Monday, July 4, 2011

Frog Blog, Creative Inspiration

Frog on a Log and Two Swimming

The tiny tadpoles I rescued from my pool cover about a month ago have now become tiny frogs. I placed the water they were born in, into an empty planter and set it under a bush for shade, in a location where some rain water would drop in. Little bugs and leaves have fallen in, creating algae and food, and I placed a piece of drift wood for them to sit on when they decide it is time to leave the water, which is exactly what one is doing. I am calling them frogs, but they may be toads as some of the eggs definitely came from toads, like the ones here.

However, a friend of mine says they have frog shaped bodies, and it is entirely possible they are frogs, as the tadpoles I rescued were from another area on the cover.

Either way, it's funny how I would write a story in the beginning of the summer about hanging out with toads and then wind up raising some. I learned that toads are actually frogs anyway, as they are from the same amphibian family.

Last year, I was painting a birdhouse for a local art show and having a heck of a time getting the rabbit I was painting just right, and then, when I finally did, a rabbit moved into my gardens.

I feel very connected to nature through animals. The shamans of Native American cultures used animals as their guides. They would go into a dream-like state called a journey, using spirit animals to reveal for them medicine, magic and power around illness and healing for an individual or the community as a whole.

When animals show up in my gardens and on my walks, their messages are not lost on me. I am aware that they have come to guide me in some way. Sometimes I have to go looking a bit.

The late Ted Andrews wrote about frogs in his book on "the spiritual and magical powers of creatures great and small," Animal Speak,

"Emotions are often associated with water. Individuals with frog totems are very sensitive to the emotional states of others, and seem to know instinctively how to act and what to say. They know how to be sincerely sympathetic."

For better or worse, I can say I have these traits. When I am in a social setting or with a group of people, my feelings tend to bounce around from person to person, making it difficult to stay centered and relaxed. As a child I was labeled as sensitive; the title was appointed to me by the adults and declared as if it was a curse.

Recently, a relative said to me, "You are too sensitive, and you are too kind." She meant well, but hearing it in this way reminded me that no adult ever taught me to honor my sensitivity when I was a child, instead it felt like they tried to push that part of me away. I suppose it was inconvenient that I was a barometer of the state of things sometimes. Perhaps they did not want to feel certain feelings that were coming up, and they did not need a reminder, in the form of a sensitive child.

From "Frog and Toad are Friends"
written & illus. by Arnold Lobel
Even as an adult, I have this experience. It's hard for me to make mundane small talk, I want to know what lies beneath the surface, and it's hard for others to talk about what is really going on with them. I have learned that when someone says, "How are you?" that they do not want a true answer.  Not that I have not found some really wonderful people who have come along on life's journey with me, even to the deep places. But it's hard to find feelers, feelers have been taught to hide. I think most of us have learned to stuff our feelings.

Andrews also writes about frogs:

"The frog is a totem of metamorphosis. It is a symbol of coming into one's own creative power. It changes from an egg, to a polliwog, to a frog. Even after it becomes a frog, it lives close to and spends much time in the water. It always has contact with the creative force out of which it came."

This part seems hopeful to me. I live along the water where frogs croak their songs of creative inspiration nightly. Tonight I shall remind myself to listen closely to what they are saying.