Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


Joshua Is Doing Nothing

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

January 31, 2005



This essay, Joshua Is Doing Nothing, is also the first in an octology about my son Joshua:
  1. Joshua Is Doing Nothing
  2. Two Human Beings One Heart
  3. You Can't Hold On To A Wriggling Puppy
  4. Joshua Nelson Mongezi  Platt
  5. Source Of Action
  6. The Magical Breakfast Burrito Assembly Line
  7. Return To The Creek
  8. The Magical Breakfast Burrito Assembly Line II
in that order.

It is also the fourth in a group of fifteen on Nothing: It is also the ninth in a group of eleven on People: It is also the prequel to Return To The Creek.

I am indebted to my son Joshua Nelson Platt who inspired this conversation.




Joshua my son and I stroll together slowly through the rolling green meadow talking as we casually flip a frisbee back and forth between us. Joshua points at cows. "That's 'Chocolate'. She's 'Pancake'. I'll call her 'Chocolate Milk'. That one is 'Patch'. And that's 'Alexandra'.".

Alexandra is my daughter, Joshua's sister, so I ask him "Why do you name the cow Alexandra, Josh?". He beams at me. "Because she's just like Alexandra, Dad. They both always say 'no-ooooo' ...".

I love his sense of humor. Our laughter echoes off the rock formations and vaporizes my concern that I still haven't reconciled my checkbook with last month's bank statement.

We walk to the edge of the meadow and down to the creek. This is the first time I've shown him the creek. He's literally beside himself with excitement. He sits down on a smooth sunny rock next to a pool with tadpoles. He can't take his shoes and socks off fast enough. He carefully lays them on a dry spot then gingerly steps through the eddies, his arms whirling around like mad helicopter blades trying to avoid ending up in the icy water.

I caution him "Joshua I have no dry clothes for you. If you get wet you'll be soggy and cold all the way home.". Of course the warning falls on deaf ears. He's too engrossed in a piece of moss, a newt, ripples caused by either a fish or a frog, and I realize my warning isn't for him: it's for me. Eventually his toes start to turn blue and he comes over to me to put his shoes and socks back on. I kneel down in front of him, remove my sweatshirt jacket and dry his feet with it. "Dad" he says "don't do that. Your jacket will get wet.". "Yes it will Josh" I tell him "but then your feet will be warm and dry and soon after that my jacket will be dry again. This is what Dads are for.". He looks up at me with nothing less than total adoration.

The moment is so rich that I lose all concern for the pile of paper and new incoming tax information back on my desk to which I haven't attended in about a week.

We gather firewood from beneath the oak trees which adorn the hillside like charcoal etchings. This is primal, basic survival. Want warm? Got wood? Loaded with the bounty we amble back toward the cottage. Joshua spots a couple of jackrabbits which he oohs  and aahs  about. I notice a coyote cresting the hill although it doesn't seem to notice the jackrabbits. I point it out to Joshua. A couple of frolicking chipmunks add to his wide eyed enjoyment. He takes my hand in his as he walks, balancing his oak bundle on his shoulder. "I love this place Dad. We did nothing today but I had the best  time.".

It is a priceless comment, enough to totally distract me from a looming mountain of legal work.



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