Sometimes in North Carolina it rains for days. When that happens, there are moments when it seems like the rain is no longer water by infinitesimal frogs that sprout to full size once they hit the ground like those magic towels that when touched by water grow to ten times their packaged size. The frogs magically appear on my driveway. Different sizes. Some green, some brown, some wart-y, some smooth, all miraculously arriving with the onslaught of rain.
Izzy is thoroughly confused by frogs. When we walk past them and they scatter in a dozen hopping directions, he is at once scared and confused. He wants to follow them wherever they hop, but he doesn’t know which way to go since there are so many moving at once. He lifts up his white paws and puts them down again, dancing to the left and to the right, then bouncing when a frog bumps into him or flies past his nose. He looks at me, then to the frogs, then to me again, as if to ask, “What the hell are these things and where did they come from?”
There are a few more in the road, but the cars passing by keep the frogs to a minimum. They don’t carpet the road like they do my driveway. Instead, they move to the side when a vehicle sloshes through.
Izzy takes a flying leap over the running rivulet on the side of the road. He doesn’t like getting his feet wet. And he accuses me with a dirty look that says, “Do we really need to be out here right now? We could have waited you know. I hate getting wet.”
I hate getting wet, too, but if we don’t go out, Izzy’s schedule gets all befuddled and he begins to have accidents. Better to get wet than to poop on the rug, so we move on through the warm rain.
Once he’s done and we can head home—me maneuvering with the umbrella, trying to stay away from low-hanging branches, and Izzy navigating his way around puddles and downed branches—he picks up speed, pulling me with an urgency that speaks of a need to get into the house and under a warm towel. But there’s a frog waiting in the driveway. A fat one with lots of bumps and knolls on his back.
Izzy sees him and turns to me, asking once again what thing this is. He pauses, stiff-legged and ears cocked, barks a small woof and bounces once. The frog doesn’t move. Izzy does a little tarantella around the frog, staying clear of the frog’s hopping sphere. Still, the frog doesn’t move. The rain abates just a bit, so I stand and watch, trying really hard not to laugh at the drama unfolding in front of me. Izzy gives another little “woof.” The frog twitches. Izzy does a puppy bow: Eye-to-eye with the frog that has now turned into stone. I wonder where the rest of the frogs went. This one now seems like the only one left on the driveway, and he’s a big one. For the longest time, the frog and Izzy face off. Finally, Izzy moves, and just as quickly, the frog takes a flying leap. Right onto Izzy’s nose.
I think if there were one word in the English language that Izzy could have said at that moment, it would have been, “Shit!”
So, I said it for him.