, as such. It is more of a lifestyle, I suppose. It is not about learning to sit, you merely have to sit.”
Nin sat back. “That sounds difficult. I am a quick and ravenous learner, hopping from one challenge or scrap of wisdom to the next. It is the nature of rabbits to hop.”
“Ah, I’m beginning to understand your problem,” said the frog. “I too, enjoy a good hop, but a good hop is nothing without a good sit. Indeed, I have found that a purposeful sit leads to a purposeful hop.”
“Indeed,” said Nin, and he resolved to try sitting with this new mindset. And he sat for a time on that slimy, slick log in that dank foul bog under the grey, heavy clouds and he, much to his own surprise, had a pretty okay time.