About a month ago, I was invited to join a group of interesting and intelligent people from Pasadena on a tour of the Sacramento Delta region. The tour is an educational journey about water; where it comes from, how it is treated, what natural elements enhance its potability, and what things hinder it. It struck me, as I stood gazing up at the state capitol building, is how all of this hangs in the balance of politics.
Scientists, engineers, lawyers, lobbyists are employed privately and publicly to gather tons of data, exposition, example, experiment for the purpose of influencing a change in the worldview of elected officials. They/we must wake up to the challenging management and protection of finite water. While NASA frantically zooms around the universe searching for water on other planets, we are stuck with the very same stuff Cleopatra bathed in, although the rose petals have long been reabsorbed.
A thousand modern Marcus Antonius snakes slither round to encapture some of that clear sensuousness percolated pure through centuries of stones and grasses to bottle under their particular plastic brands. It made me wonder what happens to all of the cases and cases of bottled water that have an expiration date. How long does it take the plastic to disintegrate so that the water can be free again to recirculated throughout our planet?
It gives me a headache. There are so many variables… and I don’t want to go down that plastic rabbit hole, right now. Instead, I want to consult with my very own naturally wise frog, Professor Weebles, about what is happening in Pasadena… to the watershed.
Professor Weebles lived with me for the first two years in a fish tank. When he married, he moved out to a lusciously private pickle jar pad filled with lucky bamboo. Esmeralda, his wife of three years, died recently. I told him all about my trip in an attempt to distract him from his funk.
“Did you know that one of the big concerns for the delta is the dumping of aquarium contents into the river system?”
“Why is that?” he asked.
“Well, it introduces non-native plants and animals that compete with native species and clog up the natural purification system,” I told him boldly.
“Oooooohhh woe.” he muttered through the bubbles. “I came from a river in Thailand. We escaped there from a lab that used us for pregnancy tests, just like rabbits were used here in your country years ago. Dead was a Yes. Not dead was a No. We staked out our territory pretty fast and I suppose we were ruining everybodies lives multiplying like crazy in that river. No one was there to stop us until the pet shop boys caught us.”
Professor Weebles is full of weird stories. I don’t know if I believe that one. Just like I don’t know if I can believe the story about native toads being a concern for the Pasadena city council.
I do believe no one wants to kill frogs by dumping sediment on them, or use them to see if they’re knocked up. Among the wilds, I’m not yet convinced that the long term existence in their native home from which they are named the Arroyo Toad, or that the presently hopping Common Western Toad is important enough to them to establish permanent protection for their habitat in Hahamongna. Dan Rix, a Pasadena Public Works Department engineer said they’ll wait for the toads to leave town “on their own” before dumping sediment.
“Look at the bright side,” Professor Weebles flapped a long knobby front toe at me, “You’ve got some politicians on the council right now who must care tremendously about that watery piece of paradise.”
The wise frog went on… “Did you hear what Mr. Tornek said about how important the environment is to him?”
“And did you listen to what Margaret McAustin had to say? You should listen carefully to her,” he said.
“And mademoiselle,” Professor Weebles eyes widened and then narrowed. He spoke slowly, and deliberately now, “Have you taken the time to listen to our own district representative, Chris Holden?”
I shrugged. “All that was said over a year ago.”
Professor Weebles seemed a little exasperated, “Listen to me. I know more about how you humans foul things up for yourselves, me being a FROG and an educated member of the animal kingdom as well. I do know that if you humans go down you’ll take all of us with you.”
He gulped some air from the surface, “Everything Mr. Holden said is as relevant today as it was on July 12, 2010. The man speaks the truth!”
And with that he swam away to disappear under the roots of bamboo in his pickle jar condo.
I suppose he was right. It’s sad now that he’s gone. I found him stretched out on the kitchen floor yesterday, stiff as a board. I picked him up carefully and returned him to his jar. He recovered instantly and snapped back at me,
“I’m only playing dead.”
W.T.F.? I should have named him Basil Rathfrog, a perfect name for a toady actor.