Frogs have been a totem animals for us for years. I think of frogs as symbolic of transformation.
During the warm summer months, Cuban tree frogs hop onto our windows, drawn by the insects that are attracted to the lights in our offices. They are the largest tree frog in North America and are fascinating to watch. The top photo is of a frog paying homage to a pasted frog on the inside glass of Rob’s office window.
Here’s a frog I snapped a photo of the other night that had just caught an insect nearly as large as he is and that will probably keep his tummy full for several days.
Considering the number of frogs in our yard, these guys rarely get inside the house. But when they do, it’s usually significant in some way, even if that significance isn’t immediately apparent. It often means that an event is on its way into our lives. If the frog is healthy and vital, then the event is likely to be transformative in a positive way. If the frog is ailing or dead, then the event is likely to impact us negatively.
Where the frog is found can provide hints about what’s coming and its life cycle can provide a time frame. The eggs these frogs lay can hatch in less than 30 hours and the offspring fully develop within a month. So, 30 is the key time frame – 30 hours, days, maybe as long as 30 weeks. The number three can also be a part of the time frame.
When our daughter was much younger, we lived on a lake in a suburban neighborhood south of where we live now. One morning, our cat drew our attention to a Cuban tree frog in the kitchen. He was hopping around happily on the wall, was healthy, vital, of medium size. We caught and released him into the yard. A kitchen is a place where family members gather to eat meals, converse, and gather together. It’s a place of sustenance. Within 30 days, we landed contracts for several books – not huge advances, but healthy enough to sustain us for the next year.
In 1997, we returned home from a weekend trip and found three dead frogs in our family room. By this time, Megan was old enough to understand the significance of the symbolism. “Uh-oh,” she said. “This isn’t good. Family room, dead frogs.” Within 24 hours, Rob received a call from his mother that his father had had a stroke and wasn’t expected to survive. He flew to Minneapolis and his father died shortly after his arrival.
In February 2003, I was blow-drying my hair in the bathroom one morning, and a frog suddenly landed on my shoulder. I don’t know where it came from, but it sort of freaked me out, appearing seemingly out of nowhere like that. I quickly caught it and hurried toward the front door to release it. It hopped out of my hand in the living room, so I caught it again and finally released it from the house. Within a day, I learned my novel Out of Sight, had been nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe award by the Mystery Writers of American. Three months later, I won the award.
This weekend, Megan and her dog, Nika, are visiting. Last night on my way to bed, Nika suddenly stopped and jumped at the living room wall, startling a rather large frog. I tried to catch it, but it scampered up the wall and behind the TV. This morning, Megan came hurrying into the kitchen. “You guys aren’t going to believe what happened when I got home last night.” She had been out with friends and had gotten home after we’d gone to bed. “Take a look at these photos.” She whipped out her phone and showed us the photo below.
Esperanza is the first book in a trilogy published by TOR books. A lot of it takes place in the afterlife, in the magical Ecuadorian city of Esperanza. That poster board of the cover was something that TOR created for the book, so it’s hanging in our hallway. For Ghost Key and Apparition, I simply framed the covers and they are hanging elsewhere in the house. The only pending thing I have with this series is a screenplay that Hilary Hemingway and I wrote for Ghost Key.
It’s interesting that the frog landed near the eye of the woman on the cover. Esperanza means hope. So the message could be just that: I hope. So, we’ll see! Regardless, the frog’s appearance there bodes well. Megan caught and released it.