May 15, 2013

I’ve been a storm watcher since I was a little girl and the other day NYC had a real drencher. I knew it was going to be something to take notice of when the sky turned a sickly grey-green and a heavy mist covered the buildings in the distance, making them look milky. It didn’t take long before the pigeons that constantly fly between the terraces of the apartment buildings were nowhere in sight and a hush came over the city. Then the sky got so dark it looked like the sun had set early and all the traffic lights glowed brighter than they usually did at this hour of the afternoon. I hunkered down in my easy chair with a cup of coffee to watch this one. And it didn’t take long before the sky opened up and rain poured down on the city. I heard the feeble rumble of thunder in the distance. There were a few flashes of lightening. The sky got darker, the rain more intense. The thunder drifted closer and closer until it was overhead, making such great booming sounds that the windows rattled. Shards of lightening flashed across the horizon illuminating the sky with piercing bolts of light.

People ran for cover. Pedestrians carelessly darted across the street, drenched, foolishly expected the oncoming traffic to stop for them. Cars and delivery trucks slowed to a crawl and the sidewalks were empty. Umbrellas flew up the street, the wind having pulled them from the hands of the unwary. My dad used say that it was ‘raining cats and dogs’ when a storm like this passed over us. The storm kept up for a good hour and then turned into a rather ordinary rainy afternoon.

The next day all that was evident of the storm was the awesome clouds that hung over the city. I took a walk around the reservoir in the afternoon. The pathway was filled with mud puddles and most of the late spring booms on the flowering trees were knocked to the muddy ground. The colorful tulip gardens were reduced to thin stalks, every petal laying on the wet grass, blown to the earth, broken and bruised.

I took my camera with me, as I often do. The ducks floated in the middle of the reservoir, their heads tucked under wings. The cormorants roosted in a gaggle along the roof of the power house, their necks extended, drying rain-soaked feathers. There’s usually a lot of debris floating along the shoreline of the reservoir after a big storm like the one the day before, and I looked down to see what might have fallen into the water and drifted ashore. Though I certainly wasn’t expecting to see the largest frog that I have ever seen looking back at me. But there it was, the fattest, juicy looking frog sitting motionless, sunning itself in the afternoon light. In all of the times that I’ve walked around the reservoir I’ve never seen a frog sitting on the shore line or even heard one croaking. This got me to wondering about my dad’s old saying, ‘raining cats and dogs’. Did it rain down frogs yesterday? It could happen. It’s happened in England, Australia, Serbia, even Kansas City and Alabama have reported frogs falling from the sky after or during a significant rain storm. It seems thunder storms can sometimes spark high-pressure wind funnel systems that travel over rivers and lakes sucking up anything floating or swimming near the surface. Though I hadn’t heard anything on the news about a serious wind system during yesterday’s storm, but I suppose it could have gone undetected.

I took a couple of photos of the frog and after a short stare-down with the creature, I continued on my way around the reservoir, looking in the bushes and across the grassy fields to see if I could spot something hopping. But there were no more frogs and I made a mental note to look more closely at the fat raindrops the next time I watched a major storm.



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  1. thelma straw on May 15, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    He’s so cute. Did you give him a name????

  2. Susan on May 15, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    LOL! I love the frog part…keep your umbrella handy.

  3. Jeri on May 15, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    I don’t doubt it was raining frogs. After all, it’s New York. Of course, if you kissed the frog it might have turned into a handsome prince. Or maybe Neil Diamond (a native New Yorker as well).

    I guess you weren’t tempted.

    Love the pix and the story.

  4. Sharon on May 15, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    This story should be in Readers Digest. It has the quality and content of a cute short story.

  5. Janice Bottemiller on May 15, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    What a wonderful story. I believe that it does rain frogs but they are usually small. Maybe the thunder compressed all the little ones into one big one, Great writing and great pics

  6. Patty Little on May 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Love the frog. I have heard that Central Park is its own ecosystem, and I believe it!

  7. toddi on May 17, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    The frogs made me chuckle and the clouds were fantastic. You do such great writng and connecting pictures to the story theme. Which comes first to you, the story or the pictures? I have often wondered your thought process because it all works to gether so well. Yes, I agree, Reader’s Digest is missing our with not carrying your work.

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