People may ask, “Dana, your day job entails getting screamed at by people, and sexist bullshit is rampant. How do you remain cheerful in the face of this?” Go on, ask, so I can say, “People may ask….”
There’s several answers to that, some involving rocks, some awesome allies leading the charge against dumbfuckery, and some the amazing regulars I have at this cantina. However, one answer is foremost in my mind at the moment: Froggies!
Froggies like this one, which likes to hang round in my friend Paula’s garden and is tiny but precious.
I might have mentioned I’ve been after frogs. There’s a ditch that runs in front of the call center with water in, and whilst rambling about it one afternoon, I heard a rather large sploosh. This alerted me to the possibility of frogs in the area. I made it a mission to catch the buggers. Not literally catch, mind. The poor things are trying to relax, last thing they need is some weird human plucking them out of their hidey-place and eyeballing them. But I wandered down on breaks all the following week, practicing stealth approaches, and getting to know their habits. After a bit, I figured out where in the ditch they were likely to be: near the deeper water. Awesome! This is observation and, I believe, deduction. Or is it induction? What do you call it when you decide the frogs like deeper water because that’s the only place you’ve heard them go sploosh?
A few days of steadfast effort led to my first sighting of the main frog. It was resting on the bank in its slate-gray glory, and didn’t give a toss there was some woman standing on the sidewalk gawping at it just so long as the woman stayed on the sidewalk. Also, I didn’t have my camera. Wildlife is remarkably good at posing when I haven’t got my camera.
When I came prepared, this was all I saw:
I didn’t even see that much at first, because the little bugger had splooshed into the water the instant it heard me coming. How is it that the wildlife round here always knows when I’ve got the camera ready?
Fortunately, there are three froggies to choose from, and the one just down the way didn’t give a rat’s ass whether I had a camera or not.
And then, by the time I’d got back up to the main part of the ditch, Froggy the First was peeking out, and looked mightily astonished that freaky lady was back again.
Well, I was determined to get a photo of the first frog. I’m partial to it, for one thing, and for the second, it’s closer to the sidewalk with fewer obstructions in the way. And after a few days’ disappointment, I at last managed a few photos.
Got a nice set-up there, hasn’t it? Some soft mulch, there’s grass up the hill, rocks, pretty water plants, and a nice deep pool to leap into and hide when freaky people drop by.
I’ve begun leading field trips to the frogs. And it turns out that my friend Amanda is a frog whisperer. Frogerick the Freaked didn’t freak a bit when she approached with her camera phone: it sat there nice and quietly while she stepped closer, and she managed to get an excellent shot.
I’m a pathetic sucker for froggies. Even though I’m reasonably sure these are bullfrogs and therefore icky invasives, I still squee when I see them. Okay, so I sounded angry all week when I hadn’t seen anything more than the ripple of water left by their swift leaps to safety. I know I swore I’d “get those fucking frogs.” But I said it affectionately, and because it alliterates well. Now, every break, I go bouncing down to see the froggies, and do my best not to upset them too much, although the sploosh they make is bloody adorable. And they’re quite athletic. I’ve seen Frogerick the Freaked leap from that bank into the water many times: it has excellent form.
The old pond,
A frog jumps in:
-Basho (trans. Alan Watts)
Did you know there are at least 30 English translations of Master Basho’s frog poem? Something tells me I’m not the only one semi-obsessed by frogs. I like the sound of the Japanese:
Furu ike ya
mizu no oto
It fits frogs, somehow. Simple creatures, simple acts, simple words, combined into enduring beauty.
That’s what keeps me happy. That, and rocks, and you.