Introducing myself and talking about myself has never been something I’ve been very comfortable doing. I have always found it hard to describe who I am to a new person, but I love meeting and interacting with new people–and since you’ve arrived here at my site, I have to assume that you have, at the very least, a mild interest in getting to know me better. So, rather than attempting to define who I am I’ve decided to share a defining moment that has shaped me. I beg your indulgence as I hope this will help you understand the person that manages this site.
When I was a small boy I spent as much time as I could outside. Every summer I could be found wandering the fields at our farm or digging in the dirt around our house. We had a small pond in our backyard that was a constant distraction for me and I would spend hours throwing rocks in the water or just watching dragonflies as they darted around the surface.
When I was 9 or 10 I remember vividly playing around the pond and spying a small frog croaking along the shallow bank opposite where I was standing. I slowly crept around the edge of the pond until I was standing behind where the small frog was still sitting in the shallow water chirping. I slowly lowered myself down and caught hold of a fallen branch from the tree that sat next to the pond. I raised the branch slowly over my head and hurled it down hard where the frog was sitting.
The water splashed in all directions and the once clear water instantly clouded with the churned silt. I was sure that I had given the small frog the scare of a lifetime. However, as the water slowly settled back to a slow waving surface I saw something, an image I still carry with me. I’d struck the little frog and killed it. I’ll never forget that day, because it changed my worldview. At that young age I was clearly and irrevocably forced to realize that my actions had consequences. Consequences that could not be undone, no matter how sorry I might be. I was less of a child after that.
As I’ve grown up and become an adult, that reality has never been far from me. I have become much more aware of my actions and how every action defines who I am and the world I affect. Lack of malicious intent is no answer for the damage we can do in our carelessness.
So, the frog is now an animal I am very closely tied to. You might call it my “spirit animal.” I have become very interested in the small creatures and have considered some of their more unique and endearing traits as I’ve tried to become a better person. Here are some of the ways that the frog is better than me and challenges me to improve.
- Frogs are amphibians, which means they are capable of living in many different environments. I would like to be this adaptable to my surroundings and thrive in spite of the circumstances I find myself in.
- It is believed that frogs have been on the Earth, in pretty much the same form, since the time of the dinosaurs. A healthy respect must be given to a creature so capable of rolling with whatever circumstance it finds itself in that it hasn’t had to change much in that amount of time.
- Frogs have excellent vision, they are able to see in front, to the sides and even behind their own bodies at the same time. As I move forward, I do want to be fully aware and take in everything that is around me.
- It is believed that frogs were the first creatures with vocal chords and that their sound can be heard from more that a mile away. I want to have that sort of reach with my words and always consider how far my words might carry.
- Frogs have some of the most effective camouflage of any creature, able to blend into their surrounds for hunting and protection. Sometimes it is better to blend in than to stand out in order to provide and protect.
- One gram of toxin from the golden poison dart frog can kill up to 100,000 people, while its real purpose is only to protect the frog from predators. We need to be very aware of our ability to cause great damage and catastrophe when we are not careful with how we protect ourselves.
- Every year in hibernation, frogs bones add a new layer that scientists can count like rings on a tree to tell the frog’s age. I want to grow and change as I age, but I never want to lose the record of my experiences that have led me along.
- Recently, a painkiller 200 times more powerful than morphine has been found in the skin of a frog. I do want to be a source of comfort for my community and those around me. I want to touch those I come in contact with in a healing and supportive manner.
So, join me in a respectful nod to the frog. They may not be the most cuddly, beautiful or useful creatures to you an I, but they are absolutely amazing in their own special way. Hopefully now you know a little more about them and, in the process, a little more about me. Oh, and to the small frog I met as a small boy, “I’ll always be sorry.”
David G. Brashears