For instance, for the volunteers of the Harborton Frog Shuttle, late December is probably a time when there are still more gifts to buy, cookies to bake, family newsletters to mock, and holiday open houses to avoid. It’s raining. Nobody is driving fast enough. The Frog Shuttlers are just like everyone else, with maybe better rain gear. But the frogs themselves measure time differently.
The frogs might look at the last Friday night before Christmas and think: Hey. It’s raining. We’re horny. Let’s go downhill to the pond and score. And the Frog Shuttlers think: Hey. It’s raining. Everyone’s driving too fast. Let’s go nab us some frogs.
The frogs we nab won’t appreciate it. But they’re going to get a lift across a four-lane highway with heedless traffic on it, whereas a lot of the frogs we don’t manage to nab are going to turn into road snot. We’re as motivated as they are.
The frogs are in a holiday spirit. There is nothing like a steady downpour in the dark to put a frog in a festive frame of mind. They’re not stressed; they’ve got everything all wrapped up already. The dudes come down first, mostly. They’re going to stake out their portion of the swamp and practice their moves. I’ve got your package right here, they say. Come let papa give you a hug and I’ll show you how to open it.
If anyone can roll her eyes, it’s a frog, but after a while, in the spirit of the season, the big females begin blooping down the hill bloated with eggs and look over the prospects.
And the thing about it is, they will do this without any regard whatsoever for the imaginary needs of Frog Shuttlers. You don’t have Christmas wrapped up? Frogs don’t care. You have your jammies and bunny slippers on and a Christmas movie cued up and are just starting to think about pouring yourself a nice stiff toddy because it’s Me time and God knows you’re tired because you’ve done every damn thing for this family but do they appreciate it? They don’t.
Neither do the frogs. It’s raining. It’s dark. It’s Go Time.
And that’s the best thing the frogs do for us. They pull us out of our time, our concerns, our petty obligations, our artificial schedules, and put us on Frog Time. Pacific Standard Frog Time. When the air is fresh and the geese and owls and chorus frogs are in charge of music and the night might offer you fifty more plump, rubbery chances to do something for somebody that they won’t appreciate.
It’s a new year. Instead of marking time, find a new time zone. Mountain Chickadee Time. Daylight Saving Wildlife Time. Eastern Kingbird Time. Pay attention to their needs, and a lot of your own will fade away.
Friday, December 20, 2019. 224 male red-legged frogs assisted, 14 female. Happy New Year y’all!