Last week in the rains, a frog leaped out from a row of yellow beans I was harvesting and landed directly in my bucket about three feet away. As the bucket was almost full, and as I was on my knees, the frog and I were instantly eye-to-eye and intimate, his eyes showing greenish-yellow, mine maybe grayish-blue. I didn’t say anything, the frog didn’t say anything. And so we became studies for each other, two strangers trying on their Taoist way.
But before too long, I reached for a bean and tossed it, a long yellow bean in short flight across the divide to land perfectly perpendicular across the frog’s back and balancing there like a see-saw. The frog, greenish all over and web-footed, bumpy, squat and handsome. Yet not moving. Not flinching. Not twitching or pooping. All the frog could muster, it seemed, was to double down.
So I did likewise. I doubled down. There in the mud holding steady and watching the frog, the balancing yellow bean. His skin my skin. His feet my feet. His heart my heart. Our shared equilibrium, our shared jostle of bones, grievances, sunsets, our in-creeping earthly disappearance. Man and frog maybe not so dissimilar after all.
And then the frog jumped and disappeared into the same row of beans he had emerged from.
That’s how it ended.
When I looked in the bucket for the perpendicular bean, it was all just yellow.