Fretty the Fractious Frog was brought into this world one year ago, on the very eve of the shortest yet seemingly longest month of the year.  It seems appropriate for this frog, who is caught in a perpetual pattern of his own making, to have been born in the crack between two such pivotal months; January and February.

This period of time has always seemed to me to be the crux of the year.  It frames a time of cylindrical endings and beginnings, a time of presentiment and retrospection, a time of dichotomous divergences, as the cycle swings from the profound to the amusing, from the civil rights to the socially ridiculous, starting out with a sneak peek into the future by of all things, a groundhog.

It is a time of déjà vu and renewing the act of leaving behind old while welcoming new, again all over, from the Gregorian to the Chinese New Year.  The very act of holding, each to its own old, obstructs a new potential new yet a cycle of time still swings again, each year, despite which calendar is used.

It is a time of renewing vows and acknowledging love, as well as celebrating the act of bringing power to the people.  It is a time of adjustments, from consolidating presidential birthdates on one Monday, to leaping every four years so as not to let holidays drift too far from season.  Adjustments made for convenience, adjustments made to accommodate, and adjustments made for commercialism, the cycle swings to gain.  With or without the leap, this period of time is the crux that sets the course for the next cycle’s swing.

What was I "Swinging?"

With one swing of the cycle, a new accounting ledger is created. With another swing of the cycle, time restarts again.  A new age has begun.  With one swing of the cycle, male/female roles are redefined. With another swing of the cycle, the balance of powers shifts.  In every facet, in every way, from church and state and back, from ice age and global warming and back, from economy and ecology and back, from black and white and back, from black and blue and back, from red and blue and back, all colors of idiosyncratic conformity, the cycle swings again.

Move along, move along, move along and next…

Fretty, our most fractiously fretful frog, seems to be caught in a cyclical loop, himself.  While his loop seems to be with his expectations of an ideal pond, we, too, often find ourselves in the same dilemma; the ideal job, the ideal partner, the ideal children, the ideal target to which we can externalize all our discontent.  We tend towards expansionism, toward the transitory, toward the replaceable and toward the short-term immediate fix.  We choose immediate gratification over long term commitment and dedication.

Move along, move along, move along and next…

But is there really any movement?  Did Fretty actually find the perfect pond, or did his trip take place within his own mind, an esoteric journey along his own paths of preference and aversion? I can see Fretty now, crawling on the edge of a perfectly round mandala, stretching out what he judges “good”, kicking away what he judges “bad”, distorting the symmetry with his own agendas.  Yet no matter how hard he tries, the cycle always comes around, and he is back in the same place, once again.

What was I "Swinging?"

Freddy’s story is an open story, ending with a question.


“A pond always should

Be as good

As it could

Shouldn’t it?”


It makes some uncomfortable, to not have all the answers given.  It makes some feel unfinished, to leave a thread dangling. But once all answers are found, and all is polished fine, where is there left to go?


The answer lies within. At the center, there is a still place of balance where one can go to embrace the whole.  But no one can push another into their own center.  This, they must find for themselves.




What was I "Swinging?"

Fretty: The Fractious Frog

By Cindy Graves

Genre: Children’s Book

Paperback: 38 Pages

Publisher:  Xlibris Us

ISBN-10: 1543482236

ISBN-13: 978-1543482232


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