TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART

Posts tagged “Frogs

A Barn in Winter

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Bare branches
yearning towards
turquoise sky
with fast floating
sunlit white clouds
white above
white below
the snow
hides the land
of insects
and mice
and moles
and snakes
and in the vernal pool
next door
turtles sleep
in their hernaculum
while frogs lay
dormant in the mud
I sit in sleepy
surrender
glad to be
in our little hideaway
in the woods
of our young dreams
wondering
if we will all
awaken
to another Spring.

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Spring Seraphic Singing

It is late afternoon and spring by the calendar, although still quite cool.  I have just spent some time at our neighbor’s pond, listening to a form of music that some have likened to the sound to bells.  Others liken it to bird song. And still others with unimaginable disdain, to “some kind of nature noise.”  For me it is one of the happiest of sounds– the act of creation transformed into sound decibels for all to hear.  A sound that comes from the earth and resounds to the heavens, unwittingly praising the Almighty.   It is a form of ecstasy when the sound surrounds me totally, filling my ears every evening with perhaps the single-most highlight of spring for me– the siren song of the Spring Peepers counterbalanced by the deeper sound of wood frogs.

How have they cast their spell over so many?   I cannot say except that their song is uplifting and filled with hope despite the natural perils they face daily.  For, as true of all of us, they may die at any moment– say as a meal for a nearby perching crow or underneath murky waters eaten by a snapping turtle.  They call for a mate without ceasing, without fear, single-mindedly, without a thought for their own safety.  This is nature at her most elemental, in her most singular scope.  The peepers all sing out vying to be heard– an a cappella choir of voices.  In some spots, I am told, their song is deafening.  How nice to be there; I cannot get enough of their sweet music.  It moves me to tears– these tiny creatures singing out their heart’s desire.

As I return home to family “situations” and domestic duties, I yearn for the simplicity and total fervor of their song.  For if they sing then all is “right” in at least that small part of the world.  Progress has not paved over their pond.  Disdainful humans have not drained a “vernal pool.”  David M. Carroll writes about vernal pools in his books on turtles called The Swampwalker’s Journal.  As the title suggests, Carroll walks such places in search of turtles and other amphibians.  He defines a vernal pool as a pool of water that fills up in Fall and Winter, swells in the Spring and often dries up by end of Summer.  But a vernal pool is utmost a place of magic, not only where turtles lurk, but where mating frogs deposit gelatinous eggs which turn into tadpoles first, and there, later become frogs.  And after a requisite series of warm days, followed by spring rains, on the first dark night, vernal pools become the site of the “salamander night.”  Salamanders leave their hibernacula to go for a night of endless mating and then return to leaf litter in the woods to disappear for the rest of the year.  Some people who know nothing of vernal pools and their function deem them a nuisance, a big puddle to be filled in or drained.  Some people know little of spring peepers and wood frogs except that they are “noisy,” “like some sort of insect.”  Poor insects are made out to be the pesky lowest of the low. The natural symphony of hormonal, harmonic sounds sometimes falls on deaf ears.

After finishing my evening chores, I try reading, but find the haunting sound of the spring peepers and wood frogs digging deep within my psyche, making me restless, wishing to be part of that pond, surrounded on all sides by the sex song, inebriated with the unbridled joy in the air, submerged in the utter power of nature manifesting in one of her gentler forms.  For the song of the Spring Peepers nature celebrates life-to-be rather than the taking-away of life.  Most of all, the song of the Spring Peepers is a song of tremendous faith, faith in love, faith that love will propagate, and faith that new life will emerge.

Spring Trees at Sunset  (digital photo)


Starlight, Starbright

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Starlight through the skylight
Moonlight just above the roof
Fireflies flickering flames
Random to our eyes
In a dizzying mercurial display
Flitting to the tune
Of trilling frogs
And the flutter of batwings
I see goblins in the windows
Alone would be terrified
With you here beatified
By the beauty of the silence
Punctuated by the frogs
Spotlighted by the moon
And the sparkling stars
Whose dust makes up
These rented bodies we carry
While inside heartbeats
Tick away our lives
To the beat of a flashing firefly
Or a flickering star.


