The Frog Princes

by cheri sabraw

Since my mother died, it’s been a reflective several months for me.

I have thought a great deal about aging but more about vitality–how to keep it and nourish it.

This evening, the glorious rain that has pounded Northern California for four days took a momentary break as if to say, ” There! Are you happy? Now that I have doused your fear of fire in the hills, what are you thinking?”

Good question. What am I thinking?

I stepped outside on my adobe porch tonight.  To be honest, I took with me a glass of Wente Chardonnay and sat down on the step to consider and reconsider how, under the constant pounding of both rain and time, I should approach the next decade.

Add to those thoughts and to the reflective nature of the night, the blowing of the North Wind Boreas and the croaking of thousands of frogs–maybe Leto’s peasants?– across our road, swimming and flirting in the old watering trough.

Talk about vitality.

The moon breaks through the rain clouds, creating a lovely halo around her visage.

The creek, anemic until this rain storm, its flow down to 12 inches, now carries leaf duff and little walnut-shell boats on a thrilling ride to the San Francisco Bay and to the sea.

The caterpillar I found on the fern, inches upward, looking for a safe haven in which to pause.

I am reminded of the energy of the visible and the invisible universe where atoms collide, where frogs bark into a dark moor, and where a yellow dog looks for affection.

About Cheri

Writer, photograph, artist, mother, grandmother and wife.
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14 Responses to The Frog Princes

  1. Muni says:

    Always nice to hear from you Cheri, and to ponder your candid thoughts. So have you decided how to approach the next decade? (or did the Chardonnay get the best of that train of thought?)

    • Cheri says:

      I have decided how to approach my next decade! Spend more time with friends, keep physically active, keep cooking real food, lighten up and let go of worries, listen to more frogs, dip more bread in olive oil, and keep sipping (albeit one glass) of Chardonnay. How’s that for a start?

  2. Brighid says:

    Pondering what your conclusions might have been… before the wine & after…

  3. Cyberquill says:

    The croaking of thousands of frogs, maybe Leto’s peasants? Don’t worry about it. That’s just the booze talking.

  4. Dear Cheri,

    I didn’t know that your mother had died and I am so sorry to hear it. What a woman she was – so sweet and hard working and never mind inspiring. I was devastated when my mother died even though I knew she wasn’t going to be mine forever.

    May peace be with you over your family’s holiday.

    Many hugs,

  5. Cheri says:

    Dear MJ,
    Thank you for all the moral support you gave to me during my struggles to come to terms with my mother’s many struggles. As my dear husband observed about Queen Joan’s sudden death (stroke), what made her death so sad was the contrasting poignancy of the way she lived her life with the obstacles and limitations imposed on her. Had she been a grouchy and ungrateful old woman, it may have been easier, but she wasn’t.
    On the day before she died, she told me that I was a wonderful daughter. When I asked her what to do with an heirloom bracelet that I have had in my safe which belonged to her mother, she told me to wear it!

    In fact, her sudden death was the first medical episode that has gone her way in the last 20 years.

    My niece is in medical school in Philadelphia. When I come to town, I’d like to arrange to meet you somewhere and take you to lunch.


    • Dear Cheri,

      I was privileged to support you. I was inspired by the story your wrote about your mom. So much so that I labored over writing the poem below which, since you first saw it, has been tweaked.

      Your mother watches you from the other side now, I believe it with all my heart. We’ll have lunch in Philadelphia when you are here and we’ll laugh at the synchronicities which abound. I look forward to it.

      Peace California Sister,

      The Sage Dragon

      An old mum silver as the moon,
      took her nap at noon,
      loved the month of June
      dew on the bloom.

      As nature gently called her,
      on mornings brisk and clear,
      this old mum rode her tricycle
      under floppy hat and cheer.

      One day an old man driver,
      very drunk as he could be,
      hit this sweet handicapped mum,
      then sped away fast to flee.

      But let me quickly mention,
      her kids’ faces turning pale,
      because this old man driver
      lacked conscience, courage and avoided jail.

      So this quiet town went heavy
      with such bad and tragic news;
      even prompting a local author to shout,
      “I’ll write a fairy tale as muse!

      Yes, I’ll script a mighty tale today,
      about a dragon’s powerful touch,
      and with it a memorable message,
      showing principle, justice, valor and such!

      So to the page went the story
      to support sweet handicapped mum,
      and tap tap did she – single key after key – because author got it
      driver shouldn’t walk free.

      “Once upon a sage dragon time,”
      the words poured forth as plea,
      “Please, please sage dragon come to answer
      a daughter worried on bended knee.”

      It took that night a beseeching
      for prayerful words to reach sage dragon’s ear,
      powerful magic grabbed all’s attention,
      replacing chilly space of anxiety and fear.

      “Quietly, from ancient stars ago,
      dragon’s head popped up that night;
      knowing that to set this mum free
      would be a mighty sage dragon’s delight.

      “So to the sky this sage dragon leapt
      to search and find dear sweet mum;
      a flapping electric moment it was
      a thrilling, chilling, magnificent sight.

      “From the moonlit sky dragon’s eye looked down
      to find this sweet injured mum,
      so swoop down did she over land and sea
      because there was work to be done.

      “Once finding mum alone sage dragon proceeds
      to warm her chilly nose, slender fingers and toes;
      for a kindred spirit a tenderness
      to defrost a delicate rose.

      “When satisfied sage dragon leaps
      back into the morning’s bright blue sky;
      every pious vision she carried
      to the court’s trial now to fly.

      “Sage dragon eyes the courthouse low,
      from the cloudless sky so clear.
      Even from the ground her approach was heard
      flapping wildly, powerfully every nerve to disturb.

      “Cobalt wings hundreds of feet across ’twas said,
      smashed through closed windows of 100% lead;
      every crypt flying open shaking the living
      and the dead.

      “But dragon’s fire only a warning that day
      to stop being unfair or by that cloven devil beware
      ‘I’ll be back and I’ll get you
      on my honor I swear.’”

  6. Cheri says:

    My, this poem has matured. It made me laugh and cry when I first read it and it does the same now.
    I have printed this new iteration. What a woman you are!

  7. shoreacres says:

    Even though I didn’t know your mother, I know the experience of losing one: complex, ambiguous, thought-provoking.

    The first thought I had when I stood at my own mother’s bedside, once she’d gone, was: “Now I am an orphan.” More than anything, that single word summed up the sense of loss, and the need to begin living in an entirely different universe. And, in some inexplicable way, it amused me. Little Orphan Linda, I thought.

    And then I realized the truth. Love may travel on, but love also remains. In the end, it’s what sustains us. Thanks for this lovely, thought-provoking, and emotion-stiirring post.

  8. Cheri says:

    Thank you for your very kind comment, Linda. You are correct–that love travels on. That expression is a lovely thought and I will keep it with me.

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