Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I love Frogs and Toads.
Perhaps I shouldn't have said so once.
It began as a joke really.
I said when I eat garlic and my husband kisses me unwarily - he turns green and his eyes bulge out.
Now family and friends give me frogs at every opportunity or none.
This Xmas I received a funny frog pen holder, 2 supercilious frogs with Santa hats, a crystal frog with saphire eyes, a pair of alabaster frog book ends, quite beautiful and heavy enough for weight training, among others.
One of these days I'm going to croak.
Because I'm not the sort who slavishly collects items, who has 2,179 matchboxes or salt-and-pepper shakers, or Toby jugs, or plastic Star Wars figures, or iron door stoppers, with devotion or even sincerity.
If I have a few items of an attractive ephemera I'm satisfied. A few pieces of rose ware, of African tourist carving, of cheap oriental export china, blue glass, a few barangs and devil masks, copper and brass stuff.
But it's hard to resist frogs.
Especially the one who lives by my fountain in the herb garden.
Like the partridge in the pear tree, the discovery of that resident prince was one of those moments when the barrier between mundane and magic opened like a door.
I crave those moments when for a brief space one steps into the world of myth and enchantment.
When the three birds sweeping southward, pure gold in the westering sun, are an augury and an omen.
When Hugin and Munin greet me every morning from the weeping pine overlooking the Bay Road.
When you open the door to the paper boy and see reflected in his eyes for a moment, not a housewife in a long dressing gown, but a lady from a legend.
I crave these moments, these manifestations, this music, all the more because I'm a practical, pragmatic, sometimes cynical sort with both feet firmly on the ground, rooted in Real, without much illusion.
Perhaps that is why I write.


Dennie McDonald said...

I hear ya! I have an overactive imagination - I can see evil in family members that may or may not be there - I can distrust the most well-meaning friend warranted or not and I can know without a doubt when my child lies - because I think of all these scenarios on my own =)

I think I write to keep my stories and ideas straight and embellish when I can't in "real" life.

Tsavo Leone said...

I once commented on Stephen King's work here, in response to a post you had made.

Reading this post I have to consider the very real possibility that you share one or two of his better traits. Have you ever considered writing subtle fantasy (I think they call it urban fantasy these days), stories about the world as seen slightly sideways?

I think the lyrical, and almost whimsical, quality you bring to your (more personal?) posts would work very well in that context.

Bernita said...

Dennie, perhaps you have a built- in bullshit detectoror perhaps an acute awareness of possibilities - evil is often banal and ordinary after all.

Oh dear, Tsavo, when you say something like that I go to the post, look at what I think is very bare, direct prose and sit here wondering where you find it.
But thank you very much.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

No, Bernita, I agree with Tsavo. Your world is ripe for fantasy writing, because you see so much 'fantastical' from the ordinary.

Example: You relayed the wonder at seeing the frog in your herb garden, while all that came to mind was the frog parts that hurled out from under the tractor mower when my husband ran over one down by the pond one day! Yikes!

Bernita said...

~very pleased but still shaking head in surprise~

Anonymous said...

I just think you're seeing the magical in the mundane. A skill I've tried to develop in my own writing. And I agree, getting those moments on paper are a wonderful reason to write.

Bernita said...

The curse of the fairy ointment, Jason?

Anonymous said...

Yes. Just don't let on that you see them.