Frog Prints

Wet Autumn Leaves


A long time ago in an Indiana town far, far away, a boy regaled his classmates with a story so terrible, so sad, and so wretchedly awful that I have never forgotten it. The micro-tragedy you are about to be told occurred on a brisk October day and was relayed to me on an equally brisk October day. It seems only fitting that it is told yet again on another brisk October day.

It was a wet, gray October afternoon and a boy we'll call “E” was describing his walk home from school the previous day. He had been walking through the neighborhood, crunching and slushing his way through fallen leaves, as one does in the fall, when what to his wandering eyes should appear among the soggy leaves but one perfectly, inexplicably robust piece of autumnal, crispy, fallen splendor. He couldn't resist it. In fairness, no one could. In a fit of seasonally inspired exuberance, “E” took one big leap in the air and landed square on the huge, brown, desiccated leaf.

There was no crunch. There was a squish, perhaps a splat, coupled with a deep disappointment of the kind that only comes when one is suddenly and shockingly deprived of certain, immediate satisfaction.That was no leaf. That was a frog. It is, indeed, not easy being green. But woe to the poor dun-colored amphibian who wanders amongst the fall leaves and does so incognito.

There is no happy ending here, most of all for the frog, who achieved remembrance but only at the cost of his unexpectedly brief earthly existence. Small consolation for a frog, one supposes. I can honestly say I have never since crunched a leaf with any amount of force or velocity. Or at least, not without verifying that it is indeed flora and not fauna first.

Never leap without looking. Watch your step. Lest you, like our unfortunate friend “E”, should leave…frog prints.




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