Frog in one’s throat, fine as frog hair, frog on a musical instrument, spring peepers in ditches and drainages!  The frogs in Pacific Northwest totem poles generally “display a wide mouth with no teeth.  They have no ears, but they do have large round eyes and toed feet” (Hilary Stewart).

Yesterday I checked on the progress of the Baranof frog, coincidentally when a cruise ship of over 2,000 tourists had stopped in Sitka Sound.  The gentleman repainting the pole, a man I hadn’t yet seen working there, looked carefully at my hiking shoes when I rushed up in the rain and remarked, “You’re making great progress.”  As if my lack of rubber boots identified me clearly as one just off the boat.

“We’re only painting it,” he said, puffing on his stub of cigarette, thinking I suppose that I believed he was actually still carving the pole.

These photos show the Baranof frog receiving more paint throughout the week.  After I took this last one, a woman from the ship also photographed it from the same angle, realizing I guess that it was one of the easiest faces on the pole to shoot.  “You’re living up here?” she asked me.  I explained my month-long residency plans.  She in turn described life on the cruise.  “You eat, and eat, and eat, then you sleep because you’ve eaten so much, then you eat some more.”  I remarked that they must need the rest, remembering my own snoozing over a book on the ferry ride up.


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