A Tree Frog Perspective
by Jake Block
One warm summer evening, a bright green tree frog decided to attach itself to my storm door. Of course, I grabbed my camera.
Seeing it first from the inside of my house, I saw its underside, which gave me a rather strange perspective of it, and it seemed almost alien… other worldly. And I stared at it for quite some time, examining it from that angle, and it gave me a perspective that this was a well engineered “animal,” well prepared for its life in the trees and on the ground, with its ability to climb and hop, but this unexpected skill… scaling a seemingly unscalable surface… in order to get closer to the small flying insects that might congregate around my front porch light was high level thinking, to my mind. Of course, to the tree frog, it was just a matter of getting to a free meal, and it really could care less how much I was impressed.
Then I stepped outside to see the tree frog’s “upper level,” emerald green and beautiful to behold. From this angle, my mind was drawn to the more practical side of the frog, and it’s place in legend and lore. It seemed (in the way humans tend to apply human attributes to non-human creatures) friendly, and almost “happy,” in the way one might assume a frog to be. And one could imagine it near a pond, resting on a rock, or perhaps a small lily pad, blissfully bleating in the night, calling to a female frog… or a princess… to share a secret kiss. It’s tongue might dart out to feast upon a mosquito or some other small “bug,” and here, in his place by the pond, he could indeed be a prince among frogs.
Now, from the frog’s perspective, most of this would probably be seen as silly, unenlightened human musings, totally unrelated to the real life concerns of a frog in the wild. To the frog, this life could be hell on earth, constantly on guard, lest he be eaten alive by a bird, a snake or even a larger frog, just looking for an easy meal. He might be able to tell you about starvation, coldness, being beaten down by unrelenting heat and needing to hibernate at the bottom of a pond all winter, vulnerable to all manner of hungry creatures. We can of course speculate on what the frog thinks or what the frog dreams, but we can never really “know,” any more than that little frog could ever know or understand people and their ways.
To this little tree frog on glass, I could be a terrifying creature bent on its destruction. I could be a frightful oddity that he’ll relate to pollywogs as a cautionary tale of the dangers that lurk beyond the pond’s edge. Or I could be something unimaginable to the frog, strange and unexplainable, like the UFO humans see, but can never prove, but interesting to contemplate while waiting for a bite to eat just a little closer to the porch light.
Perspective. It “depends,” and is subjective. Man or frog, we all have one.