Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring has apparently come—right on schedule, or actually a bit ahead of schedule. I always consider March to be a rather “iffy” month weather-wise. Usually around St Patrick’s Day there is a storm of some sort with snow, ice, wind and/or other objectionable features. This year that did not happen, spring officially comes into being on Wednesday and we are, I assume, safely into the “good” part of the year.

For the past week or better I have been listening to one of my favorite sounds of this season—the sound of spring peepers. To my delight I found these little frogs inhabit the area in which I live and that I can enjoy the distinctive sound they create by venturing only a short distance from my home. A walk in the dusk is made extra pleasant by the sound made by these peepers.

I remember a time when these creatures inspired in me a sense of awe. Some years ago I frequented the area around Conneaut Lake, PA. There is a large marsh near there that stretches, as I recall, some twenty miles. There are a few roads that access that area and if one drives into its more central environs on a moonless night in spring, the trappings of civilization fade. The nearest habitations are faint lights on the horizon; all else is darkness. And out of that darkness and the square miles of marshland emanate the sound of thousands or tens of thousands of peepers. It is not a gentle chirp or purr, but a sound that comes in waves, thundering to an unbelievable volume and then ebbing to a murmur and then swelling again, over and over and over. There, in the darkness, with the smells of water and damp earth and of the night itself, it seemed to me to be a sound for the creation of the world.

I have not been up to that area for some years. I miss it. I’d like to hear the sound of the peepers again on a dark night in the middle of that long stretch of swampland. I don’t know when or if I’ll ever have that opportunity. Until then, I’m fortunate in having a small sample of it right here close to my front yard. It is my personal confirmation that the arrival of the season of spring is finally and totally complete.

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