Once upon a time, I stepped out the door just before dawn. The air buzzed softly, insects still slumbering away in their tiny beds. Morning birds cooed and called, tumbling about in the trees. I paused for a moment to inhale the moist air that prised its way through my hair.
Time to go.
I took this time as my own, as often as I could. Alone. Silent. Outside. I could tell you I walked to commune with Nature, but this would not be true. I walked merely to commune with myself, with my own inner voice and deeper understanding, those parts of me that were all too easy to ignore inside, surrounded by family and work.
I got lost.
I drifted along.
I didn’t plan where I was going. I didn’t pay the scenery any mind. I knew eventually I would stop, just as I knew eventually I would make it home again.
I came upon a pond I hadn’t seen before, which is not all that unusual as the property and the surrounding woods are quite vast, at least in my mind. Upon acres upon acres, that’s where I stood.
I found a relatively clear and dry spot near the edge, so I plopped down to watch the ripples on the surface of the water while my mind flitted here and there, wandering with itself through the jungle inside my brain.
How long I sat there, I cannot say. The heat of the day grew. The buzz and whine of insects rose up louder. BIrds sang and cried. Squirrels chattered and chided. Larger creatures blew about through the woods as they wished. I felt safe here. I felt a part of things here. That to me was a great magic.
“Excuse me.” A voice rocked me out of my revelry.
I looked around. I saw frogs, birds, bugs, flowers, trees…but no one I could assume had spoken to me.
“Yes?” I called out, softly, not nervous, but my feeling of safety had stood up and was prepared to bolt.
There came a gentle chuckle; I looked about once more. Suddenly, my attention flew to the water at my knees. “Yes,” he said. “I spoke to you.”
It was a lovely pale green frog with darker green splodges all over him.
Feeling safe again in an instant, I relaxed and smiled at him. “Hello, then. Can I help you in some way?”
What? Who doesn’t fancy speaking to a frog, or to an obviously magical being dressed as a frog? Doesn’t everyone dream of this sort of thing?
Then came a chortle. “Aren’t you worried you’ll have to kiss me or something like that?”
I returned his titter with one of my own. “If that is what you require, I would gladly give it, sir.” I was not joking; I was deadly serious at that moment. I looked at him, his smooth skin shiny, wet, not all that anxious to do some kissing. “Is that really what you want?”
“No.” He shook his head with a wistful smile. “The pond grows smaller with every year.”
I looked around. As I had never been here before, I had no way to judge the shrinkage. I looked back at the frog.
“There are pollutions in the water,” he told me. “terrible things that are killing our children before they hatch. Many that do hatch are born deformed, having many legs or some other deficiency.”
“What can I do?” I sincerely wanted to help.
I swear the frog blinked at me, his gaze level as if gauging how far to push me at that moment. “Take me home with you.”
I broke the silence. “And then what?”
“Build us a new home.”
“Us?” Would I be required to travel back and forth to a place I wasn’t certain how I arrived at in order to ferry frog after frog to a new home that I haven’t yet created?
“No, no traveling back and forth.” the frogged responded to my inner thoughts. “Take me. Build a new home for us. The others will follow on their own.”
I didn’t take any time to think about it. I didn’t need to. “Sure.”
I was busy pondering how to carry the frog back with me safely, without knowing exactly how far from home I had actually gone. I nearly missed his next question.
“Aren’t you going to ask for anything in return?”
The question took me aback. “No.” I shook my head. “Why would I ask for something in return? Why would I not just help you?”
Again came that throaty froggy snicker. “Thank you.” This time, I knew for sure that he winked at me. “I will be fine in your pocket while we walk home.”
And, so it was.