Department of English

Spring 2005 Edition

Falling Frogs

Casandra Woodward
Expressive 1010 Runner-up

I have received some pretty obscure gifts in my time. The red-fringed night light shaped like a lamp with yellow monkeys on it is hiding in a box. The multi-colored Indian sandals, made so poorly I can't even walk in them, are under my bed. Hanging in the closet, there are knitted, tie-dyed, flared leggings that I would never wear, but don't have the heart to throw away. I have also gotten some amazing and truly wonderful gifts over the years. One particular gift I received from my sister for my nineteenth birthday had a most influential effect on my life. The gift was amazing to me for two reasons. First, it reminded me of the night of falling frogs. Second, it showed sisterly love like no other object could.

It began on a cool spring evening, and I was eight years old. Spring was my favorite time of year with the cozy days wrapping around me like a warm blanket and the soothing nights lulling me to let everything go. It was late and all the work for the day had been done. My family and I were sitting in front of the TV, enjoying Monty Python's Flying Circus. We had the windows and the sliding glass door open to let in the cool breeze. The fantastic smells of wildflowers and new life were in the spring air. A light rain had started to drizzle its way down from the evening sky. It made a wonderful light background noise as we were enjoying the evening.

Suddenly, we realized that the noise coming from outside was no longer a gentle tap of droplets landing on the ground, but a heavier sound, something more solid. We looked out the screen into the dark evening, trying to see what the noise could be. It was dark outside and with the glare from the indoor lights, it was hard to see into the night. My mom got up to turn on the porch light. We immediately gasped in wonder and amazement. The screen door was covered in minuscule frogs the size of silver dollars. Hundreds of them in blues, greens, reds, and other colors clung to the screen, all in fear of falling. The screen looked like a moving, brightly colored patchwork quilt. We all jumped up in amazement and crowded around the door. The frogs were making light chirping noises as if they were saying, "How did we end up here?" As we looked past the quilt of frogs we realized that the whole yard was covered in them. It looked like the ground had turned into a rainbow ocean creating small ripples of waves a long the yard. My brother glanced up and said "Look they're coming from the sky!" We gazed up and realized he was right; it was actually raining frogs.

My siblings and I got this bright idea to try and let one or two in, so we could get a closer look at them. We had decided to gently and slowly crack the screen door and let a few hop in. As we all hovered around the edge of the door my brother cautiously cracked it open. In an instant frogs were hopping all over the living room. The floor was moving with these little slippery multicolored creatures. It looked as though pieces of the quilt were ripping apart and bouncing along the floor. We were scurrying all over the room trying to catch them. If one of us actually managed to catch one, the slick texture of the frog would make it impossible to hold on. My mom got a container with a lid and we were scooping and tossing them into it. Once we caught them, we went to the kitchen window to put them back outside. To our amazement the kitchen screen was covered in frogs. With emotions surging through our bodies, laughing vigorously, we fell onto the floor. The events of the evening overwhelmed us. The night seemed magical beyond all human belief. After a good long hearty laugh, frogs in tow, tears on our faces, we collected ourselves and pulled ourselves from the floor. We ended up letting them loose in the garage, for fear that if we opened any doors or windows, more frogs would come in than we threw out. I went to sleep that night with the excitement only an eight-year-old can have and dreamed of dancing frogs all evening. My love of frogs started that moment and has continued ever since.

I never found out why it rained frogs, but know that it has happened throughout time. Strong winds pick up frogs, fish, or other small creatures and carry them up to the clouds. The animals stay stuck in the clouds and move with the storm. When the creatures get too heavy for the clouds to hold, they start falling down from the sky. It is a rare and unique occurrence and has a lot of myths and speculation linked to it. A number of people fear falling amphibians, because they think it’s a biblical sign that the world is ending. Scientists believe that raining amphibians may be linked to the spreading of plagues. To me it was pure beauty and showed the distinct power of Mother Earth. From that night on I knew that anything was possible.

It was eleven years later when my sister handed me the small box for my birthday. I wondered what could possibly be inside it. When I opened it, I saw the most amazing ring I had ever seen. It was plain silver, no stones or anything flashy about it. The ring was shaped like a frog, not a cute, pretty frog, but just a slender realistic looking frog. It had small bumps all over its body. The eyes were slightly raised and beady, just what a true frog looks like. It immediately reminded me of the frogs that were hopping all over our living room. I fell in love with the look of it and how the legs wrapped around my finger to create the band. I slipped it on, and it fit perfectly on my middle finger. I loved how it looked and knew at that moment I would wear it forever.

My sister saw the ring at a fair and immediately purchased it. This ring symbolized that through all ramblings of childhood my sister actually did pay attention and listen to me. She knew me well enough to pick a ring that wasn’t gaudy, but really rather simplistic in style. She also knew its original design and intricate detail would appeal to me.

Now the ring is old and beat-up. Some of the bumps on the back of the frog are worn down and barely noticeable. It is faded, tarnished, and in desperate need of a good polish. The ring is no longer a round shape, but flat on one side from all the years of abuse it has endured from my hands’ hard labor. My finger underneath is always dried and cracked from where the ring rubs against my skin. Dried lotion clogs the eyes and gets stuck in the cracks of the legs. In the summer sun I get a perfect shape of the frog on my finger. It is obvious the ring is well worn and loved.

Every now and then someone comments on the uniqueness of the ring. I fill up with pride and tell them my sister gave it to me for my nineteenth birthday. They are either enthralled by it and ask where she bought it and wonder how they might find one, or oddly curious as to why I would wear a frog on my finger. Regardless of their reasoning for drawing attention to the ring, every time someone does, my heart fills with warmth and love. The gift was perfect.