IT was the eve of Maan’s birthday and Kublai’s gang gathered for food and wine. The after dinner talk was a very long one that spanned topics from how many architecture schools give more premium on design rather than functionality of a structure and thus produce spaces that give so much importance on the looks but not on the function to how Apple made buckets of money by simply selling songs instead of albums. And being such hot discussion, it was spent on the lawn of the house of Maan’s mom where the night breeze wafted ever so softly. Kublai, Ed, Kiko, Cecile, Sunil, and I, a passel of friends brought together by our affinity to wine and meaningful conversations, peppered the talks with reference to this and that wine in the way Pinoys talk about what other food to eat while still eating.

Over bottles of wine too we plotted how we will be pushing ourselves to endeavors untried this year.

Cecile is first on the chopping block, and she’s struggling with how her frog drawings are not satisfying her, how the feet have been stretched to look less froggy but is turning out to be perfectly froggy-looking, and Kublai chiding her to slow down on the intellectualization and to just enjoy the creative process. And then there is our excursion to the field of frogs… (which, we will keep as our secret for the moment).

Suffice it to say that the field of frogs excited us so much, frogs occupied a major part of our consciousness that night. And as if the great spirit of the frogs was eavesdropping on our conversation, we found a tree frog right behind us on a branch of a San Francisco plant. Out came our cameras. Sunil’s awe-inspiring, super-sharp, but outrageously expensive Fujifilm X100 with 23mm Fujinon lens, Cecile’s Panasonic Lumix, and my old reliable Canon G9. We snapped in between more wine and more conversations, which somehow enlivened the night the way normal folks would have thought dancing enlivens a party.

If you’re wondering what all these frog photos are leading to, then welcome  to a tale still to be told…. In the meantime, enjoy our birthday froggy in just about every pose we can capture him/her in. What I can promise you is that that field of frogs can blow your mind as it did ours. Abangan!

But while we wait, it will do well to ponder on frogs and how these ubiquitous creatures are suffering the most in the change in climate like some faithful bodyguard who’s taking the bullet for us; but whose deaths will only matter if we heed the reasons behind their disappearance and not regard them as but collateral damage in human’s pursuit for more wealth and territory.

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