Apr 20 2010

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Only Spring

Posted at 12:05 pm under Blog Post

Yesterday I went back to that little pond next to the Rail Trail, looking for spring peepers.  With temps in the forties, a mostly cloudy sky overhead and a slight breeze, the weather was more in keeping with early spring.  In other words, it felt more like a peeper kind of day than it did the last time I had walked the trail.  So I was in the mood to listen to those harbingers of the season.

The little pond is a wetland, really.  It only fills with water in the springtime or after a heavy rain.  It’s more than a vernal pool, though, which is also a good place to look for breeding frogs this time of year.  I reached the wetland after walking no more than twenty minutes.  Man on a mission, I passed up several patches of wildflowers along the way.  I longed to hear spring’s chorus above all else.

Upon reaching the wetland, I heard a solitary frog singing loudly and persistently.  I crouched down in the brush near water’s edge, hoping to hear more.  My dog Matika wandered off to sniff.  Although I had come out to stretch my legs, I remained still a long while, giving the wary frogs a chance to get used to me.  Sure enough, a second peeper started up, then a couple more joined in, then a few more until a full chorus rang out.  I just crouched there smiling.

The singing didn’t last.  It never does in the middle of the day.  But I heard enough peeping to fill with vernal joy – the kind of elemental happiness that one can only feel after a hard winter.  No, it wasn’t a particularly long, cold or snowy winter, but it was a hard one all the same.  It usually is for people like me, who need constant exposure to nature’s endless regeneration in order to keep faith with the world.

Afterward I didn’t so much hike as merely drift down the trail.  I watched the sun play peekaboo from the clouds, and listened to robins chirping from the tops of poplars already starting to leaf out.  I admired the vibrant Kelly green of nearby pastures, and smelled the fresh manure spread across them.  I didn’t mind it.  Here in Vermont, manure is as much a part of spring as the peepers.  And somehow it all fits together nicely, as if part of some grand design.  But it’s only spring, I kept telling myself.  Don’t make any more of the season than it is.  Only spring.

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