April 13, 2013

North Cairn: Frog’s arrival has winter croaking

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But it was no bird that communicated spring to me most this week, even though the appearance of feathers is a welcome phenomenon worthy of praise. It was a frog that came knocking on the pane of the window of the back door, just as the patter of heavy rain relented and I herded the dog out for one last adventure of the day.

I had sent the golden out, her bear-like rump sashaying into the rain and disappearing into the dark. I took hold of the knob and swung the heavy metal door from behind me in an arc that positioned one square of glass right in front of my eyes.

At first, as I kept moving the door toward a full close, I thought a tiny tatter of leaf had blown up off the ground (I didn’t, I confess, get the raking done last fall and have lived to regret the missed maintenance resulting in trails of rotting leaves constantly indoors).

But something stopped me though thickness of the stuck litter wasn’t it, and I took a closer, slower, more careful look.

It was a newly emerged wood frog, appearing out of those same unraked leaves, making a visit to the sleek surface of a window glass, then staying still enough to be give the impression of a wind-lorn leaf.

I pried it from the glass gently, said hello and let it perch in the palm of my hand while I made mental notes on its markings and behavior. Just then the dog bulled her way back in, and it was too much movement in an unfamiliar place for the frog to tolerate.

It leapt against my chest, then flailed out the door onto the faded, soaked planks.

I peered and searched, craned and bent closer and found it finally. At that instant, it leapt again, this time hurtling through the dark, its white belly spinning upward, bright as a struck match or fallen star. And, like all small fires, spent itself into dark.

I find my way through the brown nights and inclement weather with all the little lights of spring edging into near landscape. The owls will return in dominion, the salamanders dart. Soon the peepers will tune in, and the layers of music made in nature’s heaven will be an inescapable chorus. Take note, I remind myself. And sing.

Staff Writer North Cairn can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

ncairn@mainetoday.com

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