Today's Thursday Theme is Egg.
So here is some more about my frogspawn.
There is a nostalgia about frogspawn and tadpoles, for me (more than easter eggs or chocolate bunnies in fact) as something associated with childhood, with primary school classrooms and spring and family outings to countryside ponds with jam-jars at the ready.
Outings such as this in fact:
which is from Further Doings of Milly-Molly-Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley, this copy given to me by my Auntie Chris and Uncle Pete on the occasion of my 4th birthday.
Milly-Molly-Mandy went on exciting excursions like this with her friend Billy Blunt
and what better time for such excursions than a Bank-holiday Monday?
(do other countries have Bank holidays?)
She did other largely more girly things with "little-friend-Susan" and was quite a well-rounded and appealing character.
I am sure that you'll be reassured to know that Milly-Molly-Mandy and Billy Blunt did indeed catch tadpoles, and also that they later returned the tadpoles to their natural habitat.
Last year my frog pool had no frogspawn or tadpoles, though I did catch sight of a shy but reassuring frog or two, just once or twice in late summer and autumn.
The year before that I had imported tadpoles from a friend's pond into my little pool where they grew and wriggled and thrived and then hopped away.
This coincided, 2 years ago, with my mother's last few weeks of living and dying - and I find myself, actually, without words - though I'd intended to write something about the significance, for me, of the tadpoles and froglets and process and season.
But I do (as nearly always) have a picture - this was taken last Sunday, a week after the "emergence" of the frogspawn:
I can age-stamp the spawn in this photo fairly exactly because I was a witness to the process of its production - not intentionally, I hasten to add. It took me a while to realise there were two frogs there, not just the one.... they were so still! and I did then creep away not wanting to disturb them - or to appear "disturbed" myself.
This reminded me that when I was a student, years ago, I came across mention of a textbook of Roman Catholic casuistry - a book listing and categorising sins.
Recommended bedtime reading in the C17th no doubt.
This particular text apparently stated that watching the procreation of mammals and/or large animals was a mortal sin [Big Bad = eternal damnation unless "dealt with" through the sacraments of the Church] but watching small animals or insects or birds "at it" was only a venial sin [Little, Less bad = purgatory at worst].
I can't remember if frogs were mentioned specifically. I imagine they came in the latter category.
Lets hope so, eh?
Since I took this photo, the frogspawn are significantly more tadpole-shaped, and the blobby jelly seems to be almost completely dissolved. So I suppose they are actually nearly egg-less now - hatched, in fact - but they don't yet show any signs of wiggling.
I check on them daily.
I think part of the reason this is so all fascinating is that frogspawn and tadpoles allow us transparently to observe a process which is normally hidden away secretly, inside the egg or womb. We can watch and wonder at the whole amazing transformation from blobby egg to springy spronginess.
I will keep you updated.