Saturday, August 16, 2008

it's alive

Before swimming each day, I use a net to get leaves and pine needles out of the pool. Then I empty the skimmer basket of leaves, bugs and the occasional bad surprise. Once the chores are done, I get in the water myself. As I was swimming the other day, something small and brown got my attention. It wasn't a leaf, as I might usually find. This little thing was swimming too. I got closer and realized it was a frog. I needed to get him out of the chlorinated water immediately.

Last Sunday on the cluster's public affairs show, my guest was Janya Marshall from the Knoxville Zoo. We mostly talked about tonight's Feast with the Beasts, one of my favorite annual events (and one of the top 20 in the Southeast). Janya also ran through a list of current exhibits including Toadally Frogs.

During the interview, I opined that frogs are the canary in the environmental coal mine. In explaining how fragile frogs are, I mentioned that the chemicals which keep the pool suitable for me are fatal to a frog. I scooped up my swimming companion and placed him among some leaves. I think it was a Mountain Chorus Frog, like the ones who lay their eggs on the pool cover in Winter, although its coloring was more solid. It stayed there to rest while I finished my laps, went in to get dressed and came back outside with my camera. I hope the little amphibian has learned to stay out of the pool. In honor of the Olympics, I'll call him Phrogger Phelps.

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