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Spring Peepers

March 29, 2017
BY CHUCK CLEGG - Columnist , Wetzel Chronicle

The middle of last week the television weather reporter proclaimed, "We have seen the last morning, we will wake up to, of temperatures in the teens." By the tone in the weather lady's voice, I'll take her word for that prediction, but I won't set any flowers out just yet.

Each spring, as we transition from the cold nights of winter to warmer temperatures of the new season, I wait with anticipation for the first warm rain. It is on that evening I step outside to listen to the sounds in the night. At first, I hear a screech owl looking for a mate up near the barn. Then from somewhere in the dark woods, there comes the first sounds of spring peepers. Their shrill sounds seem to be coming from everywhere. For me it is a sign, spring has truly returned.

Warm evening rains sometime create a bit of an obstacle course on our driveway. The rain runs down the concrete, to a place where small green frogs congregate in a pool of water. This gathering of frogs sometimes forms a very vocal choral group. I believe they come together to enjoy the water warmed by the concrete after a day's sunshine. The slight depression, in the concrete, forms a natural hot tub for cold blooded frogs. Needless to say, they are not willing to get out of the tub and into the cold night air as I drive up. I ask them nicely at first to move over and let me pass. They pay me no attention and continue to peep away. I then encouraged them with my hands to move, into the grass, until I can pass by.

One of the things that always amazed me about these small creatures. They don't really seem to be afraid of me, or anything else, at this time of year. They simply want the warmth of the water, and to find a few moments of love with another green frog.

Some years back, we had one of those above-ground pools in our yard. Each spring I would uncover it to prepare it for the summer season. Without failure, when I open it, I would find green spring frogs under the edge of the pool. The only way they could have found a way into the pool was around the edges, where the cover was not tight. The black winter cover absorbed the rays of the sun and created a layer of warm water. Somehow Mother Nature gave spring peepers the ability to find their way past the winter cover and into our pool.

For the next few weeks, it became a contest of me finding them each morning. If I discovered one of them hiding, I would place them in my lily pond. After a while, they got tricky about where they would hide. It got to a point where I would take a mirror and look up under the edge to see where they were hiding. To be honest, I didn't care if the frogs swam in our pool, as long as they obeyed the "no peeing in the pool" rule. The problem was, when I ran the filter, they would be pulled into the overflow skimmer and drown. They may only be small frogs, but I didn't like seeing them killed that way.

My only salvation was, that after mating season, they found their way back into the woods and trees around our home. But, a few times after a warm summer rain came late in the evening, I would find a peeper watching us from the railing around the pool. I guess he was just being neighborly. When we turned on the pool lights, sometimes we found ourselves joined by floating frogs in the pool with us. After mating season they weren't much on conversation, but they listened well.

Spring has returned, along with the sounds of the night. I enjoy the peacefulness of listening to the sounds of spring peepers. I would recommend, to each of you, to take a few minutes the next time there is an evening rain.

Stand in the stillness and listen to the sounds of spring peepers. They are welcoming back spring, as they look Through the Lens.

 
 
 

 

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