Maybe it started with Kermit the Frog, the iconic Muppet with a heart of green-gold.
As someone who struggles with anxiety and self-esteem, Kermit singing Bein’ Green, written by Joe Raposo, on Sesame Street in 1970 (maybe I was a little old for Sesame Street at 9 but then again, is anyone ever too old for Sesame Street?) touched my soul and still does.
I still watch The Muppet Show when I have a chance.
Or maybe it was our grandfather Papa, singing the folk song A Frog Went A-Courting to us when we were children. Although this wouldn’t explain my sister Ellen’s fear of frogs. Maybe that’s from Mom supposedly cooking frogs’ legs for Daddy and the legs jumping out of the pan. Mom swore this was true.
On You Tube I found versions by Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Woody Guthrie, Burl Ives, and a bunch of guys with guitars who I never heard of. But I think Pete Seeger is the closest I’m going to get to Papa.
There are some seriously stupid jokes about frogs. I like stupid jokes. Unfortunately, in many of them things don’t go well for the frog (you know, the word croak being the punchline).
Waiter, waiter, do you have frog legs?
No, I always walk this way.
What do stylish frogs wear?
A few years ago, I took a class called Phobease on dealing with phobias and anxieties. No, frogs weren’t on my list, though they are on Ellen’s. One of Dr. Fear’s (aka Dr. Howard Liebgold) sayings was “If you have to eat a frog, eat it first thing in the morning. If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.” I never liked this saying. I get it. If you have to do something that makes you anxious, just do it and get it over with, and do the hardest first. But I felt bad for that poor so-called ugly frog. At the end of the class, Dr. Fear handed out little plastic frogs to all of us. I still have mine.
I recently spent a week in Maine at the Institute for Humane Education in Surry with a group of my fellow Humane Education students. It was there that my love for frogs was finally made clear. I don’t sleep well away from home, especially if I get in the habit of drinking coffee during the day. And if I’m anxious. Which I was.
Not wanting to wake my cabin mates (did I mention we all stayed in a bunkhouse together? I’m finally headed to summer camp…) I found myself out of doors in the early hours of the morning down at the pond.
I am not particularly an outdoorsy person, and going barefoot is one of my phobias. But there I’d be at 5 a.m. in the damp, on the dock, watching and listening at the pond.
I don’t mediatate either; I always feel like my hyperactive brain sabotages me. But I could easily spend an hour or more in the early morning sitting on the dock listening to the frogs.
(I don’t know how to embed the videos I took, so this sound clip from You Tube will suffice.)
I was curious if there were any poems about frogs, particularly American, New-Englandy style ones. And lo’ and behold, Robert Frost wrote a poem called Hyla Brook. (Hyla is the genus of the small green tree frog.)
I also decided to search for frog sounds on iTunes. I am not the only one who loves the sound of frogs!
I’m considering forking over $9.99 for this one.
I can play the sounds while I do the next best thing to pond meditating, which is spending time with the animals who share a home with me.
Of course, I have no idea how Einstein and Misty will react to the frog sounds. It might not be as calming for them as it is for me.
Maybe they’ll prefer this selection: Hair of the Frog by Three Weird Sisters. And don’t get me started again on the whole “three sisters” thing! A Tale of Three Sisters