For three days and nights I started then stopped writing, blocked by some unseen force that crippled my brain and prevented the words from flowing into my fingers and onto the computer keyboard.
The rain just kept coming, often with such force that it caused vehicles to pull off the pothole-laden streets.
Normally I love the rain. But on these days it only darkened an already dark mood as self-doubt set in and began to feed on my confidence, like a lion ripping at the throat of an antelope.
Why did we leave our home, our family, friends — a good life to live in a prison, behind the bars and gates of a home in a small town not far outside the blight called San Jose?
The isolation, made worse by the cultural and language barriers, gets worse with each passing day instead of better.
The mission to find a beach-side retreat is overwhelming. There are plenty of mansions and luxury seaside homes for rent but nothing that fits the budget of a middle-class Canadian family without a large source of income.
The best of Costa Rica, it seems, is reserved for the rich.
On the third day of this pity party, something strange happened.
As I sat at a table in the tiny backyard, the bubbling of a small fountain drowning out the cacophony of honking horns outside the front door, a frog appeared.
At first I thought the frog, almost black and just bigger than a softball, was a garden gnome it was so still, its throat unmoving. Its bulging dark eyes stared, unblinking, as if it were engaging me in a contest to see who would break first.
We’re in the tropics. Frogs shouldn’t seem such a strange occurrence, except that we live in a very urban area, and our backyard, though rife with greenery and flowers, is surrounded on three sides by a 10-foot high concrete fence and fronted by a busy street.
We’ve been here almost a month and in all that time I’ve never seen so much as a hint of a frog. Hummingbirds, carpenter ants and cockroaches? Yes. But not frogs.
Soon after, the rain came again, pelting the backyard so hard it was like thousands of tiny rocks being dropped from the sky.
The frog, which had by then hopped away after my daughter poked him a few times, suddenly reappeared as I stared out the patio doors.
He sat still, this time in the small patch of thick, green grass. The rain bounced off his hard back and he stared so intently it made me uncomfortable, like he was trying to tell me something through his bulgy, black eyes.
After some time, the two of us just starting at one another, the frog ambled away and disappeared under the foliage at the bottom of a large mango tree that provides shade to the postage stamp-sized yard.
Why did this frog suddenly hop into my life?
Curiosity led me to the computer, where I began to Google all things frog. Frog mythology. Frog symbolism. The meaning of frogs.
It seems the amphibious creatures hold a special place in many cultures and religions. They spend the first part of their lives under water and shed their skins, all of which are symbolic of resurrection and spiritual evolution.
According to one website, the appearance of a frog in your life indicates it’s a time to find opportunities in transition.
It goes on to say that:
In China the Frog is an emblem of Yin energy and thought of as good luck. Feng Shui practices recommend putting an image of a Frog in the east window of your home to encourage child birth and/or happy family life.
It said to call upon the energy of the frog when:
- You need to easily swim through some tough life-transitions;
- You need a little assurance while traveling;
- And when you are working to enhance your intuition, and strengthen your connection with the spirit world.
Call me crazy, but there was no coincidence in the frog’s appearance, and its timing. It broke whatever dark spell had taken hold and bewitched me with fresh perspective. The words once again flowed.
The frog encounter allowed me to refocus my energy on the reason we’re here and get out from behind the walls of our prison to enjoy the morning sun and explore our town and the cultural, albeit urban, richness it offers. The beachside home will find us, when we’re ready.
Thanks frog, my prince.
I could just kiss you.