Wednesday, August 15, 2012

This Idea Just Came to Me

Yesterday morning dawned with the promise of 
our second dry and sunny day in a row.
So I was tidying our sopping wet deck 
in anticipation of being able to finally enjoy my coffee outside  
where I could hear the trickling fountain and the call of the birds. 

With all of the rain that's fallen here in Tidewater this summer,
 everything on the deck has been over-decorated 
with countless pine needles and fallen leaves.
My beautiful flowers are quite water logged 
and there are more dropped yellow leaves 
and bruised blossoms than I care to think about.

So as I set about cleaning off the tables and chairs,
I also wondered what I could write about for today.
Frankly, I couldn't think of anything that interested me.
But when this happens, I always say to myself:  an idea will come up.
And it did.
But this time, the idea didn't come up,
it came down instead.

I picked up the chair cushions 
that had been rushed under the umbrella the last time it rained
and gave them a couple of shakes.
Suddenly, something definitely organic and fleshy went plop onto the table.
I investigated, of course.
And here is the little tree frog I roused out of his sleep:

These tree frogs primarily enjoy lolling between the plastic liners and the garden pots,
or down inside the planter boxes because those are cool, moist spots.
But they also like to attach themselves to the grill's vinyl cover 
because it makes a sun-less hiding place 
when the grill is pushed against the wall.

And in all these places, the tree frog changes its color like a chameleon.
He's charcoal black in the above photo 
because he was sleeping on the wide black stripe in the chaise cushion fabric.

But usually, he's green:

When we first moved to this house, the tree frogs ruled the yard.
Each night brought out dozens of them.
They usually plastered themselves against the windows  
to catch the insects that were attracted to the interior lights.
And frequently, catching bug dinners
 involved the frog stretching to its full length in order to belly across the glass,
leaving a streak of clear frog-slime wherever it moved.
Many is the time I raised a window blind and found myself  eye-to-eye
with one of these voraciously hungry amphibians.
Fortunately, I wasn't on their menu.

But the tree frogs not only anchor themselves to the windows, 
they also favor the doors because that is where outdoor lights glow.
One summer morning as I was fixing coffee, 
I picked up a damp dish cloth and a green tree frog jumped right out of it.
Talk about a wake up call; my heart is still beating fast.
The frog had apparently jumped off of an open door the night before
and sought the coolest, wettest environment it could find
near its point of entry. It's not the first one to visit this way.

Despite this,  we do love them. We call them barking tree frogs
because  a rattling pan or clinking glass is enough 
to set off a kennel's worth of barking
from the ones on the deck outside the kitchen.
A closing door will set off the ones who live in the front and side yards as well.

As I understand it, these small tree frogs
are not true "barking tree frogs,"
which are quite rare and have a wider girth and spots.
Regardless, we persist in ignoring the scientific taxonomy
in favor of our own terminology. 

We'll keep calling sleepy here a barking tree frog:

We hope since the year has been wet, more will return than are here now.
That is, as long as they stay stuck to the door when I open it.

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