Sunday, July 9, 2017

Summer School 26: We Belong Together

(Portions taken from my book,  Prayer of the Laughing Yoga Frog) 
The next week the professor tried to put the Laughing Yoga Frog out of her mind. 
Well, she kinda tried, but mostly she talked about the frog to her mother to her daughter to her students to her friends and imitated the pose the best she could much to their entertainment. 
The professor was so enchanted by the memory of the Laughing Yoga Frog that she googled it to see if she could sneak a peek at it online.
She tried "Yoga Frog" and "Laughing Frog" and "Cracker Barrel Frog" and "Most Amazing Happy Frog Ever" but nothing she tried brought an image of anything that came close to the amazing Laughing Yoga Frog. 
As life would have it, the next week she was hungry for eggs again and found herself at Cracker Barrel again. 
The professor went straight to the section where the frog had been and there it was, still standing still and quiet in tree pose laughing, still balanced, still patiently waiting to picked up and brought home. On top of that, the price had been slashed 30%. 
The professor stood possessively in front of the discounted-yoga-frog for as long as she could, but when her name was called she raced right up to the front, hungry and thirsty and ready for eggs. 
When she finished her meal the professor paid quickly and left the store racing past racks of books on tape and recipe books on things like how to use Coca-Cola in amazingly American dishes. 
She didn't take a single last look at the frog, not a peek. 
It's easier this way, she told herself, explaining to no one that she did NOT want to become someone who had frog statues in her front yard. 
In her heart she wished the frog a great life and then kept going, as quickly as her cute Jessica Simpson nude colored patent leather pumps with peek-a-boo toes allowed her to move, past the row of old fashioned rocking chairs, past the oversized table with the oversized checkerboard, into her car and onto the highway. 
The next week the professor again couldn't stop thinking about the frog. 
She googled it (nothing) she tried to draw it (no, too flat, too cartoonish) and then finally stopped and sat herself outside to be extra extra extra quiet. 
What is it I'm supposed to be learning from this frog the professor asked the universe and the answer was silence, silence and more silence. 
Am I supposed to jump like a frog, she wondered, but that didn't sound right. 
Maybe I'm supposed to work on this pose she thought and of course that was the answer so she got right into Tree Pose. 
She stood straight up on one leg, tucked the other foot above her knee making a right triangle. 
It was hard to hold, she fell out of it, laughing. 
Again she tried to hold the tree pose, to be like a tree, strong, silent, balanced. 
Again she fell down, laughing. 
Over the next week she worked on her tree pose over and over and over, telling people they should try it, they should try it and try to learn to be like a tree - solid, quiet, flexible, strong. 
People nodded and changed the subject. 
Morning after morning, night after night the professor tried to stand like a tree, to stand like the frog and keep her balance while looking up to the sky, to the universe and each time she tried she fell over, laughing. 
The next week again the professor had an overwhelming undeniable craving for eggs. 
She tried an Egg McMuffin but it felt empty. 
She tried Village Inn but it felt heavy. 
She tried to cook at home but it felt rushed and cold. 
Finally she made time and a date with a friend to go to Cracker Barrel proclaiming to the world Oh my GOSH I come here too often! 
She marched right to where the frog was and it was gone. 
She waited in front of the moon pies and orange soda somberly and waited for her name to be called. 
The professor ate her two over-medium eggs quietly and bitterly. 
They seemed rubbery and wet and tasteless at the same time. 
The bacon was fat and limp. 
The biscuit was hard and flat and doughy; none of the jellies even sounded good. 
Her diet coke tasted flat and weak. 
After a few minutes the professor gave up and just put her fork on the plate, realizing 
she didn't even know what she wanted at all anymore. 
When the professor approached the counter to pay, the extra friendly brown aproned cashier asked if everything was OK. 
Yes, yes, fine, she muttered in response then despite herself blurted out, I was just wondering about this Yoga Frog you had and maybe you have some more in the back? 
The cashier looked at her for a second with a blank face then pointed to the back of the store. There's still one sitting there. It's out of its box, I think. I'm pretty sure it’s the last one. 
The professor spun on her heels and quickly weaved through a crowd of slow moving people with large purses and bags, marched past the dice games and around the pile of gifts celebrating each branch of the Military, and looked exactly where the cashier had pointed, right there facing the bathroom, doomed to smell cinnamon apple candles read cute signs like “Don’t Judge me Until You Walk a Mile in My Flip-Flops." 
There, planted like a tree was the Laughing Yoga Frog, now 80% off on clearance. She carefully picked the frog up, cradled in her arms and said silently to her heart, to the universe, to whoever was listening, I hear you. I don't know why, I don't know what for, but it's clear we belong together
When the professor brought the Laughing Yoga Frog home she thought she would put it outside by the rose bushes, jasmine and fishpond where it would be a glorious center to a meditation area. 
She put it down, surrounded it with rocks and stepped back. 
The otherwise jubilant frog disappeared into the foliage small and lost, a point of joy dimmed into nothing. 
No, no this is all wrong the professor muttered then put the frog on her mantle. 
There, you will inspire me every day to be quiet, to be prayerful, to be happy and balanced like you. Perfect
The frog looked a little bit better there next to the flat screen TV, but because it was up so high no one could really see it's prayer and appreciate its balance. 
One day as the professor was packing her laptop into her shiny red faux-leather sack on the way to work she looked up at the frog and thought to the frog Hey! Are you happy there or do you want to come with me? 
The Laughing Yoga Frog didn't protest so the professor carefully picked her up and brought her to the car where -- just in case, you can't be to sure, you know -- she placed it in the passenger seat and strapped the seatbelt carefully around it's delicately strong pose. 
Once she arrived in her office the professor put the yoga frog down on the corner of her desk, unpacked her computer and turned it on. 
 She sat back in her chair and looked around for a suitable place for the frog to pose. 
Over there was a line of frogs the professor had rescued from her mother's house, frogs who were being evicted in a purgative house cleaning. 
The yoga frog was larger than the other frogs - the Puerto Rican surfer frog, the bank frog, the frog with the sapphire eyes, the two frogs melted together in a tango - like the Statue of Liberty placed among kindergarten play dough creations (no offense to the other frogs she thought and quickly then laughed at herself). 
The Laughing Yoga Frog wanted to stay on the professor's desk, right there by the pile of lucky rocks that sprung from the center of the earth and although they couldn't walk, couldn't talk, had no free will, here they were offering themselves up to the endless line of students who came to talk to the professor -- and now her frog -- about Andrew Jackson, the Cuban Missile Crisis and other such professor stuff. 
Over the next semesters the ever changing pile of rocks that visited the professor's desk and watched the frog do her yoga before leaping into the hands of students included blue lace agate for healing, crazy lace agate for balance and laughing; rose quartz for harmony and love; Amber for luck and success and to remember that sap was once running and then slowed down, so slow it transformed into art. 
One day the professor received an email that a student died. 
She wanted to turn her computer off and walk away from her office, her rocks and the Laughing Yoga Frog but instead she brought her laptop to exams and took pictures with each and every student as handed in their exams and received their lucky rocks. 
This one is for freedom, this one is for insight, this one helps you let go of beliefs that no longer serve you and don't help you become who you are intended to be. 
No matter how carefully the professor counted rocks when she went to buy them the professor always ended the semester with twenty or thirty rocks that refused to let themselves be picked, and instead insisted on being returned to her office where they could stay with the Laughing Yoga Frog.
If you are enjoying this story about former students, I hope you will consider supporting a current student, Marvin Cristopher Blanco