I have seen the frogs

I have seen the frogs
in the northwest

all you have to do is be quiet
near the puddles
or a pond

walk there very very quietly

in the spring they are singing
to each other
calling
a symphony of longing and joy
and they don’t hear me
when I walk very quietly
at the end of the world

as a child my father teaches me
to catch frogs

very quietly
approach the pond
or puddle

if the frog hears you
it will duck under water
you will only see a ripple
spreading out

or it will hop
into the woods
and hide

my father
would occasionally use frogs
as bait
to catch northern pike
a live frog on a hook
frogs scream
when you stick a hook through their back

I hope they go into shock then
and don’t feel much

one we’d seen this
my cousins and my sister and I
when my father got his fishing rod
we’d run through the woods
yelling “Hide the frogs, hide the frogs!”
and we would catch any frog
that was dumb enough not to hide
and quickly set it in the woods
to hide it from my father

we would check the puddles, too
feeling in the brownish muck
to make sure no frog was hidden
in the shallow puddle
come out, you must go in the woods
to survive

to catch the smart ones
normally
we would tiptoe to the puddle
hoping a frog was facing the other way
if they saw us, they were gone

slowly bend down, hand out
behind the frog
reach gently
grab just above the back legs
not too hard, don’t squish it

I was under ten
on a canoe trip
when I run to my father
“A frog! A frog! The biggest frog I’ve seen!
Papa, come help!”
My father comes.
An enormous frog is beside the canoe.
“Catch it.” says my father.
“Please! You catch it!” I beg.
My father creeps up on the frog.
His hand moves out slowly.
He grabs the frog, who tries to jump
and croaks, a bass, huge mouth.
“It’s a young bullfrog,” says my father.
“It will get even bigger.”
He hands it to me.
I take it carefully, shaking a little.
“We could eat it’s legs.”
“NO!” I say. I just want to hold it for a minute.
I turn it over and gently stroke it’s throat.
The frog goes limp, mesmerized.
I set it down gently, right side up,
near the water.
I squat by the frog and wait.
I am waiting for it to wake up.
The frog is so beautiful.
I wait until it wakes up
and returns home.

Fragrance Lake 2

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: wanderlust.

“And how are you getting back?” I ask my daughter. “Are you going to edge backwards?”

She laughs.

Out on two limbs. Logs. Woman balanced on two logs sticking out into a lake.
Out on two limbs. Logs. Woman balanced on two logs sticking out into a lake.
Steady….
Ta-da! Woman turned around on logs, to return, arms out!
Ta-da! Woman turned around on logs, to return, arms out!

And she returns without falling in the lake.

Fragrance Lake

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: balance.

My daughter and I hike in Larrabee State Park on Saturday. We went up to Fragrance Lake and around it. I wouldn’t go out these two logs, would you?

But she did!

Woman balancing on two logs sticking into a lake.
Woman balancing on two logs sticking into a lake.

The small lake was very still. I love the small ripples fanning out from the logs. And clearly the very end is floating. She leaves her cell phone and outer coat on land. How far will she go?

slippery

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: slippery.

The front rocks at the lake slope down into the water. The rocks are terrifically slick when it first rains.

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They are also slick when we try to step into the lake to swim.

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We invented a new way to get in this year. On the edge of the water, go forward a bit and then…

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slide in….

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twilight

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: crepuscule.

Honestly, my brain wants to mix it up with corpuscle. The poet part of my brain wants to play with both words and is thinking about creepy twilight stories more appropriate to next month. With characters wearing crepe, creeping around, carping about corpses. This is sounding more and more like a Charles Addams cartoon.

life on the water

I used my zoom lens for this water strider, about fifteen feet out in the lake. It was the leaf that caught my eye first:

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I thought it was an insect stranded on a leaf, but no. It left the leaf quickly. How amazing! Family Gerridae, here. A college friend from Florida calls them Jesus bugs: they can walk on water. Over 1700 species have been identified. Think of being out in the waves on the water, no boat.

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And prayers for those in the storm’s way and flooding.