From my bedroom window, I can see several hundred yards to the neighboring field and barnyard of a small farm. In this field, a horse, pony, donkey, goat, and llama wane away their time grazing and sharing time together. While getting dressed in the morning, I watch this sampling of Noah's Ark. However, it is the llama that attracts most of my attention. In fact, I was so intrigued by this animal's behavior that I went over to the fence to get a closer look. Surprisingly, the llama came over to me and started talking:

Lorenzo> What can I do to help you?

Al> Nothing. I was just curious about how a llama ever wound-up living next to me. After all, aren't all llamas from South America?

Lorenzo> Well, that's only partially true. By the way, my name is Lorenzo Llama. It's just like Lorenzo Lamas but spelled differently-just a llama joke.

Al> Well, my name is Al Campbell-like the camel but spelled differently.

Lorenzo> If you don't mind me asking, what do you do when you aren't befriending a llama?

Al> I am a psychotherapist, writer, and adjunct professor at the University of St. Francis. When I am not counseling, I spend a lot of my time working on my computer. I write a self-help column for the Dixon Telegraph and human-interest articles for various magazines. I also teach an online college class over the Internet. My computer is essential to my livelihood.

Lorenzo> I've heard about computers-what a marvelous tool! I guess that you really rely upon it for your work.

Al> I sure do. I went out of town over New Year's and was concerned about my computer working when I returned. There was a lot of fear associated with the turn of the millenium. It was a milestone. I actually got into the excitement and celebration. It was fun to usher in the new age.

Lorenzo> New Year's didn't interest me or other llamas very much. Y2K wasn't a big deal either. We aren't heavy into computers. Two thousand years is a drop in the bucket for us. Llamas and humans have been dealing with each other for at least Y5K.

Al> With your perspective on life, what is the meaning of our existence? Life seems to me to be such a major effort and then we die. In a couple of generations, most of us will be forgotten. It just seems to me that we put an awful lot of effort into living this life but for what?

Lorenzo> Don't you see that life is a grand experiment and needs each of us to do our part in the great scheme of things?

Al> I don't understand the scheme. We put in our time, which is filled with struggles and hardships, and then it's over. That just seems like such a waste of time and effort.

Lorenzo> Come a little closer; I want you to understand this. The beginning of understanding the meaning of life is to understand that there is no meaning to life.

Al> What?

Lorenzo> It is we and only we that put meaning in life. Life doesn't carry intrinsic meaning. So we have a choice: to live out our time here on earth complaining about the meaninglessness of life or we can affirm that since there is no meaning, we can put meaning into life.

Al> That sounds great, but if life doesn't have meaning, what do we put into life to make it meaningful?

Lorenzo> We put meaning into the meaninglessness of life when we love another. Everything else that we do seems to pale in comparison. Loving and experiencing love is our reason for being. In less than a couple of weeks, you people will be celebrating Valentine's Day. This should be a reminder to us all why we are here. Life can be very meaningful if we take seriously our ability to love one another. You people need to broaden your understanding of love. You think that it merely means that you should love other people. However, you need to understand that you are not the only creatures that desire and deserve love. In fact, all nature needs to be treated with love. If you don't learn this, both you and the environment will suffer.

This article appeared in the Dixon Telegraph on 2/4/00.

To read the complete interview with Lorenzo, visit http://wolverton-mountain.com/interviews/llama.htm