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I am the Frog Queen!

May 12, 2009

Pacific treefrog

I am the Frog Queen!  Well, of Tofino anyway.  And now, maybe of Port Alberni too…
Eight years ago, I rescued a bunch of frog eggs from a wheel rut on a construction site.  They looked like they had already been run over, all flat and dirty, but from them I raised a dozen little Pacific treefrogs: from egg to tadpole to frog.  Most were released to the wild, but Kermit always liked the frog-tank; she has just stuck around with me for all of these years.

This spring she turned eight (who would have known that they live that long?).  She is a well known member of the Tofino community – especially to the younger crowd – and her fame reaches even further.  Kermit and her sisters have appeared in numerous books and magazines, and Kermit’s boyfriend and I were interviewed by Shelagh Rogers on national radio about my Frog-English dictionary project (I am up to four words so far!).  Kermit herself is a bit of a writer, too, hopping up to the keyboard when she sees injustices that can be brought to the public’s attention by a letter to the editor.

And, by the way, I did not name her Kermit just because she is a frog.  Remember, I had twelve of the little guys; only one of them actually looked enough like that famous celebrity frog to be named after him.  (That was before I knew that she is a girl).

So, with that frog history, it seems appropriate that the very first post on my new blog should be about frogs.  Because I had the most wonderful frog experience today!

I had just finished my swim at the public swimming pool in Port Alberni, and returned to the  women’s change-room.  It was empty – but echoing with the most incredibly loud croaks of a treefrog, reverberating off the tiled walls!  Of course he stopped croaking as soon as I entered.  I couldn’t see him anywhere; the room was clean and empty, no place for a frog to hide – unless he was below, in the drains.

I returned to the pool to ask the lifeguards if they knew there was a treefrog in the change room.  It was news to them – but they lost interest as soon as I told them that you couldn’t actually see him.

So I went back and put my little frog brain to work.  (I have spent a lot of time with Kermit, and know what she values in a hiding spot).  The room was perfectly clean and bare, with white tiles on all the floors and walls.  No frog in sight anywhere.  The only possibility was the drains.  Or, perhaps, those red plastic matts leaning against the far wall…

I gently picked up the matts, and there he was!  One cowering green frog, trying his best to camouflage himself against the shiny white tiles.  Who knows how he could have got in there!  I scooped him up, and when the lifeguards saw me return to the pool deck with my hands clenched together, they knew immediately what I had.

Lifeguard Cathy (who has a phobia about touching amphibians) came to the rescue immediately.  She overcame her fears.  I passed him over to her, and she ducked out the pool’s side doors and ran across the field to deposit him in a ditch.

Lucky frog!  To have started croaking in the women’s change room just as the Frog Queen entered – he’ll probably never know how much the stars were shining on him today…

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