On getting around and being where you would like to be

Study_in_Pink2Yesterday Rochester experienced just some of the storm that hit the northeast. Between 7:45 am, when I went out, until 11 pm, when I returned, our world was transformed. In the morning, the sidewalks and streets were bare, except for treacherously icy stretches and spots. That night, everything was covered with snow; heaps and heaps of it in the parking lots and street side.

Husband Martin wondered why I was going out that morning, but I told him I wasn’t planning on being daunted in my quest to get to the studio, which has been too rare an opportunity since Froggy Family’s First Frolic came out in early September. These newborn books require scads of attention.

My first stop was to meet for a few minutes of planning with the English Language Arts teachers at School 35, where I was invited to work with approximately 60 third graders on the subject of Frogs, their current core curriculum topic. Then on to my nearly everyday morning trip to the Monroe YMCA.

After Yoga, I was settled in the Hungerford Building by 10:30. The usual morning open studio with model that Suzi Zefting Kuhn hosts in her Main Street Artists (MSA) space had been cancelled because of the weather. It was quiet, it was productive, it was grand. There was only one short interruption from a fellow member of MSA, and two brief visits from a Rochester Art Club person foraging for food for herself and her friend.

In the 12 hours remaining, I had the two meals I had brought for myself, an hour nap, and making progress on the painting below. Another 12 hours would be a sure finish.

What you ask, have lotuses and guns and women in pink fantastic settings have to do with frogs? If you have any thoughts on the question, please feel free to contact me. Tune in next time for an exciting answer and continuation of this theme.

Beat Frog, Square Frog and Frog

Frog_Website_Study_Tiles_Splashed_AE

“Splash” Study Tile

(with giggles and apologies to Alan Watts)

What is the sound of one frog swimming?
If one frog leaped and no one was around to see him would he make a splash?

“Old pond
Frog splashing
Plop!”
~Basho
Japan, 1686

As a frog strokes her way through puddles and ponds is she seeking satori? Or is she just bein’ green? Three frogs tell us the story: Beat Frog, Square Frog and Frog.

BEAT FROG cannot snap any nicotine-stained fingers, smoke clove cigarettes, wear teeny-tiny frog sunglasses or sport a road-worn a leather jacket. BEAT FROG, does not
put on airs or imitate his frogginess. When he is still, contemplating his own amphibian image in the smooth reflection of a still spring pond in Kyoto, he sees… BEAT FROG.

SQUARE FROG is everywhere, so beware! SQUARE FROG is adept at the art of camouflage and hiding even from himself. A caricature, he swims behind clay, or even plastic masks, asking “who am I?” And worse yet, SQUARE FROG gazes into handful of stars tossed across the black velvet of the night time sky like a handful of divinely pick-pocketed diamonds and asks, “Why me?” SQUARE FROG swims and swims and never gets anywhere. To paraphrase the late Lou Reed, “some [frogs] work so very hard, and still they never get it right.”

FROG cannot be painted, sculpted, recorded, captured with a net or a pair of mud-caked hands or swallowed by a largish Carp. FROG cannot be photographed either, not even in one of those booths on the Jersey Boardwalk. “FROG=FROG,” as in “let x=x!” Frog au naturale… FROG does not look for seek FROG at all. For FROG, her frogginess is 100 per cent an inside job, in all its mere luminous and glorious ordinariness. She did not have to DO anything to get to be FROG either. No studying, seminars or special breathing techniques. A Lotus is a FLOWER, after all.)

“Never heard Jesus
referenced as “the late Jesus”
Hmmm, not once, have you?”
~A Jesus Haiku, Obituary
Judy Konos

Nothing extraordinary here: Frog bein’ frog,

Frogs: Lessons in Transformation, Alchemy, Contrast and Camouflage.

15_fass_frogs sleepFrogs (we favor the Red-Eyed Tree variety) are lessons in transformation, alchemy, contrast and camouflage.

What can we possibly learn from frogs in the arguably more complicated world of humans, where friends become enemies or lovers hemorrhage into life forms known as strangers or bruises of other unfamiliar names?

We can all look in the mirror at ourselves one morning and wonder where the heck WE went!!

Our life is a journey through stages, states and various stages of wholeness, fragmentation and reconstruction. The physical transformation of frogs from egg to water dwelling tadpole to land hopping froglet to reproducing frog seems simpler, and yet we can identify, even spiritually.

What? What on earth do frogs have to do with spirituality? Consider these analogies:

Egg/Tadpole = Orientation to God
Froglet = Disorientation/Confusion or perceived Separation from God
Frog = Return to or Reorientation to God (1)

Or:
Egg/Tadpole = resting the mind (the act of allowing)
Froglet = accepting the feeling (the act of receptivity)
Frog = trusting the healing process (the act of faith) (2)

The above similes are written with profound apologies, if necessary, and gratitude, to theologians all, especially Walter Brueggeman and Regina Dawn Akers. (need references here)

Non-sequiturs (Maybe. Really?) on the education of the Froglet:

Playground. Froglets’ favorite games might be hopscotch, leap frog or the monkey bars…the serious work of letting go and moving ahead/letting go and moving ahead/ letting go and moving ahead/ad infinitum (surely the necessary stuff of all growth).

