anonyrrie: Illustration Friday - Wisdom

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Illustration Friday - Wisdom

The quest for Wisdom is perhaps as old as humankind. People have prayed, meditated, fasted, consulted holy men on mountaintops, read volumes of self-help books, called the psychic hotline, and even snacked on forbidden fruit... all in the hope of gaining Wisdom. But as Adam and Eve quickly learned... Wisdom and knowledge are not the same thing. It's easy enough to gain knowledge, but Wisdom is an elusive creature. And as with all things elusive, it's important to be ready to recognize Wisdom when it unexpectedly stares you in the eyes.

It was the summer when I was ten while I was in Canada with my grandmother visiting some relatives that I had my first encounter with Wisdom in the form of an ancient bullfrog named Herbert. It was late afternoon, and I was feeling very down in the dumps. I had no one to play with - the adults were thoroughly occupied drinking Bloody Marys and smoking Craven A's, and my much adored and idolized older cousin was off doing teenager stuff with her crowd of friends. Bored, restless and lonely, I decided to go down to the lake for a swim. Perhaps there would be some kids down there who would let me swim with them.

I dove off the dock and splashed around, looking to see if there were any kids out on the float that I could play with. No luck; I was by myself. I began to think that this was the worst vacation I'd ever had. I was too young to fit in with the grownups and my cousin's friends, but too old to be fussed over and entertained. Even my grandmother, my wonderful friend who always talked to me and told me stories, didn't seem to have the time to say anything except, Remember your manners.

Manners...who cares! I sulked out loud, I want to go home. I hate it here! I stuck my head under the water, dove to the bottom, and swam along the floor of the lake until I felt like my chest would explode for lack of air. I emerged, coughing, by the grassy shore next to a neighbor's dock. This really stinks... I continued my complaint as I rested my back against the bank. It didn't help; I felt even worse than before.

Her-bert. I heard a guttural voice inches from my ear. I turned around, but at first all I saw was a big bumpy, slimy lump that looked like wet grass and moss. Her-bert, the lump said. I rubbed the water out of my eyes, and as they focused, I found myself staring into the eyes of the biggest bullfrog I had ever seen. He was the size of a small cat, and looked very, very old. He blinked his eyes. A fly buzzed his head and his red tongue instantaneously snapped it up. Life is good, he croaked, and took a flying leap into the water, landing with a huge plop! that sent rings shimmering out from where he entered the water.

I swam back to my cousins' dock, wondering if I had really heard that bullfrog speak. It didn't matter though - for some reason I felt much better. And to this day, whenever I feel as if nothing's going the way I had planned, I think of old Herbert the bullfrog snapping up the fly and saying, Life is good. He might have been just a frog, but those were true words of Wisdom. Life is good. I have to agree!


Blogger onclejohann said...

Loved the charming story, Carla, and the illustration to boot. Both are wisdom in themselves. But next time you're down, please don't reach for a fly... have a life saver instead. :-)

2:09 PM  
Blogger isay said...

nice story carla and so cute drawing!

2:46 PM  
Blogger Rowantree said...

Thanks for your story and cute illo !!

5:56 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

Love your story and illustration.
Do you use illustrator?

7:04 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

I love your posts. I think I need to add you to my blogroll so others can enjoy them, too...

8:15 PM  
Blogger constanthing said...

Wonderful story, a reminder that wisdom may come in the most unlikely packages and circumstances.

9:03 PM  
Blogger kikazinha said...

Hi Carla, saw your comment to my illustration and came for a visit because we share the same name.

Loved your text.Thanks!

10:30 AM  
Blogger Toni said...

Thanks Carla for the information and visiting my site.
I've added another post showing the quotes and the size is 28 x 25.

Thanks again

10:35 AM  
Blogger Tony LaRocca said...

At least the frog wasn't saying "kiss me.... kiss me...." Cute pic & story.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Shano said...

Great story & Illo!

1:18 PM  
Anonymous paul said...

Hi Carla,

I saw your comment on my site (thank you so much btw) so I came over here to see what you're doing - pretty cool stuff. I really like your stories that go along with the illustrations.

Personally, I've never seen a frog snap a fly - that would be too cool to actually see it.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Sybille said...

What a cool story. :-)

When I looked at the picture I thought of the frog prince at first - a story full of wisdom as well - but your's is nicer.

I wondered what you used to create the illo?

6:59 AM  
Blogger Jaimie said...

what a great story. and the portrait of you as a young girl is very well done

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice one! Love an Illu Friday with a back story :)


10:32 AM  
Blogger Ms. Momma said...

Hi carla! Thanks for the positive feedback to my first "FI" posting. I really enjoyed your story and love your drawing for wisdom. I especially like the technique you used to create the girl's hair. I look forward to your next illustration!

2:32 PM  
Blogger Mustashrik said...

hey carla!

thanks for your sweet sweet comments!

and may i say what a charming and wonderful story, ace illustration too!

keep it up!


7:31 AM  
Blogger Seth Russell said...

Great story & illustration. I really appreciate your comments about my own art also. Keep up the great work

9:09 AM  
Blogger Fernando said...

Carla, thank you for your comment on my Einstein. Yes, I tried to picture him more or less like he looked like in 1905. I enjoy your "princess and the toad" and your story as well. Keep up the good work.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Carla Manaças Ferreira said...

Hi Carla. It's nice that we have the same name. Now I just need the same skills you have to do the beautiful artwork you do...LOL...

10:29 AM  
Blogger Aravis said...

What a wonderful story! You're a talented writer, as well as an illustrator. :0)

2:45 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Great illo!! what a wonderful memory, thanks for sharing.

I have heard many bullfrogs in my youth, but I didn't hear them say Her bert. You are right though. Their croaking does sound like her bert.

Thanks for the comment on my blog. :)

9:59 PM  
Anonymous angelique said...

Charming image, wonderful words! A winning combination. Thanks for sharing.

8:01 AM  
Blogger Liliana said...

Wonderful story and illo! That's areally great take on the subject. And thanks for your nice comment!

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Steph said...

Nice illustration and great story to go with it, thanks for sharing! Thanks for the nice comment too!

5:52 PM  
Blogger Ian T. said...

Carla, I love this picture! My initial reaction (before reading the story) was that the girl was exhibiting wisdom in seeing past the immediate ugliness of the frog. Of course, frogs are actually beautiful!

Recently, I went out and picked up a brown tree frog that was crossing the road in the rain out the front of our place. Two girls had stopped their car so as not to run over it, but neither of them wanted to pick it up. They're in decline lately...

Anyway, this is a lovely composition that I like everything about - the shapes, the integrated colours, the way you've done the grass, the black highlights - just a wonderful picture!

9:05 PM  
Blogger GoldenOwl said...

Thank you for your compliment. You are the first "blogger" to correspond w/ me... =) and I was happy for it. I have already received a few more posts, and am pretty jazzed now. I will take some time tomorrow to read a bit of your work... hope to hear from you again sometime. -Peace

2:17 AM  

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