Junah Tales by M.R. Neer
The Robin and the Frog
As Junah Cat and Mo Mouse rested next to the pond, they noticed a red-breasted robin hopping along the soft grass at the edge of the pond. The robin would hop a little way, then stop and listen. Hop a bit more, then stop and listen again. Then, unexpectedly, he’d sink his beak into the soft earth and come out with a worm.
“Did you see that, Mo?” asked Junah.
“Yeah, that robin got still, and then he was able to catch his food,” said Mo.
“Yes, that’s fascinating,” said Junah. “It’s like the water of the pond that got still to let us see the fish.”
“Yes, but it’s different,” said Mo. “The ground wasn’t moving like the water. It was like the robin himself had to be still, sort of listening, and then he could act quickly.”
Junah shushed Mo and pointed to the pond. A big frog was sitting on a lily pad fairly close to the edge where Junah and Mo were resting. Junah watched him shoot out his tongue and catch a fly.
“How do you know when to shoot out your tongue?” Junah asked Frog.
“I just wait, Mr. Cat,” said Frog.
“Yes, I can see you have to wait till they come close to you, and then I guess you have to time the flick of your tongue?” continued Junah.
“Yes, it takes good timing,” said Frog, “but the key is to be very still and very quiet, completely silent, so the flies don’t know I’m here. I can’t croak or move. Then fwappp! Got ‘em. That’s the secret to success.”
“Thank you, Frog,” said Junah. Then, turning to Mo, excited about his new discovery, Junah said, “Mo, this is a big deal.”
“Yes, for catching food, you’ve got to be stopped, non-moving, almost resting,” said Mo.
“Yet you have to be alert too,” said Junah, “and ready to take action!”
“That works for animals, Junah,” said Mo, “but I don’t think it’s the way plants work.”
“So what you’re saying is that this key to successful action may be good for things that move, but not so much for plants that have roots. Is that right?” asked Junah.
“Yes,” said Mo, “so that means this can’t be the secret of the garden, even though it may be the secret for animals.”
Junah’s purr: Successful action depends on restful alertness.
Stay tuned! Episode 22 will come your way in two weeks.