Classroom. Then a shrill bell summons the little ones back to learn, where rigid conforming lessons are taught only to be un-learned later, or escaped through the masterful, camouflaged art of daydreaming.

After School. While waiting for their amphibious parental units, they could somersault and wrestle playfully with each other, practicing their grown up moves. They already have graduated from eating algae and grass to munching on flies and crickets, alas. ahhh, the Great Cycle of of Life…all in a day of a Frog’s Life.

Do the mama and papa frogs (read humans, felines, birds, antelopes, pine trees, bean sprouts. or anything YOU are passionate about) care for their offspring and others, or have they been programmed or poisoned out of their nurturing abilities? Is there evidence of some Higher Power that cares for all of creation, and so we all must follow suit?

In Christianity, we sing “Praise Him all creatures here below!”

In Buddhism, we chant: “I vow to save all sentient beings”

The future is now. Let us pray.

Church of the Rock and Roll Frog

Little Froggie Rock StarWelcome to the Church of the Rock and Roll Frog where the Frog Circle-Cycle remains eternally Un-Broken and where the Frog Spirit Choir sings, chirps and peeps praises, hymns and psalms in bogs and lilyponds all over the globe! Frogs are love, and so are YOU!

When we think FROG (which some have translated as Fully Relying On God), we think water, the universal symbol of deep emotion, healing, baptism and many rites of passage, sacraments and rituals.

Each time a frog passes through one of its cycles (egg, tadpole, froglet, frog, etc.) s/he enters a state of liminality. “Thin time” or Samhain (Irish for “summer’s end) marks the New Year (10/31-11/1) in Celtic Lore, the ending and beginning of the Wiccan year, the midpoint between the autumnal equinox (one of two days of equal light and darkness) and the winter solstice, the shortest amount of daylight in a 24-hour period during the calendar year, and can often be for us a spiritual crisis of opportunity. Frogs remind of us to respect ourselves and each other for wherever we are in our life-cycle, as well as to honor ourselves and each other for whatever we release and welcome as we pass through liminal moments along the way.

Frogs are also ecological markers for the damage we are doing to the Planet, and the self-destructive direction we are heading in ourselves. Should Church celebrate Life, or focus on Death?or both? And/or about the liminal state between the two? One cannot, after all, have one without the other.death can bring gratitude,sustenance, cooperation, awe, an embrace of our Planet and each other, as well as reign down on us with terror and another kind of awe…that of a final, twisted and painful demise.

So, at some point in amphibial history, all the Froggies gathered and peacefully arrived at a squeegy consensus on a thing or two:

**Leaping, dancing, boogying, swimming, “cycling” through life are the organic response to human propensity to self- and eco-destruction. And No Other Way= NOW!!!

**Frogs rock, and in church we give. By helping Frogs, we are helping ourselves, so please give generously to Save the Frogs at https://www.savethefrogs.com

**Also, by liking, even loving frogs, we learn to love God, ourselves, and others. Please like the page https://www.facebook.com/frogbooks. You’ll feel good about everything all day.

**Little Froggy Rock Star Himself appreciates you!

Funky Fascination with Fruitful and Multiplying Frogs!!!

Leap-FrogIf the 20th century was the Age of Anxiety, as dubbed by British poet WH AUDEN, then the 21st century could be dubbed the Age of Anxious Change—and who knows better about change than a frog? I mean beginning life as an egg, and then morphing into an odd, sperm-like pollywog and then sprouting legs and micro-evolving into a tadpole and finally into a lovely, svelte…wet…and athletic (from all that amphibious swimming!) FROG!

Being an amphibian, a frog is cold-blooded (but warm-hearted, of course, one could say of their affectionate natures [see Kermit…Under ‘Muppets.’]) And boy did he sing in a swell way of the difficulties and opportunities of ‘bein’ green”.That’s a frog for you: challenges, perils, paradoxes and parties…every hop, skip and leap of the swimmin’ way.

Froggy Family’s First Frolic by Margot Fass (links: Amazon.com, IndieBound.com, and Facebook.com/Frogbooks [please like this page!] evolved from her mind of slime and lily pads and lotuses.

Margot’s fascination with frogs all started with a captured imagination in the Grand Canyon, where, acrophobic, clinging to trees 20 feet from the rim, and overwhelmed with the historic TIME of it all, she thought about doing fabric paintings combining Hebrew letters (about 5,000 years old), a scene related to the Grand Canyon (about 80 million years old), and some form of amphibian and/or reptilian life. Beit was the second of 3, and featured the frog (about 330 million years old).

Frogs inspired:

  • 3 black and white collages, Beit, then 6 more collages. 8 oil paintings, some with fabric. (http://margotfass.com/gallery/ see there: Froggy Chorus Line).
  • Margot to learn about frogs as eco-indicators, and Kerry Kriger, whose devotion and perseverance inspired
  • Margot to write and illustrate a book about Frogs and
  • Margot to ask husband Martin to write stories for 4 of the oil paintings
  • by one of Martin’s stories of Leap Frog,

LEAP FROG: a lot of people to think of sex. Kerry Kriger called it ‘Amplexus’. Shame!

To Margot, it was just a game. (oh my!)

A very fine and friendly website about True Love in the life-cycle of a Frog-Beast can be found here: http://allaboutfrogs.org/weird/general/cycle.html

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