Posted by: highmountainmuse | April 1, 2009

Songs of spring

Peeking in at the secret frog pond on a walk last week.

Peeking in at the secret frog pond on a walk last week.

Another snow storm this morning… the posting may be late, as our satellite dish is covered with a few inches of white, keeping the outside world even farther away. How odd the snowflakes must feel on the feet, the back, the nose, to this new little filly.  Yet I am certain she too senses the softness, the calmness, the quietness that comes with the heavy spring snow.


Slowly winter leaves us this year.  The snow prolongs, the frigid temperatures and biting winds holding on fast to the bare trees and stark hillsides.  Weeks ago, a warm spell left us anxious to move on, to shed our winter coat.  The trip to Denver we took a month ago jump started a most unnatural spring fever inside me – it was sunny and 70 there.  Ha!  How many months until we feel that… but somehow we become ready, something within us stirs, tells us it is time to change. Perhaps the light, perhaps a scent that triggers the memory of warm soil. And so we become filled with excitement and anticipation, yearn for the new season, anxious for the metamorphosis on the mountain, search for the simplest signs of transformation, and find reward in the inevitable.


Last year, the mountain showed her first signs of spring even later; it was not until early May. Up here, one learns not to mark the seasons by the date on the calendar so much as the gradually unfolding transformations the mountain allows.  She will unfold at her own pace. Plans, schedules, forecasts… these things have no relevance to the omnipotent mountain. Perhaps the birds are more like us, who return that same time every year despite the obvious voice of the mountain.


The singing of the frogs speaks of early spring.  Yes, frogs.  Apparently, Boreal Chorus Frogs.  I heard them for the first time in the middle of April two years ago, while walking through the woods in a spring snowstorm.  This sound, at first a faint whisper, and then a blatant call.  Through the fogged vision of the storm, I followed this resonance, quite unbelieving of the somehow recognizable noise. It led me to a pond tucked off any foot or horse trail we have taken, down embraced by two hidden hillsides.  Frogs!  I was certain.  Yet as I approached the pond, the sound shut off abruptly, and I was left their searching the banks for something I was not sure was real.


I don’t think the boys believed me when I came home and said I heard frogs. In a way, I was not sure I believed myself. So the following day, Forrest joined me on a hike.back to the pond, and yes, they sang for him. A magical, secret moment shared between us and the mountain, a sound that we didn’t know would even exist here, played out in full choir before us.


Last year, the ponds our frogs somehow survive in did not emerge until the middle of May.  I had been waiting for them (remember, I had signed up to “watch the frogs” for my volunteer project last year). I visited the pond weekly, watching the snow slowly recede across the frozen, lifeless surface. So concerned that with the intense winter we had gone through, the sound I was searching for would not be heard. Yet I believed the mountain would take care of herself, at her own pace; that somewhere beneath that barren surface, life would soon emerge.


And yes, one day, walking up the hill in the snow, I could hear it from so far away. About a quarter mile their song travelled, unlike anything else on this mountain, and my pace quickened to confirm what I already knew.  Isn’t that funny how excited I was to hear the song, to know the frogs were there, a part of our mountain, a part of our life?


So, now, once again I await the inevitable song. I trust the mountain, know it will come, yet in my excitement I have began walking towards the pond, checking to see when the blanket of white will slowly fold back enough to allow for new life. I know the mountain will breath in song soon.  Perhaps in one week, maybe two, maybe three.  I will be there, waiting, listening. Enjoying the pastoral choir ringing the end of winter.



  1. Judie & I just read todays writings , We enjoyed it very much ,looking forward to spring up there.

  2. […] Chorus Frogs.  I introduced them to you back a couple weeks ago in another post.  That’s right: frogs.  Up here in the high country. Who would have guessed? And in hopes […]

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