These long, sunny evenings I sit by the pond with a book and a glass of wine, watching the frogs.
Ours have got to be the most blissed-out, trusting amphibians on the planet. Bisou, whose obsession with them continues unabated, will come streaking out the back door looking for them. If she\’s lucky, one will be sunning itself on the slate slabs, and she runs over and nudges it with her nose. The frog then gives one or two desultory hops, Bisou gives it another nudge, the frog hops again, and so on until it reaches the edge of the pond and dives in.
Bisou then runs around the perimeter of the pond, looking for frogs that are clinging to the pond\’s edge or to a close-by lilypad. She leans way over, her ears waving like algae in the scummy water, until she can touch noses with a frog (sometimes she falls in). Eventually she wearies of this game and goes off to graze. (What, doesn\’t your dog gorge on grass?)
One or two frogs will then do their amazing frog kick to the side of the pond and heave themselves out of the water, looking like members of a swimming team at the end of practice. Periodically, one of them lets out a croak that sounds like a rubber band snapping against a drum head. In the low rays of the setting sun, the frogs shine like jewels, green enamel from the waist up, burnished copper from the waist down. If I get close enough I can look right into their golden eyes.
In the forest of mint behind me a toad is singing its not-quite-birdsong. I have never seen this toad, but I know it\’s there. I made a house for it by leaning a piece of slate against the low board that borders the garden, and it\’s repaying me by keeping the area mosquito-free (though I have the frogs to thank for this too).
The sun has finally gone, leaving a red streak in the western horizon. It\’s too dark to read, and getting chilly. I pick up my book, call Bisou, and head indoors. In the darkness behind me, plop! another swimmer dives in.