He was in the bottom of my pond.
I was used to frogs hiding beneath the rocks and vegetation when I cleaned the pond. Most of them leaped out and hopped up the hillside, ready to return when the job was complete. Occasionally, a frog would jump up next to me and peer into the water as if he was sent by management to supervise my work.
But this little guy was different. He was terrified—and he wasn’t moving.
There was nothing left in the pond for him to climb onto and the pond liner was too slippery for him to get any traction. I leaned over and presented my hand with the hope he might accept my offer of rescue, but his bulging eyes only got bigger.
“Listen, little one,” I said, “I really need to clean out this water. Let’s work together and find a way to transport you to a temporary hiding place.”
A quick glance around the yard revealed the corn broom I used for sweeping up sunflower seed hulls. Perfect! I brought the broom back up the hill and lowered it into the pond, creating a ledge for him to step up on. Mr. Frog was immobile. I imagined him silently praying “Please, Lord of all Amphibians, let me go quickly and without pain.”
“It’s ok,” I told him. “I know you’re scared, but you need help. Not very long ago I, too, needed help. That’s when a magical prince from a faraway kingdom crossed a very big pond—much bigger than this one—and took me to the land of wizards and dragons and swords and gave me a chance to start my life over. I couldn’t have gotten there without him and YOU can’t get out of here without me. So please let me help you.”
He brought his eyes up to mine—the terror had softened. He would allow me to help him out of his predicament. A green and black leg reached up and took hold of the corn bristles. He hopped onto the broom and with a quiet dignity rode his magical coach to an upper level of the pond. Then he stepped off and leaped behind a rock that seemed to fit all but one leg of his body. That leg dangled until the pond was clean, at which point he dove back into the water with the speed of an Olympic swimmer.
One of the greatest lessons of the wild adventure I had while writing my new book, Breathing Fire, has been learning to ask for help when I need it and accepting assistance with gratitude. This was a BIG lesson for a stubborn New Yorker so I understood my little frog’s dilemma.
He and I have come far on our travels.
To learn more about Breathing Fire please visit the Lighthearted Press website. Enter the Coupon Code FROG to receive a 15% discount off the retail price of all our books and gifts. Coupon good through 6/30/14.