The late summer winds began to cool off the little town of Laggwatts. The train was late that day as the conductor stood at the edge of the platform and looked down at his pocket watch. "Half past six... I will have to report that engineer again" he said in a huff as he turned and went back inside the depot office.
Outside a boy sat on the bench with his mother. He watched across the field that sat just behind the train depot. Trees sat all about the area, but there was a small opening that allowed one to see just over a small hill. Just at the bottom of that hill sat a small pond. The boy began to imagine that he was in that clearing and he began to run about the green grass that swayed with the breeze and seemed as if satin was covering the hill like a chubby angel who was napping. He saw the blue water of the pond, and that is when he noticed lily pads that grew about the edge of its watery palace.
All that straining to see what lay in the field along with boredom caused the boy to slowly fall against his mothers side as he was falling into a dreamy world of wondrous sleep...A loud croak startled a small band of grasshoppers that were discussing the next stop before they head back to their homes for the night. They went back to their discussion as they realized from the hopping going on at the waters edge it was Chester and his family.
Chester had gotten married the winter before and had already started a family. He and the Misses had twelve little ones that were hopping about from pad to pad. Chester at once croaked loudly again to get all of their attention. Each one hurried along back into their small hole at the edge of the water. This was just under a big shade tree. The tree was so old that its roots had started to pop out of the ground and was giving many of the animal kingdom a place to call home.
All but one frog had hopped back home, and he was not even near the water. With out noticing earlier he had managed to slip from his mothers watchful eye and go in the direction of the most beautiful patch of color he had ever seen. His name was Test, and he was the first to hatch of the twelve tadpoles that Mr. and Mrs. Bullfrog had that first season of spring. He was named after his father, well in a way. Tester was a fidgety sort of frog. Many of his siblings were happy spending their afternoons amongst the pads waiting for supper to come along. No, Test liked his meal to be a challenge, and had a taste for the unusual...
Test dreamed of silky flower petals with hints of pollen. This came about one day when he was hopping from root to root just outside of his house. Strangely he had been watching a patch of sunlight coming in just from the tree tops and highlighting a small spot of ground at the top of root hill just at the side of the tree. Rains had washed most of the grass away. Leaving only mud or dirt depending on the weather. Test began to watch as green began to break through the ground and soon bloomed into the wildest flowers he had ever seen. He had actually never seen a flower before. Only grass and other small animals and insects.
Actually Test only had ever seen the colors of white, blue, green, and brown in his surroundings. Maybe a few spots of yellow or was it beige he thought. Well these green stems he had been watching began to have this strange fat bulb pop out at their ends. Curiously he would disobey his parents each afternoon just when the sun would peep through and watch that green house pop open and display a cup of tones he had not seen before. "Son, what are you looking at" Mr. Owl said in his direction. "Uh, who me Test began to look around, and then he heard a limb above move. "Yes, you son, your croaking is disturbing my sleep" Mr. Owl said, and then whoooo'd back at the young bullfrog. "Well, I am not sure what that is sir" Test explained, "I have been watching it and wish I knew what it was".
Mr. Owl began to explain to the young Test that he was looking at a tulip that had found its way into our tree spot. He explained that flowers find their way around the earth through birds or animals that eat them and their seeds; then distribute them back unto the ground when they are done eating what they want. "Squirrels are the worst of their kind" said Mr. Owl, "I do not like them very much". They hop about my tree limbs looking for nuts and things, disturbing me all morning and afternoon". Test asked Mr. Owl if he knew what color this tulip was for he had never seen such a site.
Test learned that it was pink. He wanted to get a closer look, so he planned to come back the next day and check this tulip out. Hopping back down to the lower levels of roots he went right through the opening just in time for his father was angrily coming out to look for him. "Test how many times, crooooaaaaak, do I have to tell you that it is dangerous out there for young frogs at night" said his father. Test went to sleep and thought about the beautiful pink color as he dreamed. That is when his father would go out and hunt for extra food. Taking care of so many little ones can be so tiring Chester thought to himself, but soon they would be old enough to go out and begin a family of their own.
The next morning Test quickly rose and headed out the opening fighting his way through his other eleven brothers and sisters. His mother warned him not to go off on his own, but he had already found his way out to the pond. He decided it would be better to have breakfast and then he would sneak back up to the top of the tree roots. Little did they know that a new family had just moved in only that very night before. A bunch of slithering water snakes who found young bullfrogs very tasty.
In the afternoon when the sun was at its hottest they all sat in the edge of the water under some lily pads taking a nap. Their mother would watch out for them as Chester also slept. When Test saw his mother start to doze off for a moment he saw his chance to head up to the flower. He could see it had already opened up in the warmth of the afternoon. Tulips you see open up in the morning sun, but because this one had found its way into a shaded area that only got a small amount of sun it was off schedule. Test hopped up to the top of the roots and this time he got a little closer. The afternoon breeze blew it and its petals back and forth. The young bullfrog positioned itself up on a root just beyond the flowers reach and watched as he began to get a peep inside of its pink dressings.
"Oh", he thought "if only I could talk to the flower". The tulip was shy and Test never heard it make a peep, but just as he reached as high as he could on his legs and feet the flower began to tip its had towards him. He could see inside of its cup. Strange long things that looked fuzzy and on the ends were little black tips.
Lovely he thought, and the nicest smell was coming out towards him. His tummy suddenly growled. Test was getting hungry, but as he was still leaning towards the tulip something hit him in the back and he landed right into the bulb of the tulip.
"What was that" he said out loud. "Son you had better watch out, a family of snakes has moved into the area and a small one just came at you" Mr. Owl told him. "Why Thank You" Test told him, "What would have happened if we had meet" he questioned. "Well son, you see snakes are dangerous to your kind. They eat frogs and other water animals for their meals. Kind of like how you eat insects" Mr Owl explained to the young bullfrog. Mr. Owl told him that he on occasion ate snakes, but he only like small tender ones. He also told Test that he had no reason to be afraid of owls because they most often preferred small tender creators like rodents like field mice and snakes. Frogs did not really taste like chicken as many have said.
While Test was listening he began to run his tongue around his mouth and the most amazing taste was occurring in his palate. A sweet aroma filled his nostrils. He became dizzy from its flavor. Had he just discovered a new meal for himself? Could it be possible that his parents forgot to mention to him that they also ate flowers. Taking his hands he pulled the tulip petal towards his mouth and he bite off a piece. Wow! He thought. Not even paying attention to Mr. Owl's rambling lecture he began to eat every single one of the tulips petals. Suddenly he fell from its top onto the ground with a small unnoticeable thud. "Well I see you have eaten all the pink from the tulip son" Mr. Owl remarked, "Now you run along back to your family before another snake comes along that is not too small to find you as satisfying".
Test quickly but sadly hopped back to the pond to tell his siblings about what he had discovered...(stay tuned for the adventures of Test the bullfrog as he wonders off towards the field of flowers for another tasty bite of lunch...)
This is for my mother who walked a path that did include some creativity, and was passed on to me. She always talked about wanting to publish a poetry book with this as her title, but it never came about. She did however manage to write two poems that I actually have the privilege of having the originals, and cherish...