Once upon a time…
Once upon a time there was a little boy. A little boy who knew many many things. This little boy knew how to make pie and pasta. He knew how to make birdhouses and treehouses. He knew how to catch mice with his bare-hands and tame wild horses with his whisper. The boy spent all his days running wild in the country and hills. Numerous hours spent watching the ants make their homes. They would sleep all winter and then, when the temperature was just right they would wake up and go to work. The boy would watch them form their straight little lines moving dirt and twigs from here to there. He was captivated by the way they climbed trees in search of food.
The boy loved silence. But he knew that even in silence there is sound and he would sit for hours and listen to the trees talk to each other in the wind. And if he listened really really carefully, he could even hear the angel whispers telling the grass to grow.
There was one thing that the boy loved more than anything else. It was at night when he crawled into his daddy’s lap and fell asleep.
When he would wake he again become the little boy who knew everything. He knew how birds used their wings to float on pockets of air. He knew how fish swam and frogs made ribbit sounds. But most of all, the little boy knew the secret to life.
“What is the secret of life little boy?” Everyone would ask. The boy would look at the strangers and smile.
“Isn’t this nice?” he always answered before running off to watch the hummingbirds hover around the fluorescent colored flowers.
“‘Isn’t this nice’ is not answer,” the people would complain, throwing up their arms in exasperation and walking away. “The boy knows nothing.”
“Time is a sneaky cat who is behind you, waiting to pounce.” Said a wise old man once. And true, so true. Time followed the little boy and made him become a big boy and a bigger boy until he was no longer a boy but a man. A successful man. An educated man.
One day this man who had been the boy met a woman and he fell in love. He acted like time and followed the woman like a sneaky cat, but when he pounced it was to give her his heart.
Once upon a time there was a man who had been the little boy. The man lived in a big house with a wife and son of his own. And the man worked in a big building and told lots of other people how to make the world better.
“What’s the secret to life?” Even as he grew older the people still looked to him for the answer.
“Being ready for anything is the secret to life!” he said. “Being ready! … For everything!”
And he was ready for everything. But this was not easy to do and the man spent much time getting ready. Every day he found more things to get ready for and he spent more time getting his wife ready and his child ready and his friends ready and his workers ready and his company ready and … and … and one day he came home and found his wife crying.
“Why are you crying?” he asked, “What has happened that you did not prepare for? What have you forgotten to do?”
“No you’re not. I…I’m not ready for that!” The man left his wife there alone. He didn’t even look back. He buried himself in the troubles of everyone else. He lost his wife, his sons turned their backs, his home fell to ruin. He did not notice any of these things as they happened, his nose down in his papers and schedules.
Until one day…
“Your father is dying. Come home!”
The man who had once been the little boy crawled into the bed where his father lay dying and curled up next to the feeble old man and held him close.
“Where is your wife?” asked the father.
“I do not know.” replied the son.
“Where are your sons?”
“I do not know.”
“Please don’t die! I’m not ready for this. Please please don’t die!” cried the son.
“Shh. It’ll be ok. Now be quiet and listen.” said the Father.
So they did. They listened so hard that they could hear the trees talking in the wind. And the angel whispers telling the grass how to grow. And the ants preparing to sleep in the winter. And the father’s heart beginning to slow down.
“Isn’t this nice?” asked the father.
“Yes.” replied the son.
The funeral was long and sad and everyone cried for the father because he was loved and respected and many people were sad to see him leave.
“Goodbye, we loved you.” They all said.
Once upon a time there was a man who had been the boy who knew everything. And the boy had even known the secret to life but the man had forgotten. So one day the man went searching for his sons and when he found them he picked them up and he held them and he said.
So they did. They listened so hard that they could hear the trees talking in the wind and the angels telling the grass how to grow and the ants waking up from their winter sleep. And then they could hear their hearts beating so close together as they held each other.
“Isn’t this nice?”