Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lessons from the Frogs ...

Friday night I had my first experience at "Frog Giggin' ". It is an after dark experience where you go on a pond, or river to find frogs to catch. The catching is really spearing them with a "gig", a small pitchfork type device attached to the end of a pole. The pole is similar to a broom handle or long paint roller handle. You walk along a band, or row in a boat or canoe spotting frogs and them gig, or spear, them. The first lesson to be learned is to be able to spot them among the weeds or floating stuff on the water. This was not as easy I as thought, if they are on the water they have only a small portion of their heads above the water, mainly their eyes. If they are on the banks they often hide well in the grass or weeds. The second part of the equation is to gig 'em. This sounds easy enough until you try it yourself. The frogs, as I discovered don't want to be gigged. So they move, quickly I might add when they sense what is being planned for them. The other part is that there is a specific method to giggin' this is more than stabbing at the frogs. This I discovered after missing the first 5 or 6 went after.

I did get the hang of it after a while and successfully gigged several frogs (ask me in a few weeks and I am sure that the number will increased greatly). There was a real sense of satisfaction considering my pitiful start to the night when I got several in a row that went after.

There is also an art to getting out of the boat to go from giggin' in the boat to wading along the shore to get the frogs out of your reach from the boat. I was wearing a borrowed pair of boots that big for my feet (that is saying something for those who have seen my feet, yeah that doesn't sound creepy does it?). As I stepped out of the boat my boot stayed in the boat and my sock covered foot went into the 6 inches of muck invested pond water. This was to the laughing delight of the others in our giggin' party. This meant putting my now filthy and soaked foot and socks back into the boot and getting out of the boat successfully. Which I did until my next step whereby I stepped out of the other boot. To the increased laughter of the group who were my "encouragers".

A couple of things I learned from the frogs. The bigger frogs moved sooner than the little ones. When approaching the frogs, more of the big ones moved before you could gig them than the littler ones. I assume that is how the big ones got to be the big ones. I need to do a better job of moving away from dangerous things before they "gig" me. I need to learn to sense the things that will stick me sooner and avoid their sharp points altogether. Also, once you had successfully gigged a frog and got it into the boat you had to put them into the basket with a lid on if you wanted to keep the frog. If you failed to get the frog into they would hop all over the boat until you either captured them or they got back out of the boat. Lesson learned was that just because I got stuck by something doesn't mean that life is over, I need to keep going (not hopping, that would look silly) because a stick (gig) does not mean life is over. Don't give up no matter how big the problem appears.

It was a fun, and humbling, experience. One that I hope to repeat. It was fun, I was with a great group of guys. It was beautiful with the moon out and the breeze on the water. But I do need to get my own pair of boots.

Here's hoping (not hopping) that you learn something today.


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