Symphonic Days, Tympanic Nights

Trees have fully blossomed

the clouds are fluffy white

a glory day

Trees were starkly bare

the beginning of the same week

the night pregnant with frog


“The Rites of Spring”

 Sap a flowin’

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 Ice a goin’

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Frogs a croakin’

P1130043_edited-1Turtles snorin’


Denizens of the Deep

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The marsh is melting

and

all the turtles in their hibernacula

deep down under the melting ice

will soon emerge

and the marsh will sing

the chorus of the Spring Peeper

and the salamanders will emerge

with the urge to murge

and joy and the life force

will fill the air

and lift the fog

enveloping my soul.

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Amphibian Night

 

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It is a summer night, late in August.  September and autumn are knocking at the door. The day was hot– the last gasp of a 3H summer day.  And then, at night, come the thunderstorms.  Downpours of rain hit hot asphalt and steam rises in the moonlit roads.  The air cools down by 10, maybe 15 degrees.

We are going out to pick up a pizza for dinner and we hit the road in the middle of what must be called “Frog Frenzy.”  Frogs are everywhere, every kind and every size.  Hopping here and there.  We drive in a hopscotch pattern to avoid running them over.  We are hoping no one is watching our car stop and start and swerve left and right.  The frogs look silvery in the headlights.  Perhaps it is the last mating call of the season.  Perhaps the frogs know something we don’t– perhaps this is the last warm day and thunderstorm of a dying summer.

There are long-legged frogs leaping across the road, teeny frogs skimming the asphalt, and giant frogs that cross the road in two to three jumps.  Mating can be the only incentive for this frenzy of activity.  Driven by desire, they are mating without concern for their welfare.  More likely they are not aware of the danger that lurks in the road.  Like all animals, we assume frogs live in the present moment, perhaps as we humans do in our twenties, driven by biology to seek a mate in a frantic orgy of activity.

My husband and I on our pizza run, which is no run but a crawl, are uplifted by this affirmation of life.  We, who in our 20s, did not think we could die, are afraid of taking what would seem like even moderate risks now.  We take delight in the frenetic frog activity as we get our pizza.

But it is a different landscape we drive through on the way home only a quarter of an hour later.  The frogs are gone– completely vanished having hopped to wherever they were seeking to go.  We only see some frogs who did not make it.  A large truck pulled out from the road just as we turned in.  Not the type to play hopscotch while driving.

We feel privileged to have witnessed this “Frog Frenzy,” this affirmation of life– this ten minute window of activity that shut down as abruptly as it opened.  But the next morning, walking the road, we see mangled frogs everywhere.  We can’t blame the one truck we saw for this massacre.

This is not an isolated incident.  In the Summer 2008 Defenders, the Conservation Magazine of Defenders of Wildlife, a study by Purdue University is cited in which the number of road kill in a suburb of Indiana were counted over a 17 month period.  The number was an astounding 10,500 dead animals and 95 percent of those were frogs and other amphibians.  Many of the other amphibians were eastern tiger salamanders making their way to breeding grounds to lay 500 to 1,200 eggs.  Obviously this could affect future populations.  Sy Montgomery, in her “The Wild Out Your Window: Exploring Nature Near at Hand,” tells us that during the “salamander rains,” as she calls them, so many salamanders are killed by cars, that in Amherst they built special tunnels so the salamanders would be safe from the road, and in Lenox and Framingham they close the roads during the migration.   Are a few towns in Massachusetts the only enlightened guardians of this amphibian ritual?  Why are there not more precautions taken on our roads all across the country’s wetlands?  Why aren’t the fading wetlands being preserved with the reverence they deserve as they serve earth?

We don’t know how long the “Frog Frenzy” lasted but, judging from the number of bodies in the road the next day, we caught only the tail end of it.  The unlucky ones, who did not make it, lie in waiting for crows and other carrion-eating birds to come feast in this other, inevitable aspect of nature, the dead frog banquet.  This time our hearts are heavy.  We mourn the frogs who jumped so wildly to their death in their state of excitation.   The “Night of the Frogs–  just another sampling of man’s abject inhumanity to those he deems inferior, and, with whom he shares this mystery called “earth.”

(Click http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html  for information on, and to purchase my Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir.)


Through the Green Lightly…

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through the pale veil of green

the tusset grasses grow

as the greening of the marsh

intensifies each longer day

while below frogs

and turtles

and fairy shrimp

dance their rite of spring

prey for the ducks,

crows, bald eagles,

  ephemeral lives

 we watch

nature raw

unawares

of the fragility

of us


Diamonds in the Marsh

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Scintillating snow melts

and fills a pre-Spring marsh

full of sparkling jewels

where bedazzled frogs

 soon will hide.