Friday, July 11, 2008

waking frog

A red eyed tree frog visited last night and spent the day sleeping on the deck. Sleeping he’s paler, the colour of a banana leaf, and in profile he is streamlined, clamped tight shut against the surface he’s clinging to, all limbs tucked in. Above he is green, below he is pale yellow with blue or purple vertical stripes on his sides and orange and blue legs with big orange feet. His eyes are blood red with a black elliptical pupil.
I happened to be passing him at dusk just as he awoke. He was several shades of darker green, like the colour of a old fern. He raised up and stretched just like a cat, arching his back, straining his skinny legs so they shook with the stretch. And he yawned. I’ve never seen a frog yawn before, it was the same as you or I, a great big mouthed gape and the skin of his neck folded upon itself several times. He closed his mouth and blinked and then with one leap jumped over 8 times his length and landed on a vertical post in the most perfect impersonation of spiderman: you know the pose with back legs apart and crouched, hands almost together below his chest? At that very moment the frog chorus began and he turned his head to the direction of the closest sounds. He looked very alert, clearly listening and watching and then off he went in great bounds towards the others.

This morning I shared the bathroom with a toad. He was delightfully full and round and his front legs were bent out at the elbows, his feet tucked under him like an old man with rickets. The line of his mouth took up the bottom of his head, such a wide mouth, I think as wide as mine. He was an olive brown above and a muddy cream below. His eyes were black and he watched me with his head slightly cocked. I marveled at the difference between this stately, rotund, placid fellow and last night’s athlete with the spiderman crawl and the go faster stripes.