|Image copyright Edwin Barkdoll.|
Years ago, when I first heard spring peepers and ventured out at night to see them, it took forever to find them. If I was lucky, I’d spot one after much searching. True, in those years they weren’t as plentiful at our pond as they are now. The family that dug the pond behind our house 20 years ago did so primarily to stock it with fish so that they could go fishing; but the second summer we lived here we had a heat wave that killed all nine fish over the course of a week. I remember feeling so sad as day after day the fish I’d loved to swim with in the small pond floated dead to the surface.
But in the absence of fish, the amphibian population has grown dramatically. Half a dozen species have found a home here, and this year we had spotted salamanders lay eggs for the first time. It’s deafening now in the spring, and on warm nights, we head out with flashlights to catch a glimpse of the small spring peepers with their big sounds.
Last night I had just 10 minutes between returning from my Aikido class and a scheduled conference call. I headed out, and in those ten minutes saw 20 peepers. Now I also see the night crawlers, earthworms who venture out of seemingly invisible holes, moving like a writhing earth as I walk by. They too were invisible to me years ago, and now they’re everywhere. My eyes are ready to see all this now, attuned as I’ve become to the night life in our backyard. I love that. I love that once we learn to see, we can always see. It’s a metaphor for me for awakening in general. May we each awaken to the mysterious, awesome life around us.
Enjoy this video of a spring peeper peeping in our backyard:
For a humane world,
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