Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Judging Frogs

June 14, 2016

It's always a mistake to pass judgment before you have all the facts. Things after all, are not always what they seem to be. I could easily launch into a political rant on the basis of those words. Our leaders and would-be leaders are notorious for doing just that, or even worse, having the facts, but misleading us according to the spin they desire. But I'm not talking about politicians; I'm talking about frogs. Fortunately, misjudging frogs is less consequential than judging people.

Our little fish pond has been in need of a serious cleaning. No matter how I've treated it, the algae bloom has turned the water a deep, cloudy green so that it is almost impossible to even see the resident five big goldfish. And the frogs. I can't figure out where they came from. I've never seen any in the creek, but they showed up in our pond like party crashers. I didn't do a head count, but there were at least six or seven of them, all apparently over-sexed, judging from the number of polliwogs we netted. The "we" was our granddaughter Izzi and her friend Haley, who for some odd reason didn't know what I was talking about when I called them polliwogs. Tadpoles, if you will.

Early in the spring when the water was clear, I could see dozens of little goldfish darting in and out of the debris at the bottom of the pool. They are hard to spot, camouflaged in debris-matching brown until they begin to mature at about six months. As the pond warmed, the frogs appeared, the water turned green, and the baby fish (usually called "fry," a term we'll forego due to its association with traditional Friday night meals) disappeared. I attributed the latter to the frogs which I figured had eaten them.

But as we drained the pool and began netting the big fish, we began to catch the little ones, too. Right now, I have two galvanized wash tubs and a huge tote filled with fish. They are hard to count, flitting about as they do, but from the looks of it, I've got about seventy-five of them in those tubs. What am I going to do with all those goldfish?

If I were being judgmental of people, repentance would be in order; I'm not so sure it's necessary for my having passed faulty judgment on the frogs. Either way, it's a good reminder to be careful about jumping to conclusions. It may just be a rather short hop from frogs to people.

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