A Simple Lake Frog

bearskull lake frog 2

I must resist the urge to turn this ordinary frog into something more. Many cultures have seen magic when they look at frogs: here is the European witch’s familiar, the Egyptian goddess Heqet and China’s Ch’ing-Wa Sheng. Frogs hop around fairy-tales. They sometimes mysteriously fall down on us like rain. Everyone knows if you aren’t careful you can be turned into one.

Frogs are as wet and slippery as the journey of life itself. They are living proof of the possibility of transformation. Every single frog has shape-shifted from a tadpole into something completely different. Lick the right kind and you might be transported into an alternate reality.

George Orwell and others have drawn our attention to the beauty of their eyes. Surrounding the unknowable darkness are rings of brightest gold and green. They look like promises to me. What do they see?

Frogs are often used as the subjects of cautionary tales. How pesticides are slowly silencing the world and mutating our bodies. How inaction may inevitably lead to death. Everyone knows the one about the frog ignoring the danger of his world slowly heating up around him but few have made the connection to our own situation. There’s another story about how a frog stuck at the bottom of the well only ever sees a mere slice of sky.

I met this frog and a bunch of her friends in the land of water. I didn’t get to hear them sing but I hope I heard something else: the message that she doesn’t have to be other than what she is: a healthy frog just doing her sloshy thing.