peeping back from winter
March 31, 2010
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Tuesday, March 31st, 7:30pm, Ashland, Wisconsin:
News flash! The snow has completely melted, and temperatures are warm and balmy. As I was walking home, I heard something coming from some ponds that I had not heard at all the previous evening.
Hundreds…maybe thousands of them…all calling at once. As the ice disappeared and the soils vibrated back to life, the water in ponds and snow-melt puddles awakens the Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)
Sometimes I like to take a late-night walk over to the ponds and snow melt puddles (these are referred to by ecologists as vernal pools or ephemeral ponds), and sit quietly in the chilly night air listening to these animals. I then realize that we forget to do just that. Spring time is a busy time…while the weather is getting nicer, we still have work, school, chores, and of course spring cleaning. In doing so, however, it can be easy to forget the awakening of the forests as we place our head on our pillows at night.
I’d like to propose something. If you are reading this blog, then I must ask you to do me a favor. No matter how busy you are, no matter what your current living situation is, do this: If you are living in the northern United States, and you have ready access to a pond or a nature reserve, then promise me that you will grab your coat, head out into the night, find a pond, and sit and listen to the sounds of early spring. I call this activity active awareness. Not only are you becoming more aware of the nature around you, but you start to become active in enjoying and understanding it. Spring peepers are an easy way to take time out of your life to reflect on the fact that winter is over and the first “peeps” of spring are at your doorstep…no matter what it is you’re doing.