Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bullfrogs and Butterflies

The first warm day of the first spring in our new house, I bounded outside to work in the garden. Then I promptly contracted Lyme disease and had to swallow antibiotics for nearly a month.

The second spring in our house, I was pregnant and deathly afraid of ticks bearing dreaded diseases. I knew antibiotics could have terrible effects on the tiny life in my belly. So this time around, my well-meaning husband put some kind of granule-type Ortho insecticide on the lawn. It completely wiped out all the ticks. It also wiped out all the fireflies, bees, butterflies, crickets, ladybugs -- you name it. It killed everything. For three years!

Worse still, the frogs in our backyard exhibited terrible deformities. Half-formed legs. Weird lumps. Missing eyes. Stumpy feet. They were ghastly.

Lately, the fireflies have been back and the frogs are looking healthy again. But now we have a toddler, and this year, my husband started worrying about ticks and mosquitoes again for her sake.

Looking at the frogs, though, I don't think we could ever put that nasty stuff down again. Tacitly, we've reached an understanding. No measure of peace of mind (or trying to avoid dosing a screaming, kicking baby with medicine) is worth missing out on nocturnal light shows or croaking amphibians. We'll just have to exert extra caution outdoors and slather on more bug-repellent.

Ladybugs, butterflies, lightning bugs, dragonflies, frogs -- they're small and plentiful and often go unnoticed -- until they're gone. Then one realizes how large a hole they leave.

I never thought I would grow attached to some frogs, but I have. I feel these little ones need me. More importantly, I feel that I need them, too.

I didn't have to use a zoom.

They sat so still. I was inches away.

Doesn't he have an awesome smile?
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