I took a walk in the woods the other day, the kind of day when I wanted to kiss (rather than kick) the South’s mercurial weather. Or is it everywhere you can have snow and 19 degrees on a Wednesday then mostly sunny and 75 on Sunday?
It must’ve felt good to everyone and everything because the forest of bare naked trees sounded like summer. Frogs were screeching their happy little froggy hearts out like they had been bound and gagged for way too long and now they were finally free. I kinda felt like croaking, too.
Ours was a brisk pace, feet crunching gravel and confettied leaves, 50 shades of gray and brown. The trees were little more than telephone poles with tentacles, but the sounds were harbinger of the spring that couldn’t arrive soon enough.
We got closer to the noise and I was certain there was a least one frog in the puddle over there, so I steered in his direction. I wanted to see the little creature who who could make such a big commotion.
That was enough to shut his mouth. I stood silent and still, scanning his hiding spot the way you study a magic-eye picture, waiting for the image to sharpen into focus. No matter how hard I tried, though, I couldn’t see him except in my mind. Funny, the image of a frog holding his breath–warty and determined and cheeks like balloons.
There were countless others like him, their squawk a dreadful but happy symphony, the forest, their theater in the round. They were blissfully unaware of the giant who wanted to out them…until I got too close. As soon as they sensed my presence, their croak would stop, too.
Frogs can be jerks like that.
It was then it hit me: chasing frogs is exactly like writing!
Inspiration will arrive out of nowhere, loud and proud and brilliant in my mind. (Usually when I’m driving, in the shower, or cursed with insomnia.)
But when I get home, towel off, wake up the next morning, poof! Those marvelous thoughts and ideas mysteriously vanish! Just like a hulking giant creeping on some defenseless little critter, there’s an imaginary force that scatters all those wonderful ideas. And no matter how determined I am to recapture them, the mere act of opening my laptop shushes my brain.
Ironic the analogy would give me something to write about.