I went down to the woods and sure enough, a big surprise awaited me. My usual path to the stream (and on to the frogspawn, I delight in spotting every year) was blocked by a host of fallen trees. I had come prepared with my new camera phone, so I stopped to take a picture.
These tall and slender trees had obviously been slain by the high winds while I was at home, listening to the wind roaring in circles, threatening roof tiles, sanity and sleep. I noticed the branches most of all; they lay in disarray and I couldn’t help thinking that spring would never arrive for them. There would be no cloud-like puffs of fresh leaves to stand their ground against further breeze, only stillness.
Unperturbed, the sun made a fan of light overhead and filtered through the branches, like a stealthy angel. I could see a stretch of water to my right, so I decided to leave the path and brave damp and mossy ground that dragged at my heels. Beyond a crop of healthier trees, the water merely rippled and gushed. It did not offer frogspawn.
“Let’s have a stick race,” suggested Hubs (my faithful companion) and gave me a choice of two. We threw them in line with a jutting stone and mine skipped with pace, while Hubs’ stick faltered and fell behind. I was the winner and it felt good, proving that as adults, we should not put away all childish things!
On the way back, a movement caught my eye and turned out to be a frog. He was small, with that curious gleam amphibians tend to possess – their sleek skin hinting at prowess in water (even as they cower at ground). I leaned in with my camera, praying the frog would humour me and stay put. He did and I managed to take photographs from several angles. To be perfectly honest, I’ve never met such an obliging frog.
So, although my annual pilgrimage didn’t deliver quite what I was expecting, I couldn’t complain, as I’ve never been able to capture a frog on camera before. I like to think that this experience has fed my writing this week. I’ve been attacking my novel and trying to be really disciplined. I decided to put aside the spooky short story I was working on. I had been hoping to submit it to an anthology, but the deadline is nearly here and realistically, it won’t be ready. I can go back to it at a later date.
Meanwhile, the novel is really starting to take shape and the characters are coming to life. I just hope I can stay the distance!