Most folk seem to have a ‘favorite’ when it comes to the animal kingdom and I’ve met several people who have built up collections of these same creatures in the form of ornaments, stuffed toys and miscellaneous knickknacks.
One acquaintance collected pandas, another cows. Our daughter favored pigs and our youngest took a liking to monkeys, so it’s not surprising that after a couple of visits to the nature center where I happened to get several reasonably good shots of some frogs and commented on how I enjoyed spending time with them, someone, I forget who, presented me with what turned out to be the first in quite a substantial collection of goggle-eyed amphibians.
They are in every shade of green and cover quite a large range in size. They’re made of plaster, rubber, china, glass, metal and stone amongst other things. (I believe I even had one that was cunningly fashioned out of elephant dung at one time.) Some are for outdoor decoration while the indoor ones stand, like a little green army, in a glass-fronted cabinet and on various shelves. The plush ones, including Kermit and Jeremy Fisher, have found their way into the children’s toy box. My grandchildren take great delight in squeezing the toes of one frog that responds by croaking out Jingle Bells and another that gives a very good rendition of London Bridge.
There was one particularly life-like frog that was strategically placed in the rock garden. It acted as a motion censor and croaked every time there was any kind of movement nearby. It was quite loud and caused a certain amount of amusement when people walked by. (We live on a corner lot so we see a fair amount of foot traffic.) The kids, especially, loved it! It wasn’t until some weeks later that I discovered that it was keeping our neighbor awake on windy nights when the surrounding foliage would set the thing off croaking at regular intervals throughout the wee hours.
A cousin who came over from England for a visit said he was rather disconcerted when he awoke, during the first night of his stay, to see several pairs of eyes gleaming eerily back at him in the dark from the top of the dresser.
As for the real things, yes, I do enjoy sitting peacefully on a river bank or beside a pond in the company of these creatures. I’m looking forward to the spring and summer months when I can go in search of them once again. It isn’t easy to creep up on these little green gems without them giving a startled burp and hopping off but every once in a while there is one that is willing to sit obligingly for a photograph or two, the great advantage being that I don’t have to dust it off periodically.