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another walk

On the way to the supermarket and back I saw three creatures.

First was a northern leopard frog, sitting at the edge of the sidewalk, in meditative contemplation, staring at the grass.

Here is a photo of a northern leopard frog from the Internet (source). Like my leopard frog, he is staring to the left.

He looked like Bodhidharma, who meditated so deeply he lost his arms and legs.

Bodhidharma (source)

Only, my frog's arms and legs were still intact, and the fingers of his hands were pointing inward, like he was getting ready to make a sitting bow:


I kept walking and later I heard a noise like a cat hissing or like a red-tailed hawk screaming--but very quietly (khhhhhaaaaaa!), and there was a rustling in the grass. I looked, and a garter snake slithered away. I hadn't known they could make such a noise!

On the way back, the snake was long gone, but the frog was still there, still doing zazen. I didn't have a camera, so I crouched down to sketch him, but I only managed his hands before he decided he'd had enough and took one big leap into the green.

A little farther on, I ran into a rabbit--who also took a leap into the green, flashing its tail as it went. What a lot of wildlife for a very short walk.


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 20th, 2015 03:30 am (UTC)
:) I love all your connections!
The garter snake's khhhhhaaaaaa is a terrific thing to know about - thank you. (The rock python in Kipling's Jungle Book is named Kaa;I bet for the same sort of reason.)
Jul. 20th, 2015 12:57 pm (UTC)
I had never thought about that! That must be it! I guess maybe I've never heard a snake actually hiss before, and I'd always thought it would sound like a person saying ssssssss. Instead it sounds much more like a cat, which is to say, like "Khaaaa," and yeah, I suppose that's exactly why Kipling chose that name!

Jul. 21st, 2015 02:25 pm (UTC)
Going by my experiences, pythons are very quiet.

(did you see that entry I posted on Sunday, by the way? I think you might like some of the music I link to.)
Jul. 21st, 2015 02:44 pm (UTC)
I saw that you posted it, but I haven't been by to actually read yet. I'll go look later today. Speaking of music, have you heard of this German band that sings in a combination of German and Elvish?
Jul. 21st, 2015 02:49 pm (UTC)
German and Elvish. That's an interesting contrast.
Jul. 20th, 2015 04:06 am (UTC)
What a lot of wildlife for a very short walk.

I really like that you met a meditative frog.
Jul. 20th, 2015 12:59 pm (UTC)
He sat there contemplating for at least as long as it took me to walk the rest of the way to the supermarket, buy anchovies, detergent, and ginger, and walk back. I think he may be a bodhisattva.
Jul. 21st, 2015 12:54 am (UTC)
Jul. 21st, 2015 02:50 pm (UTC)
Re: xoxoxo!!
Jul. 20th, 2015 04:22 am (UTC)
That is a lot of wildlife. How lucky! And that's a very handsome kind of frog.
Jul. 20th, 2015 01:00 pm (UTC)
I agree, quite good looking.
Jul. 20th, 2015 07:48 am (UTC)
Frogs evidently make much better contemplatives than snakes or rabbits. Although, maybe a snake is just a frog who has already lost its arms or legs?
Jul. 20th, 2015 01:01 pm (UTC)
I like your derivation of snakes :D And snakes no doubt eat frogs because they resent the fact that frogs still have arms and legs?
Jul. 20th, 2015 11:10 am (UTC)
A very nice walk
Jul. 20th, 2015 01:07 pm (UTC)
It was :-)
Jul. 20th, 2015 12:03 pm (UTC)
Garter snakes are surprisingly loud, yes.

Leopard frogs look so cool.
Jul. 20th, 2015 01:07 pm (UTC)
I guess I'd never heard one before!
Jul. 20th, 2015 12:37 pm (UTC)
Once, when we lived in Arizona, Brian and I woke up from a nap due to the strangest sound - slightly rough and high-pitched, like cloth tearing. Given that our cats were suddenly very interested in the bookcase in our bedroom (cats are excellent critter-in-the-house detectors), we moved the bookcase out of the way - and I think I jumped about three feet when an honest-to-god coral snake slipped out and fled under the bedroom door into the living room. (Venomous as they are, they're extremely shy and don't like to bite except as a last resort. I like to think, on some level, they're aware of the great power gifted to them and do their best to use it responsibly. At the very least, it's probably metabolically expensive to rebuild one's venom supply.)

Anyway, I did a bit of research, and that tearing-cloth sound is the coral snake's warning noise, although it's not a vocalization; it's actually a vibration of its cloaca, which is why when it's looking to warn off predators, the coral snake will hide its head and stick its tail in the air.

And that's how I learned that coral snakes warn you off by farting at you. :)
Jul. 20th, 2015 01:10 pm (UTC)
Farts do have that effect, even in less venomous creatures :D

But wow. I feel as if somehow the coral snake was lending you its strength by hiding behind your bookcase. Nevertheless, probably good to have go and give that gift to some other location... it would have been terrible if it felt impelled to bite your kitties, or you guys.
Jul. 20th, 2015 06:00 pm (UTC)
The frog could have been a monk, very, VERY deep in meditation. I would like to believe that it was.
Jul. 20th, 2015 06:01 pm (UTC)
I like that thought too.
Jul. 20th, 2015 06:39 pm (UTC)
Our leopard frogs seem less contemplative. This is the season when you can walk along a prairie path and repeatedly flush the same frog, because they leap about six feet away and then you catch up with them. If you cross to the other side of the path, there is probably a leopard frog there too.

Jul. 21st, 2015 02:51 pm (UTC)
Better than a mule for your forty acres: a leopard frog for all your paths.
Jul. 21st, 2015 07:36 pm (UTC)
I've been enjoying the wildlife at the MIL's place this summer. We even saw a fox on the hillside while we were sitting at the supper table one evening. A wildlife thing I enjoyed less: stepping on a bee. :P

As my MIL says, That's what I get for being barefoot.

What can I say, I'm a barefooted soul and always will be, bee-stings and all.
Jul. 22nd, 2015 03:43 pm (UTC)
You gotta let those feet be free :-)
Jul. 24th, 2015 03:13 am (UTC)
I love your description of the frog, with his similarity to Bodhidharma and his zazen posture.

I haven't seen any snakes close up for a long time, but once, years ago, a huge rat snake managed to get into the house somehow and curled up behind the refrigerator. It was late, 10 or 11 p.m. when one of my boys discovered his presence. Not knowing what else to do, I called Animal Control. There was only one guy on duty, but he left his post and came to our house. After capturing the snake and putting it in a carry crate, he told us that he wasn't really supposed to, but that he planned on releasing it in the desert. We were glad to imagine that, although we couldn't give this particular visitor a permanent home, he would have the opportunity to find one better suited to him.
Jul. 24th, 2015 12:13 pm (UTC)
Interesting how snakes seem to like the backs of refrigerators! You're the second person to tell me a story like that! Very glad that your animal control guy released the snake into the desert.
Jul. 25th, 2015 12:56 am (UTC)
I think they may like the heat that comes from the radiator coils at the back of the fridge.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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