Friday, January 13, 2006


Buried on page 14 of yesterday's Los Angeles Times was a story about a Nature magazine report on a recently discovered link between global warming and the extinction of many species of frogs. I know this has been a source of concern for scientists for years now: it seems that now "two-thirds of Central and South America's 110 brightly colored harlequin frog species have vanished," killed off by a fungal virus that has been "stoked primarily by global warming."

This may not seem like much of a worry to you, Bush, but frogs are family to me. Well, toads, actually, but I never really made much of a serious distinction. The toad is the symbol on my family crest on my mother's side. A toad rampant, actually, if you can imagine such a thing. The motto on the scroll beneath reads "Experientia docet," or, somewhat inelegantly translated, "Experience teaches." A freer, but slightly more elegant translation, might be "We learn from experience," or "Experience is our teacher." The origin of all this is lost, as they say, in the mists of time, but it pleases me nonetheless to have the frog in my family. I have a small collection of them on my desk, all smiling, ready to leap at a moment's notice--gifts, mostly, from Ellie.

And quite aside from the family associations, I have a lot of respect for the frog as a totem, or power animal. You may have learned something of Native American wisdom, Bush, or the wisdom of tribal societies throughout the world. They had a real understanding of the interdependence of human and animal species, and a respect for Mother Earth that our "civilized" society notably lacks today. Here's one of many shamanistic views of the role of the frog in the spiritual world:

Healing. As water cleanses the arid earth and returns life to it, so Frog's medicine can wash away the physical and mental energies which deprive us of harmony and peace, and helps to replenish our own ability to heal ourselves on all levels.

Nice, huh, Bush? And absolutely appropriate to this moment in our history. Don't we all need "harmony and peace" more than anything in this war-shattered old world? Don't we all need to "heal ourselves on all levels"? And don't we desperately need to return life to the earth--especially to that "arid earth" that is the cause of widespread starvation in one whole area of our planet, the African continent? We need Frog more than anything now, and yet we devote our time, our energy, our resources to destroying him, eliminating him from the face of the earth in our greed for MORE.

So bear in mind the frog as your administration does everything in its power to expose the natural environment to corporate interests and industrial pollution. Bear in mind the frog as you relinquish the last remaining restraints on human greed. Bear in mind the frog as you withdraw from international efforts to repair the damage we have done to this precious and increasingly fragile planet that we populate. Bear in mind the frog, and try to remember that we share this space with other human families, other species, and that they, too, have their interests and rights.


PK said...

Oh how I miss Kennedy, King and Gandhi. They tried so hard. To be together is to find solutions to situations such as our little amphibians are in. They are dying all over the UK. That also means they are elsewhere too. Appears that all our animals are becoming our canaries for what we are doing to our "home". No one is listening. They are trying their damnedest to become king, or fighting to wipe others off the map, or starving them so they will die. Guess I don't give them the benefit of the doubt. All I see is a greed and selfishness prevail in the world right now. There are little pockets of people who are standing up, but the news of that is put in an obscure portion of the newspaper, or a 10 second blurb on TV. Some of this we can thank our "Great Poo Bah" for. It's against what HE believes.

dennis said...

It is scary how many Americans hate 'environmentalists'. These people say, "Fuck nature". I have personally heard them. They think nature is something to eliminate, something to cover with concrete, or a golf course.
I think I heard that one of my gods, Beethoven, liked trees better than people. Never expect great music from a Republican.
The CIA in the news again today. Another screw up from a screw up organization throwing fuel on a bonfire.
Well, the frog made it to page 14 in LA. The small homefires are still burning. Chinese wisdom says, Though your light is hidden, it still shines brightly.

dennis said...

Chinese wisdom also says, In adversity, be persevering.

PK said...

Dennis, let's hope that all of our little lights can come together, from all over, and create a huge bonfire.

Anonymous said...

Did you see the front page story of the arctic bears and the pcb's ( flame retardents) affecting their breeding capabilities?
In our effort to preserve "Our Way of Life" we seem to be killing off the planet.