Posted by: floridanature | March 27, 2008

Amphibian Wisdom

The first batch of tadpoles are here. They arrived a couple weeks ago. The prelude were the calls at night from the pond. I think they were spring peeper frogs, but it’s been a full season since I’ve heard any amphibians out there, and my ear needs refreshing. They lay low in colder weather, even here in central Florida. Then came a warm spell, and soon, it was party-down for the little guys. The blooming of the purple flag (aka river iris) is always a good barometer, since it too bursts to life around the same time in the pond, just as it does in the wild.

And so, they came and the once-still night was alive with the sound of ribits. Pretty loud ribits. The Frog Watchers (NWF’s counterparts to birders) describe these calls as “advertisements” since the males try to outdo each other bragging about themselves. I guess it worked—at least for the studliest of the bunch.

One morning, I checked on the pond and saw the surface in between the hyacinths and lotus lillies shimmering, as if electrified. Sometimes, I feel that same thrill, that shimmer of blood surging, when I am in a place that arches out the spirit like a small tender comet soaring through the heart. Wild places in nature do that, especially if I am there with someone who cares.

The shimmering in this case was the surface tail-wagging of the tadpoles, hundreds, maybe more, all joyful to be alive under the new Florida morning sun. I felt good knowing I had created a little world where animals wanted to come to show off, and to do whatever they do when I’m not looking.


Other stuff goes on there, too: new wildflowers like tickseed bloom, and zebra longwings hatch, and Carolina wrens build tightly woven little nests at this time of the year. But the action in the pond is just plain cool—all those tiny fat-headed guys just waiting to metamorphose. Like one might otherwise wait for Godot.

I just read a piece today in our hometown newspaper, the Sanford Herald; it reprinted the very first article from the first edition of that country paper in 1908. That was a century ago. Under the masthead on the front page was the slogan: “In Sanford—Life is Worth Living.” And I thought, yea, it really is. Despite all that shifts and moves like the tide, and leaves us sometimes churning against the troughs between the corrugation of waves, life really is worth living. Just ask the frogs. And look deeply into the iris of the purple flag. The night sounds, the aesthetic, all of it is heartbreakingly lovely and singular, locked forever in the poetry of the now.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: