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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Darwin Of Our Discontent

"Hello, Darwin."
"Hello, Geo., it's December, isn't it?"
"Yes, my friend, the coldest month."
"I know. I know. You may have noticed I am naked."
"Don't you hibernate, Darwin?"
"Yes, I huddle up with other treefrogs and sleep for months."
"Then why are you out sitting on a leaf?"
"I am old. I got hungry."
"It reminds me of church."
"What is this 'church' ?"
"Darwin, when humans are little they often grow up in religious sects that offer Sunrise Service on special holidays. These are the same churches that purport to help people into Heaven..."
"Heaven?"
"A pleasant place in outer space."
"Go on, Geo."
"Well, I always wondered what impelled churches to get people congregating at sunrise --which is pretty close to hell-- and expecting them to be dressed up is even worse."
"Worse than being cold and naked on a leaf, waiting for food?"
"Point taken, Darwin. We did get a drowsy breakfast before sun-up."
"Geo., that's where your empathy with treefrogs ends."
"Where, with the sunrise in stained-glass windows, enlightenment?"
"No, with breakfast. I eat bugs, Geo."
"Oh."
 
 



40 comments:

  1. I guess it'd be of no use to mention that in Everett today at the safeway I say previously frozen frog legs for 6.99/lb....
    However old I get, and while hunger is not an issue at present, I doubt I'll turn to a sunday service for solace.
    I did however have a GI doc of my age tell me I needed to mend my dietary ways two days ago....after a moment and a look from me he shrugged and said "Ok, maybe not. Well, come back in a year."

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    1. Dear Mike, I have a confession to make. When I was 10 or 11, my chums and I would spend a dollar on frog-gigs and hike a mile to a bamboo stand to cut poles. We'd take a gunny sack and go gigging. We liked frog legs, but by and by, decided they didn't taste much different from chicken. We began considering other occupations for ourselves, which led to schools, apprenticeships, careers more likely to settle humane pensions on us than frog-gigging. I can see why frog legs are expensive --frog giggers chose the wrong industry. Here, we just have treefrogs and I keep quiet about my 60-year-old offenses to their larger relatives. Best wishes on dietary modifications.

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  2. We used to eat butterbugs for breakfast when our son was a toddler. At least, that's what he called them. We called them pancakes.

    Did you knit little scarves for the tree frogs, yet, Geo.? We await pictures!

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    1. Butterbugs, I like it, Jenny! Here, cereal was Hoo-hoo and pancakes were Pootycakes. I have suggested to Norma that she make little jackets for the treefrogs but she has no patterns for sizes smaller than a potato chip.

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  3. Darwin is being a tad unfair. I am pretty sure that you, like most of us, have consumed bugs. Perhaps not with his relish, but consumed them you/we have.
    I wonder whether we would pay more attention in church if we were cold, naked and hungry?

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    1. Indeed, I, like all boys, ate a bug or two voluntarily or on a dare. Then left off 'til I bought a motorcycle in 1976 and prudently went back and bought a Shoei full-face helmet and shield. As to attention in church, the question didn't arise as a child-Presbyterian or pre-teen Methodist, but certainly demanded attention in 1966 when I became a Unitarian. LRY (liberal religious youth) introduced me to ways of grouping, like treefrogs, in defense of cold and hunger --I was delighted they neglected nudity.

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  4. I agree, dressed before sunrise is hell. In my later years, I realized that some religions want to take us through hell so we will more appreciate their promise of heaven. Sunrise, though, is glorious and best enjoyed while in a warm bed and looking out the window, before we roll over and go back to sleep.

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    1. After 40 years of getting to work at dawn, I am of the same mind as you on this issue, Arleen. I do not deny the exquisite beauty of sunrise --but I also appreciate Saki's (H.H. Munro) take on waking at dawn: "It looked like the lawn had been left out all night." The option of going back to sleep has always suggested a more compassionate universe to me.

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  5. Tree frogs have absolutely no cemptathy for the many first world problems that humans face.

    It's not my fault they are cold-blooded.

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    1. Must agree on both counts, Harry. However, I sometimes sense both agitation and strength in the little guys. They are creatures of little brain, and yet they share this step on the evolutionary ladder with us. As for species, they are cute, we are warm-blooded --I don't know which is most conducive to survival.

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  6. At least Darwin appears to be reasonably well-padded around his hindquarters. Many was the time in my childhood/youth I sat.....Lord those pews were hard; and it didn't make me pay more attention.

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    1. Dear Tom, my father was raised Catholic and the statues frightened him in childhood. He went off to college and returned Presbyterian. That was my introduction to church. Icons were not bloody, but oh, those pews --hard as stone.

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  7. Poor little froggie out there shivering and looking for his breakfast. Sad to say there are some of our species in the same condition. I guess we shouldn't complain too too much about being called to give thanks before sunrise seeing as we have warm clothes and full bellies and a home to go back to. Happy day Geo......

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    1. Indeed, Delores. There is a measureless comfort in having enough --food and shelter. We get so wrapped up in the media barrage and trending outrages that we sometimes forget how fortunate we are. Happy wishes to you too!

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  8. I always thought January or February was the coldest month. 'Course I grew up in North Dakota and it was cold about half of the year. Probably why we didn't have tree frogs. And we DID have lots of mosquitoes. Darwin would have loved breakfast there.

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    1. Darwin would doubtless love unlimited mosquitoes, Bruce, but we'd have to make snowsuits for them or get them evolving fur before the transition could be safe. Is anybody working on this?

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  9. Darwin is always so basic in his opinions.

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    1. Dear Emma, Darwin is basic in everything and, if he wasn't possessed of ESP, wouldn't be able to communicate at all. However, the next comment (from Tom Cochrun) may shed some light on the enigma.

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  10. Tell Darwin that some of his cousins, down here on the central coast, have created a "dew-wop" group. They hang around the corners of the Coast Union Tennis Courts and entertain us in our morning matches, well after sunrise. I wonder though why they perform only right before or after rain or our misty coastal fog.
    We call them the "master croakers."

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    1. Dear Tom, fog and rain do indeed bring out that croaking chorus. There is hardly any musical genre so basic and expressive as "dew-wop". Tree frogs are rightfully referred to by musicologists as der Meisterquaken.

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  11. You've provided some good laughs with this one, Geo - and I desperately need them. There are times when I'd like to escape to a "pleasant place in outer space", but I sure as hell don't want to endure any sunrise services to get there....

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    1. Same here, Jon, and late rising never interfered with my spirituality. Darwin thinks Heaven is a warm, humid place with lots of bugs --I've visited Oklahoma twice and assured him it exists whether he goes to church or not.

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  12. Had fun visualizing a snow-suited Darwin in North Dakota, but really got a laugh when I pictured a matching snow=suited Geo leaning nonchalantly against his tree next to him, waving mosquitos his way. I wonder if Darwin eats aphids? I just heard that if you buy a live tree you should check it for aphids. You could just hang Darwin in your tree and then he'd be warm and have a steady food supply. Win win!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Geo.December 7, 2017 at 12:39 PM

      Thanks, Chicken! I've made a point of never inquiring too closely into Darwin's diet. He just sits on a leaf and waits for any protein to walk by. Sometimes a treefrog will get into the back porch and crawl under the washer or dryer --then feebly hop out covered with lint. So I brush them off and put them outside where they can lead more dignified and rewarding lives. Not that Darwin wouldn't make a fine and useful Yuletide ornament, but I don't think he's even a Christian.

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    3. Whatever you think is best, Geo, but I suspect many non-Christians observe the holiday, too, so don't let that stop your froggy friend.

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  13. Hoping that you and yours are safe from the fires.

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    1. So far, so good, EC. Thanks. Ventura, Redlands, Santa Rosa, Sonoma and many other places, not so lucky. California burns vigorously every summer but I've never seen anything like this. There are 6 wildfires burning in southern California right now. I can't help thinking there's a calculating pyromaniac on the loose.

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    2. Sadly a lot of the fires we have each summer ARE deliberately lit. Even more sadly, often my firefighters.

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    3. I know, EC, and share your sadness at unprovable outrage. There is something missing in the character of fire-starters that has not been generally addressed.

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  14. Oh Geo, sunrise is a wonderful time with or without others! Its when my dog and I worship :)

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    1. Accepted and respected, dear Sage. After many decades of going off to work ahead of dawn, I am thrilled to wake by habit --even after 9 years retirement-- and watch first light fill the bedroom curtains. Then my happy meditations recede into dozing and dreaming.

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  15. *smiles* Oh how I enjoyed this, Geo...such a pleasant way to spend time on this freezing afternoon!
    On a slightly more serious note though...the very idea of having to rise early and get dressed up to go to church (in order to guarantee my place in "Heaven") sounds such a tedious bore! I have always been a very spiritual person, but have never felt the need to conform to others' ideas of religious practices. To me, that feels so false. I mean, we were not all created the same...so why would our expressions of devotion be identical to everyone else's?
    For me, it is a personal path. I believe we eventually all find our own way "home"...and at it's very worst, organized religion can be used to wield power over people and, to my way of thinking, that is so wrong.
    If I worship anything...it is Mother Nature!

    A Fabulously humourous and thought-provoking post, Geo...Thank you so much!

    Wishing You a Brilliant Weekend.:))

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    1. Thanks, Ygraine. I too feel Nature is the language of an intelligent universe. As we learn it, become more fluent, the better off we are.

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  16. "Well, I always wondered what impelled churches to get people congregating at sunrise --which is pretty close to hell-- and expecting them to be dressed up is even worse." This made me laugh out loud. :)

    I must confess, I wasn't overly thrilled at the hectic pace and prolific whining that went along with getting our kids ready for those early morning services, but personally, I LOVE early morning. Always have.

    Now that it's gonna be okay for ministers to support political candidates and policies from the pulpit, I suspect a lot more people will be doing their worship in private.

    Not sure exactly which day, but it's coming soon, so... HAPPY BIRTHDAY, dude! I hope you have a fantabulous day. Oh heck... make it a fantabulous YEAR. (I'm feeling particularly generous today...)

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    1. Happy Birthday to you too, Susan! It's a fine month for it. It's noon and I'm still in my pajamas, so this morning's gone just fine; you have a good day too!

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  17. Slim pickins for a froggy breakfast, but I hope Darwin gets a few bites to eat before the long sleep. And I hope you get no early-ups, lots of birthday laudation, and mountains of good health!
    x

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    1. Likewise, Laura, and lots of love to you.

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  18. Even a huddle of tree frogs doesn't sound that warm... Maybe if he eats an ant with a nice sting it will warm him up? It's getting cold here, but nettles are still growing, they have warming stings for frosted fingers. Not everyone likes that though, just like they don't want bugs for breakfast.

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    1. Darwin has returned to his hibernatorium --a clay mask hung on the stucco pumphouse wall. He has lots of naked friends in there but they should at least have gloves. I've noticed a lot of ants looking for food between walkway bricks, so I'm sure the frogs are finding plenty of warming formic acid.

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