A Frog Came Through the Cat Door
It was a rainy night, and a rainy Saturday morning. Palomina, one of our cats, was standing inside the house next to the door and staring at something. I couldn't imagine what she was doing, so I looked more closely. Then what might have been a leaf jumped. It was a little frog. It was brownish but I think it was more green then, and small. It looks like a tree frog. But I've looked around on the web, but haven't determined what species it is.
The frog moved behind a piece of furniture. Palomina decided it might be time to whack it. So I picked her up and put her in the mud room. Hobo, the other cat, was wondering what was going on and was wondering over to check it out, so I put him in another room too.
I picked up the little thing, which made no effort to evade me. Then I needed to decide what to do with it. It was hard to imagine why it would want to come in the house. My best guess is just that it wanted to get inside of something. I suspect a house with two cats wasn't exactly what it was hoping to find however. I put it down for a minute and it made a pretty impressive jump.
The funny thing is that is was just yesterday that Corinne told me she had dreamed of a box turtle in our yard. She was wondering where turtles in pet stores come from, and would one live happily in our back yard. These kinds of questions get harder to answer all the time. Shouldn't we just leave them alone - wherever they are? But now a little wild critter has climbed into our house! At the very least I figured I'd better let Corinne, who was still sleeping, see it.
So I put some old brown leaves, and some new green leaves from a broccoli raab in the garden, and a little bowl of water into a big colander that fits inside a cooking pot. This allowed some light and air through. I put the frog on the old leaves, and put a lid on because I had seen how well it could jump. It did seem a bit in shock. I put some drops of water on it, and cleaned it up, included getting rid of some stringy stuff it had picked up on its back leg to make sure it was not tied up.
I checked on it every once in a while. It moved down into the brown leaves, and its coloration took on a terrific match to the leaves. It seemed to be coming around.
Meanwhile I had made coffee and was reading the interesting story about a fossil of an ancient fish being found that fills in some gaps between fish and four-limbed land animals. The skeleton shows the beginnings of shoulders, wrists, and legs that signaled a future move to land. Edward Daeschler, a paleontologist, called it "a textbook example of the transition" to four-limbers.
So now I'm wondering if this frog is actually my grandfather. Well I guess it couldn't be. I knew both of my grandfathers and one great-grandfather. They each had some notable traits, but the ability to change coloration to fit their environments wasn't one I'd ever noticed any of them had. One of them was actually pretty good at hopping, as I recall though. My great-grandfather had told me that he swam to this country from Ireland however, so maybe there's some connection. But I can't quite figure it out. I guess that's another story.
Corinne decided the best thing was to return the frog to nature at the back part of our yard where she has built up a brush pile. The pile serves the purpose of giving birds and other little critters a place to hide. She released the frog and it seemed to be doing fine. Hopefully the pile will prove to be a better house than the house. I wonder if we'll see it again. I think I have heard it since.
Individual life seems so fragile and tenuous. But LIFE is so powerful.