Monday, July 04, 2011


The tiny green tree frogs are out in growing numbers now that the air itself is wet in the rainy season, there are so many of them but they’re all solitary individuals, prefer to be left alone in some corner of nature with their dark pasts, their jade thoughts. I go and get the ladder to fix something high and there’s a whole disparate committee of the little greenies, steeping in their solitude, each sequestered in a nook on his own ladderstep, just staring at you whatever happens like they know you very well and they probably do; their gaze says they’ve seen it all in their duration on this earth. They probably saw the human race when it was just a baby, so they know more about us than we do and have been keeping a dark eye on us ever since, especially since my own frog-catching childhood. Even now as I go about my gardening one of them is sitting on a tomato leaf watching me with that look of long times.

Elsewhere they jump from my hat, ride on my shirt, doze for hours on my pepper leaves, hide in every little secret place. They know all the little secret places, since that’s their job, but that makes them just the thing for treasure-hunting, doesn’t it, so when the KMM trio came to visit Saturday afternoon Mitsuki right away spotted the bright dot of froggy jade tucked away in the corner of one of the deck railings. After she caught that one, Kaya and Miasa right away set out to catch the microfrogs of their own, and I knew a lot of the best hiding places, one of the keys to grandfather popularity.

So the girls right away had to get containers for their growing collections of tiny new pets, which they gave individual names. Soon the competition turned from mere quantity to who can catch the smallest frog, and the winner for the evening was about 1cm long. He just hung there on the inside of his container unaware of his froggy Oscar and tried to comprehend outside/inside while among more frogs than he’d ever been among in his life, or maybe her life, I didn’t have time, I was helping with dinner and each KMM table place was marked by the respective container of frogs.

During dinner the girls were informed they’d have to say goodbye to their tiny living treasures, they’d have to let them go, which news they accepted without too much grumbling when told that they’d have to start right away to every day catch a nightful of bugs for frogfood. As it turned out they couldn’t bring themselves to set their little friends free, though - I wonder if they’ve seen The Yearling - because before going to bed I noticed by the door to the deck three jars of frogs embodying all those eons of experience, yearning for solitary but still doing time in the crowded slammers, and every one of them innocent. I took the jars outside, one by one removed the tops, and you never saw so much frogcitement in your life: leap, leap, leap, leap, far bigger and faster leaps than normal for such generally unmoving creatures, splat, splat, splat, splat, in every direction, they’d been waiting all dusk and evening for this moment-- they are night people, after all. Lotta green karma there.

By then the girls were probably fast asleep, dreaming of frog happiness, confident that Bob would see to it. Each life must attend to certain tasks, and mine is no exception.


Kalei's Best Friend said...

Love this story.. Reminds me of the time my kids came back from a pond ( actually it was just a sunken area where rain water collected) w/ tadpoles.. unfortunately, the water evaporated and well- no more tadpoles.. I saw this article in the paper.. This correspondent and I have emailed each other since he has written articles on Korea as well.. Thought u would be interested in this one:,0,7843713.story

Robert Brady said...

Thanks, Kalei... Wonder if this bushido-like proposal will go anywhere...

esbboston said...

Your story reminds me of my summer at age 7 or 8 in Oklahoma, we found and reservoired tadpoles.