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San Francisco Cable Car

Friday, July 6, 2007

22 -- Frog Blog

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

rilla: Ribbit.
Rilla: Rabbit?
rilla: Ribbit.
Rilla: A frog?
rilla: Croak.
Rilla: OK, you do mean frogs.
rilla: The frogs croaked.
Rilla: That’s what they tend to do…
rilla: More than one meaning to the word croaked …
Rilla: Oh… you mean croaked.
rilla: Frogs croaking all around the world.
Rilla: But not all of them are saying Ribbit?
rilla: No, they’re saying HELP, we’re dying, someone do something.
Rilla: Huh? So what? Don’t much care for the nasty, slimy things.
rilla: Ever hear about the Gastric Brooding Frog in Australia?
Rilla: Nasty slimy things…
rilla: They swallowed their own fertilized eggs and the frogs would hatch inside the parent’s stomach.
Rilla: Nasty slimy things…
rilla: Somehow the parent turned off its own gastric juices so that the eggs wouldn’t be digested.
Rilla: How’d they get out then?
rilla: Through the parent’s mouth…pop…pop…
Rilla: You mean puke, puke…nasty slimy things.
rilla: Remember that empty swimming pool in our first school.
Rilla: Never had any water in it.
rilla: Yeah, and the only ones who went swimming there were…
Rilla: … frogs, millions of them, tadpoles turning into froggies in the monsoon.
rilla: You had nothing against them then. I remember you climbing down those steps and laughing in delight when the little frogs jumped into your hands…
Rilla: Humph…frogs…swallow their own eggs huh?
rilla: Don’t anymore.
Rilla: Why? They got hungry and started eating them?
rilla: Nope, they’re extinct, along with the Golden toad of Costa Rica and species everywhere are dying out.
Rilla: So what? If the frogs outside our window would die out, we’d sleep better at night.
rilla: Frogs are the barometer of the health of an ecosystem, the proverbial canary in the coal mine. And it’s because they are slimy and have permeable skins that they’re so vulnerable to pollutants in water and the sun as global warming heats up the planet.
Rilla: So they’re croaking.
rilla: Yup, they’re telling us our ecosystems don’t work anymore. That means the end of more than just the frogs you know.
Rilla: Someday, all these animals we know might be memories too?
rilla: Myths we tell our grandkids about…
Rilla: …sitting around the digital campfire.
rilla: We used to have tigers prowling in our jungles.
Rilla: We used to have elephants roaming our savanna.
rilla: We used to have polar bears hunting on our ice caps.
Rilla: We used to have jungles.
rilla: And savanna.
Rilla: And ice caps.
rilla: And frogs.

Sad reflections on the state of our planet after watching the BBC series Planet Earth. If you haven't already, see it. The DVD set is on sale at Costco right now and always at Amazon.

Facts about frog populations declining
Interesting article on the adaptability of frogs
For Kids


Laini Taylor said...

Hi Rilla! I'm so glad Magpie and the gang are hanging out in your garden. Thank you for entertaining them! I was excited to read that you grew up in India -- it is the focus of my travel day dreams these days (I've never been) AND it is the inspiration for the setting of the Dreamdark sequel I am writing now. I wish I could go for REAL inspiration! Maybe next year. As for frogs, yes yes yes. And your other laments in your post: yes. There is, buried in the center of my plans for this series of books, this message about human "stewardship" of the planet. Sometimes -- often -- I hate us.

I just found out about a state park or state forest in Oregon called Opal Creek that's an old growth fir forest that is supposedly a "phib" paradise just filled with frogs and salamanders and such. I am dying to go -- they have naturalist hikes to show you how to find them. Fun!

Rilla said...

Hey Laini,
Very interesting that you are setting the sequel in India. I think you will have to make a trip under the guise of research, at least ;)
Thrilled that you are including messages about the environment. I have the same in my fantasy trilogy. I think it's the least we can do. I can't imagine kids of the next few generations are going to be terribly pleased at the state in which they find the planet left to them.
Let me know when you go to Opal Creek. Don't forget your camera. Oregon is so beautiful...sigh!

LindaBudz said...

Great post, rilla ... looking forward to checking out those links. Thank you!

Rilla said...

Hey Linda,
Thanks for stopping by ;)