The bullfrog behind my cabin has returned. He sings deep-throated melodies at dusk that reverberate out and over the river valley. I split oak logs into kindling for the early May frost and listen. I can feel the pain of loss in the depth of his song, the known feeling of holding a thing so precious so close and watching it go– on, out, away from you.

I swing my ax and sweat and listen. That deep wammp, wawammmp, wammmmp like the tired ache that comes after hours spent sobbing into your pillow, hoping your tears will transport you into another dimension, out beyond your memory. Nothing to console you but yourself. And the hope that your wailing prayer was felt by the sacred for whom you weep.

The oak splinters in golden brown slivers and reminds me of the maple tree behind my childhood home, logs appropriately placed to carry you up to a platform in the canopy. Here you could see clear over the barn and out to the creek. When you’re that small at that height, you feel mighty big. You can spot any trespassers attempting to do you harm, prepare yourself to jump out and over them the way the beefy men in the wrestling shows do.

It has sure taken me a long time to know that you can’t make yourself bigger than darkness. You can’t headlock it or bounce around and intimidate it. Can’t close the door on it and pretend it isn’t there. It’ll find you when it wants to teach you about the depth of things, like the way that bullfrog sings.

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