Ah, spring! It is the perfect gift that arrives at the absolute best time every year – just exactly the moment I cannot bear one more day of winter. I found it difficult to put into words why springtime is so very special to me, yet it is exactly so. With spring’s arrival, everything changes – sports and play time both move outdoors, dining al fresco begins, there are more hours of daylight, the trees seem to instantaneously have leaves, flowers blossom, the temperatures are enjoyably moderate, birds return, there are baby animals in the woods and on the farms and, best, frog song – all of which make me feel exuberant and joyful.
“A time to be born.”
Ecclesiastes 3 (i-ii) KJV
Tristan und Isolde introduced their eight adorable cygnets this week. Huzzah! This is especially wonderful for the Wagners because last spring they hatched only four and, tragically, predators ate two of them. This brood seems to be flourishing beautifully and the advantage of the super-high water levels we’re experiencing is that it will be harder for the predators to poach these kiddos from their parents. A lovely sight, non? To every thing there is a season and this truly is the season for beautiful babies.
“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come;
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land…”
Song of Solomon 2 (xi-xii) KJV
Presqu’ile is an absolute delight in May. Spring flowers are everywhere…
All my favourite birds are back and the warblers are a veritable choir, serenading visitors at every turn…
Despite the sweet voices of the birds and the beautiful plumage and adorable babies on display, my favourite sign of spring is the chorus frog. After our long, cold, dark winters have done their best to douse my spirit, I feel enormous joy upon hearing that very first frog song of springtime.
When I visit the park during the winter months, I often pause to consider the most improbable survival of frogs: Their tiny bodies hibernating under fallen vegetation – leaves, branches, bark and pine needles – or under rotting logs, asleep beneath the snow and ice, patiently waiting for the spring thaw so that they may be reborn. A simultaneously complex and simple life cycle.
On the way into the park, visitors drive through the Pannes which, during the spring, are large ponds. This year, with the crazy-high water levels, they are like small lakes. These semi-permanent wetlands are perfect dwelling locations for frogs. Every year in early spring, the resident chorus frogs begin to “sing” – particularly on the warm, sunny days. It is without a doubt my favourite rite of spring. Scientists characterize frog song as their mating call. I like to think that the Japanese Buddhist priest Nichiren (born 1222) is also right:
“Frogs feed on the sound of their mother’s voice, and if they cannot hear their mother’s voice, they will not grow.”
It is entirely plausible and reasonable to me that young frogs feed on their mother’s voice.
Even though frog song lasts only a few weeks each year, I know that my friends are alive and flourishing throughout the park all summer long, perhaps preparing for their upcoming hibernation. “To every thing there is a season…”
This is definitely the season to visit Presqu’ile Provincial Park!
‘Til next time, y’all…