I am still traveling without electronic devices, so I won’t be able to type up and post this week’s blog. The following is an excerpt from my upcoming Essays to My Daughter on Our Relationship with the Natural World. By next week, I’ll be back to writing my usual blogs.
When I returned to the bridge with the fishing pole and the bucket, [my dad] pulled a red handkerchief out of his pocket and used his jackknife to cut a small square of red material out of one corner. My family did not have much money at the time, and my dad was cheap. I remember being surprised he’d intentionally put a hole in his handkerchief. He put the red square on the bare hook of my pole and told me to gently lower it in front of the outermost frog. I did, and the frog immediately lunged at the red material. It hooked itself, and I reeled it in like a fish. I put the frog in the bucket, and my dad covered the top of the bucket with the handkerchief. The lunging frog surprised me, but no more so than the fact that none of the other frogs moved when their companion was lifted to the heavens. Had I crept down the bank, I might have caught one frog before the rest jumped into the river. With my fishing pole, I was able to lower the red lure six times and catch every one. With six frogs in the bucket, my dad asked me what I wanted to do with them. I said I wanted to put them back. I walked down the embankment and gently poured leopard frogs into the river. I knew that the correct way to release fish was to humanely set them in the water, not toss them — and I assumed the same principle applied to frogs. Then we got back in the car and drove home.