Sandy the elephant and Zoot the dog were, without doubt, the best of pals in the whole wide world. They loved to sit by the river and watch time floating past their little seat.
“You’re quieter than usual, young Zoot,” said the elephant.
“Just thinking,” Sandy replied. “Just thinking.”
“Thinking about what?”
“Well, Sandy my oldest friend, I was wondering if those birds ever worried about things,” said Zoot.
“Well…that they might fall out the sky, one day,” said Zoot, worried.
“You think it might happen, young fella?” Asked Sandy.
“Don’t see why not, everything is possible in this life. Everything. I mean I had an aunt who worried all the time about her tail falling off.”
“And did it?” Sandy asked.
“Well no, but she did get electrocuted when she was peeing up against a lamppost.”
“But that’s nothing to do with her tail falling off,” said Sandy.
“But she did worry that something terrible was going to happen and it did,” said Zoot, a little concerned.
Sandy took a deep breath through his trunk.
“My little Zoot, what if we all had a terrible end. Imagine it was the only way out of this life.”
“Okay,” said Zoot.
“What would be the point of when and where it was going to happen? Since it was going to happen, then making the most of the time you had would be the only way forwards. If you worried about your terrible end all your life, then your life would already be finished the moment you started worrying.”
“So you’re saying, don’t worry?” Asked Zoot.
“No, I ain’t saying that at all. Worrying serves a purposes sometimes. Like when you are lost in a wood, it makes you more on edge – ready to run should anything take place.”
“’Take place’?” Asked Zoot.
“Just forget about that. Why, oh why, should the birds worry about falling out of the sky? If it happens to them, then it happens – but they don’t let it bother the life they’re living. Otherwise….”
“They are already dead,” said a proud Zoot.
“Exactly. Now try this,” added Sandy.
“Try what?” Asked Zoot.
“Imagine you only have five more minutes to exist on Earth.”
“Okay,” said Zoot.
“So what are you thinking?” Asked Sandy.
“What I should do for the last five minutes of my life.”
“Aha,” shouted Sandy. “You see you are wasting five minutes worrying about nothing. Instead look at the sea and watch how beautiful it is, look at the birds and think how magnificent they are. That way when the five minutes are up you will go with a smile on your face.”
“Is having a smile important?” Asked Zoot.
“Of course it is,” replied Sandy. “Now sit here with me, your closest friend, and don’t worry about anything for the next five minutes.” So that is what they did, although, initially, Zoot worried about not doing it properly. Then Zoot got the hang of it and was surprised when Sandy said that the five minutes were up.
“Now,” said Sandy. “Try that for another five minutes and then another five and soon you’ll get there. And you’ll notice nothing bad has happened. You didn’t float up into space or have your tail fall off.”
And Zoot did see what Sandy was getting at. There was too much wonder in the world to let it be contaminated by needless worrying. Bad things would happen, they did to everyone, but no amount of worrying could or would change things.
And as Zoot said goodbye to his friend, he made up his mind not to worry for five minutes on the way home, and after that maybe he’d try another five minutes.
“See ya, tomorrow,” said Zoot.
“See ya, buddy,” replied Sandy.
bobby stevenson 2016