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The Early Bird Catches the Frog

As I discussed in my memoir, I tend to have an unusual sleeping and waking schedule. Lately, I’ve been sleeping until 4 or 5 AM, which is good for me. When I am up so early that I can’t stay up late enough to host or to go out for “ladies night,” or to catch a play by my favorite theater company, The Little Green Pig, I get feel disappointed in myself. However, I often am the most energetic and creative in the morning, and I am witness to activities others may not see.

For example, one morning I came out of the bedroom and saw our youngest cat, Arty, chasing after something with intense focus. I only heard a squawk or two, and caught a glimpse of a little, jungle-green frog hopping away. I said, “Froggie!” and tried to let it out the door, but it leaped out of sight. A few hours later, I was using the bathroom and glanced at the sink to see the frog on the head of one of my bathroom accessories, a “Share a Smile Becky” Barbie Doll, who comes sitting in a wheelchair and wearing jeans and a plaid shirt. I had found Becky something much more flattering to wear years ago, a black negligee, and seeing her smiling with a frog on her head was at first alarming, but again I just said, “Oh, Froggie!” For the next couple of weeks, the frog made camp in the overflow section, or hole, of the sink. I would see it now and again with its upper body out of the hole, or even just its eyes staring back at me from inside the hole. My husband, Paul, and I tried flushing it out and leaving food for it to follow out, although we were never sure whether the frog got the deli meat or if the cats got to it first. I realized that I was maybe scaring it, too, because I tried to grab it with tweezers a couple of times, and that Arty liked being in the bathroom when I was in there. The frog became a topic of conversation on Facebook, as well as at Thanksgiving dinner. Only Paul had seen the frog, so on top of frightening the frog, I was beginning to feel like others didn’t believe me, as if the frog was some crazy delusion. I felt terrible!

For a few days after Thanksgiving, I talked to the frog gently, encouraging it out and reassuring it that we would return it to the pond. I call this “frog whispering.” Then yesterday, I kept the lights out in the bathroom, left another trail of turkey, and used Paul’s bathroom all day to give the frog some space. (Yes, we have our own bathrooms, which, for me, is a component of a good marriage!) And my techniques worked! When Paul got home from work that evening, I looked in my sink, and the frog had eaten all the turkey, the final piece of which was in a plastic container I use for paint water, and the frog was now in the container, softly ribbiting. I quickly covered it with a towel and yelled for Paul, who came in, put the lid on the container, and set the frog free outside. Paul said it jumped on a branch of a bush near the pond and looked happy. When I went biking around the pond this morning, I didn’t see the frog of course, but I was glad it had made it home. More on biking soon…….

I made a collage in honor of my frog story. I found and printed a photograph of my Barbie (“Rebecca,” I call her), two photographs of pond frogs, an image of a small, acrylic painting I did of Arty’s face, as he was watching me paint one day, and a smaller image of another painting I did of Arty’s sweet face. I then drew one of the photographs of a green pond frog in green, red, black, and silver glitter pens. In this arrangement, Arty’s concentrated, wide-eyed portrait, which resembles a dramatic mask, is beside the photograph of Rebecca, who has a frog on her head, confronting Arty’s and the viewer’s stares. Above this juxtaposition I paired the drawing of the frog, the largest image in the collage, with the small image of Arty’s innocent kitten face. Arty didn’t mean any harm, and here, he and the frog are each colorful, content, and minding their own business.

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