A frog on a rake (Pic Mayank Chhaya)
I could have easily missed the rustling of leaves in the well of my basement’s fire escape window this morning.
At first I thought raindrops were making the sound. And then suddenly a head popped up behind the window glass. It was a baby frog. It had the look of cute urgency on its face that babies of most species occasionally display when they are trapped or cornered. If I had the slightest trace of human genes, I would have gone “Awww.” But I did not because it is such a silly expression.
There was no debate in my mind whether I should enjoy the amphibian’s rather harmless discomfiture for a bit or run out and rescue it. I ran out to rescue it. Since I had seen the frog try to climb its way out using the wire mesh window panel, I knew it understood that it had to climb to save itself.
I lowered a rake into the well which is about four feet deep. Soon enough the frog had climbed onto the rake’s teeth. However, it was obvious to me that it could not go much higher given that the rest of the rake’s surface was smooth. That was my cue to lift the rake as swiftly as I could without the creature sliding right back into the well. For a fraction of a second as the rake emerged from the well’s mouth the baby frog was airborne as it leapt.
Now that the frog has been rescued with Zen-like equanimity I have to ask this profound existential question as to who rescued whom? I the frog or the frog me? I suspect neither. The frog had fallen into the well and I had fallen into the basement. We both needed to step out of our respective wells and we both did. And that’s that.