Monday, July 28, 2008

The Paranoid Frogs

I suppose this might be a parable but it's not.

Up at the Skunk Works North Campus, one of our drainage swales* has decided to become a full-time watercourse, a freshet with a real current'n'everything.

I've watched this happen all Spring and Summer. My visits there are short and focused, so I'd not had a chance to take a closer look until very recently; I had to walk the lane a few days ago and in the process, discovered rust-brown is the in paint-job for dragonflies this year, though a few of the old-style periwinkle blue models are still flying. Ah, fashion!

As I got closer to the widest spot in the tiny stream, I heard a brief commotion, a stirring, followed by eep! Splash! Eeep, eep...splash-splash! What on earth--? I thought, just as the last tiny frog turned from a blot to a blur to a splash to a trail of bubbles, so fast I barely had time to register the frog-ness of the critter and I'm still not sure what color they are.

On my return trip five minutes later, nothin' but crickets (metaphoricaly, that is. Actually, dragonflies). When I left at the end of my day, I stopped and walked down and the earlier performance repeated itself: eeep! Splash! as they ducked for cover. I studied the scene for a few minutes and recognized one folded hind leg at the edge of a mass of algae; taking a long weed stem, I probed and lifted the greenish goo and was rewarded with an annoyed-looking greeny-grey frog swimming madly for deeper cover.

I have never seen frogs quite so timid. On the drive home, I thought about it and realized the wide spot is under a guy wire for the 1000' tower that graces the site -- and is itself often graced by red-tailed hawks. It seems possible that what I'm seeing is the last remnant of a larger population, a corporal's guard composed of the quickest and most suspicious of the lot, culled by the hawks.

Or maybe they're just all that shy. Eeep! Splash!

I'm gonna go hide under a rock for a few hours and think about it.
* Another ordinary word spellcheck wants nothing to do with. Or with which to do. Eep!


Anonymous said...

Did these greenish-grey blobs have 3 eyes?? Oooh-eeee-ooooh...splash.

(word verification: "uuukagz" hahaa...funny)

Anonymous said...

Maybe those Princes have discovered that they LIKE being frogs.

Jeffro said...

I'm gonna go hide under a rock for a few hours and think about it.

Fortunately, you have a huge advantage over the red tailed hawks of your world.

You are armed.

Roberta X said...

Homebru for the win!

Roberta X said...

(And Jeffro for the accurate description. Also I rarely hide in mossy water).

Tam said...

Just so y'all know, she does an hilarious impersonation of the Eep-Frogs.

Roberta X said...